Posted in Thoughts

Since It’s National Poetry Month…

Free verse poetry is not my thing, I say as I’m about to share some with you.

Usually I like my poetry to rhyme and have solid rhythm. But I often find something about Tyler Knott Gregson’s small, fluffy pieces appealing. Here are a few favorites from his book Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Life

On Being a Librarian

I know the distance it takes
to sail around the world
I’ve done it many times
behind my knotted desk
in quiet service to
the stories I collect
until it’s time to close
and go home for the night

One year ago today, I started my job at the library.

I still love checking books out to people. And checking books in. And shelving books. And organizing books. And just, you know, books.

I haven’t thought up any particularly interesting way to celebrate this occasion, but I wanted to acknowledge it, and conveniently I have a blog where I can do such things.

Today also happens to be National Library Workers’ Day (part of National Library Week) this year, so that’s a fun coincidence.

Another coincidence: Employees’ annual evaluations are happening at my library this week. Mine was yesterday. I sat down with the branch manager (who I really like) for about three minutes while she went over the evaluation sheet she had filled out. It was actually very pleasant and encouraging, because she had nice things to say. It’s quite rewarding to be told you’re succeeding at a job you like and think is important. I appreciate that God has provided me with this job and the skills to do it well.

I’ve been trying to work on telling people who ask what I do, “I’m a librarian,” instead of, “I work at a library.” Technically, librarian is not my job title. That title seems to officially be reserved for people in specific higher level positions, which is probably why today is National Library Workers’ Day instead of National Librarians’ Day. But since the general public considers anyone who works in a library a librarian, I think I can reasonably claim the word anyway. Sorry if any official librarians are offended.

Several years ago, I discovered a song called “The Librarian” by Laura Jane Scott, and I quickly claimed it. I find it very relatable. And it’s also pretty. This seems like an appropriate time to share it. Enjoy.

Posted in Thoughts, Writings

You Don’t Have to Know Your Character’s Favorite Joke

When we were kids, my brother and I were notorious for our inability to choose favorite things. We would spend the day at the zoo, Mom and Dad would want to know what our favorite part was, and…

“I don’t know.”

It drove our parents crazy.

I can’t speak for my brother, but I know that at least on my part, it wasn’t stubbornness or anything like that. I genuinely did not know. I enjoyed lots of things about the day, and I couldn’t pick a favorite.

I do have favorites in some categories. Among others, I have a favorite color (purple), a favorite book (The Lord of the Rings), and a favorite math problem (7 x 3 = 21).

But I didn’t sit down one day with a list and assign myself these favorites. They developed gradually.

If you are a writer, you have probably seen lots of lists with titles like, “32 Things You Should Know About Your Character Before Writing”. It can be easy to start to think that if you don’t know your character’s favorite color, joke, pizza toppings, and pair of shoes, along with a whole bunch of things like their deepest fear and biggest regret, they’re not real enough and you can’t write about them.

But maybe you can.

Recently, I came across this on Pinterest:

I am definitely Writer B. It was quite freeing to see that there is apparently at least one other person out there who considers this a valid way to write.

Sometimes I found out about a character’s favorite things. I have a reformed villain who considers herself Extremely Sophisticated in Every Way who secretly loves eating Nutella straight out of the container with a spoon. Another character shares my love of the band Yellowcard, though we have different favorite albums (sometimes I make him come on road trips with me so we can jam, though he tends to refuse to wear his seat belt, and I don’t approve).

But usually these things develop gradually. Either in story context, or when I’m thinking about the character while doing other things, or the like. If I try to make up answers for a list, it feels like I’m trying to force things onto the character that never quite fit properly.

And really, you don’t actually need all these things. I haven’t yet found myself in a situation where I needed to know a character’s favorite joke (just watch, now that I said that, it will become absolutely vital for a story someday soon). Maybe your character loves jokes and goes around telling everyone their favorite. Maybe they’ll need to tell their favorite joke to save their life. Otherwise… You can probably get by without it.

I am a real person with depth, and I often couldn’t answer all the questions on these lists about myself. I figure that if that is the case, a character can feel real and have depth even if I can’t answer all the questions about them either.

If you’re the sort of person who loves these lists and finds them to be exactly what you need for developing characters, that’s excellent. Keep it up, chief, keep it up.

If not, if fully-formed characters just exist in your head but you couldn’t tell me their favorite joke to save your life or theirs, maybe you’re also a Writer B. Embrace it. It’s fun.

Posted in Life

Long Live

Today is my friend Maria’s birthday. We’ve been friends for 16 years now. She is an absolutely dear person and a joy. I never get to see her often enough.

Many moons ago, I made a video with pictures of us set to clips of different songs. One of those songs was Taylor Swift’s “Long Live”. Ever since, it has occasionally come up that I needed to do a video for the whole thing, because at some point that became our song. I don’t even remember exactly how. Maybe Maria does and she can remind me.

Anyway. I finally got around to it.

Waiting just meant I had more fun pictures to choose from, right?

Maria, Happy Birthday. I wish I were around to hug you today. I love you. <4

(For the unenlightened, the <4 is purposeful. It’s like a heart <3 but more so.)

Posted in Life, Thoughts

Living on the Edge for Homebodies

We don’t all want to climb Mount Everest. Some of us need adventuresome friends around to occasionally drag us out of our comfy chairs where we’re snuggled in a blanket, drinking tea, happily reading about other people climbing Mount Everest.

But sometimes our adventuresome friends are busy when our lives need a little shaking up. What then? Where can we get that, “This is so different and dangerous,” feeling?

  • Eat spaghetti while wearing a white shirt.
  • Go to McDonald’s at 10 at night just to get out of the house. Or at least contemplate the possibility.
  • Sit in a different chair and gain a new perspective on your living room.
  • Try a new show on Netflix. Maybe even in some genre you don’t usually go for.
  • Knit while riding in the car. Especially with those dangerous double-pointed needles.
  • Rearrange your closet or kitchen or the like so you won’t be able to find anything for ages.
  • Paint your nails a very bright color. If you’re going to go out and don’t want people to see it, stick with your toenails and then wear socks and shoes.
  • If you want to be a little more daring, dye your hair. You can do it at home.
  • Find a recipe for something you’ve never made and get cooking.
  • Build a fort with blankets and pillows and maybe your dining room table. Spend the day in it.
  • Listen to some different music than your usual.
  • Mix up outfits. You know the shirt and pants you always wear together because the first time you wore the shirt you wore those pants with it? Find a different pair of pants.
  • Similarly, go to a restaurant where you always get the same thing and order something you’ve never tried.
  • Take down your knick-knacks and replace them with some that you’ve been storing because you don’t have room to display them all.
  • Download a new game on your phone.
  • Go for a drive and get lost, but take a GPS so you can find your way home again when you’ve had your fill of adventure. Make sure you have enough gas.
  • Order takeout from the other Chinese restaurant. Because there’s always some other Chinese restaurant.
Posted in Life

Titles Are Hard

Blogging is hard, too.

It was a long-ish day at work. I felt like I couldn’t manage to be in the right place doing the right thing at the right time, no matter what I tried. It was the sort of day that called for chocolate, but the only chocolate around wasn’t anything I particularly liked. But I have some around at home, so I’ll remedy that tonight.

But first I have some other things to do. I need to do yoga and my Bible reading for the day. So I’m trying to get this post done so I can do those things and then have chocolate and watch my show.

I’ve been watching a kid’s TV show on Netflix: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. It’s about a couple teenage superheros and their adventures. One day recently I did all my taxes, and after that my brain was tired and I wanted something mindless to watch, so that’s where I ended up. I’m Invested now. Unfortunately there’s only one season on Netflix at the moment, and I’m two episodes away from the end.

Yesterday I went to pick up a hold at a library (not the one where I work), and the librarian brought over the wrong thing from the hold shelf because there was an item for someone else with the same last name. That never happens to me. No one has my last name. I was amused.

Yeah. This post is done. I’m out of ideas. Did I mention that blogging is hard?

TTFN.