The very best thing about going to conference is coming home to a houseful of adoring cats. The kids haven’t left my side since I’ve returned from DC. Gremlin was so happy to have me back that she’s sneaked into the bedroom two nights in a row to sleep with me. Gremmy Lou used to sleep with me every night, but since Bubby joined us, she’s been too scared to go into the bedroom. This is a timid creature we’re talking about here. She puts the pussy in pussy cat. But she’s been so happy to have me back that she’s crept around the minotaur guarding the door to hop into bed with me.
ALA was great. I met up with some old friends, like Marian Librarian; I met in person some friends I’d only known online, like Nonanon and Guybrarian; I met ricklibrarian, who gave me a nice shout-out on his blog, despite my being a total stranger; and I met a lot of famous types (not counting those just mentioned).
I would like to tell you who the famous types were, but there’s a problem: There’s nothing more pathetic than library name-dropping. Celebrity name-dropping is okay (“I lunched with John Malkovich, then dropped in for tea with Susan Sarandon”), and even political name-dropping has its points (“Barack and I went out for martinis, then I went bowling with Nancy Pelosi”), but it’s lame to mention that I met Nancy Pearl.
Though, actually, I did. It was embarrassing. Guybrarian introduced us:
“Nancy, I want you to meet Jessica Zellers,” said Guybrarian.
“Hi,” I said, acting casual, despite having three Nancy Pearl action figures. People keep giving them to me for Christmas.
“Hi,” said Nancy, looking bewildered. It was painfully obvious that she had no idea who she was meeting.
I managed to embarrass myself a bit on a different evening with a different library honcho. Upon learning her name, I said “Ah! That sounds familiar! Where have I heard it?”
She then (with no conceit, mind you) proceeded to list about a dozen possibilities. She’s an editor, an author, a lecturer, a conference presenter—you name it, she’s done it in library-land. If I had slogged through library school and two years of professional experience with my eyes squeezed shut and my fingers in my ears, I would still have known this lady. So, though “That sounds familiar!” was an acceptable response upon learning her name, a more appropriate comment would have been “Holy shit, I couldn’t have written my master’s paper without your research.”
There’s one other library celeb I’m gonna mention. That’d be my boss, Melville. He seems like such an ordinary guy at work, doing the same sorts of things that other library supervisors do. He makes our weekly schedules and he deals with unruly patrons so the rest of us don’t have to. He does, you know, admin stuff. He seems like a normal, likeable person.
It’s just a clever disguise. He’s still a likeable person, don’t get me wrong, but he’s modest enough that his celebrity status is largely kept under wraps at work. Following him around at conference was awesome because I got to bask in the reflected glory. Big famous library people were falling all over themselves to say hi to Melville. Somewhere in the process I got to meet them, too.
Meeting big famous library people is a keen goal of mine. It’s not because I want to meet them, per se, though in nearly every case I do. It’s fun talking shop with experts. But right now, I want to meet big famous library people so that they will pay me to write.
This here blog is a year old now. I update it at least once a week, sometimes more. I’d like to think that it’s a fun read, that maybe I bring a few chuckles to folks with it. I don’t have many readers, but I strive to entertain them.
I also write a few things privately, for fun. I’ve written a few professional articles. I blogged the hell out of ALA (and with very positive feedback, I might note). I’m writing one, probably soon to be two, library books. I write for NoveList.
Problem is, there’s no monetary payoff, except for NoveList (and boy howdy, did that eviscerate my tax returns this year. Caeser got hisself rendered unto in a big way). Royalties from the books will pay me at some point in the distant future, but they’re not likely to be bestsellers. Nothing else I write pays a dime.
So my plan is to sit here passively and hope that someone will stumble across my writing and decide to hire me. A library bigwig will do, or a publisher, or anyone really, so long as the person has a lot of money.
The plan is brilliant in its simplicity, yes? It’s practically guaranteed to succeed.
So… mmkay, I’m doing my part! I’m sitting here passively! Come on, writing gigs, start rolling in!