The Unbearable Being of Lightness

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Until such time as I can move to a cold, dark, inhospitable locale, I must content myself with the environs in Wilhelmsplatz, which are effing intolerable in the summer but not so awful this time of year. The leaves are busy being pretty and the sun graciously retires itself just about the time I get off work, leaving me with a whole evening of darkness.

Why do I have a keen preference for cold weather and dark skies? Is it a reaction against my early years in Mississippi? Is it a sympathetic reaction to my grumpy personality? Is it just the way I’m built?

Don’t know, but coming home to an evening full of darkness floats my boat. It would be enough to put me in a cheerful mood, if we could ignore my relentless depression and stress, which we can’t, but the point here is that I’m glad to have all that yucky sunlight banished to the daytime hours.

Relentless depression and stress. Hrm. We’ve already covered the depression bit rather thoroughly. It’s still here, if you’re wondering, seems to have settled in and made itself at home. These pesky diseases, you let them get too familiar and they march on in like they own the place.

The stress, now… I don’t want to jinx things, but the stress should be lightening to a manageable level come December first. That is when my book revisions are due. (And that is my feeble excuse for ignoring this blog between now and then. Sorry. It’s just a few weeks that you’ll have to go without your Lesbrarian fix. Hope you can forgive me.)

Living alone, I have decided, kind of blows. I am an intensely private person, so there’s a good chance that my conclusion is fundamentally flawed, but I can’t shake the feeling that having another adult around the place would be an improvement. Consider:

1. A second income would relieve me of the need to work multiple jobs
2. A second person would have a spare car key. A spare car key would have been mighty handy the other day, when I locked my keys in the car at Food Loin. (I had ninety minutes on the trunk of my car to reach this conclusion, and I stand by it.)
3. A second person would, theoretically, provide snuggle services, in a rather more satisfying way than three cats do, though I must admit that they’ve been giving it their best shot recently. Cold weather strikes again!
4. A second person would be a perfect scapegoat for blame.

If the dishwasher remains unloaded, or if carpet needs vacuuming, or if the trash needs to be taken out, I cannot possibly, in any way, in any fashion whatsoever, blame anyone else.

This is totally unfair.

And—pay attention now, I’m about to cleverly relate things back to my previous discussion of stress—I cannot blame anyone else for my decision to write a book.

The stress, tension, toil, exertion, lost time, and general bitterness surrounding my godforsaken manuscript can be blamed, and it just kills me to admit this, can be blamed on no one but myself.

The manuscript has me miserable. It has had me miserable almost since the get-go, it will continue to make me miserable through Thanksgiving (“Sorry, Mom and Dad, can’t visit, have to write—yes, I know I said that last year, too”), and do I have a roommate/lover/spouse to blame? No, no I don’t.

“Come now, Jessica,” I hear you thinking. “Surely you wouldn’t be so petty, not to mention absurd, as to blame another person for your decision to write a book?”

Oh yes. Yes I would. Dishes, laundry, library science texts—I wouldn’t discriminate.

Wretched, horrid book. Every time I stop to think about how much I hate it, which is approximately every three seconds, I’m forced to accept that it was my own damn fault.

I would be absolutely, irrevocably, incontrovertibly mad with despair, were it not for one saving grace. (Well, two saving graces, but we’ve already thoroughly discussed my pleasure with the seasonal weather changes, so let’s move on.) That saving grace is graphic novels.

As I’ve mentioned before, the graphic novels collection at the library is undergoing a transformation, thanks in no small part to my obdurate stubbornness.

An aside: I miss being an administrator, though I’ll be the first to confess that my memory is perhaps fuzzy on this count; maybe I only think I miss being an administrator. Being a mere link in the chain relieves me of a hell of a lot of responsibility, which can be nice, but on the other hand, it relieves me of a hell of a lot of responsibility, which sucks. I like being in control. I like having authority to make decisions. I mean, good grief, I’ve only been at the bookstore job a few weeks and already I’m itching to make substantive changes. It is my natural inclination to try to improve things

Back to the narrative at hand: I am not a bigwig at the library, nor a mediumwig. I can bellow commandments from the mountaintop till the cows come home, and nobody has to do a thing. But my bellowing about the graphic novels has paid off. They are in the process of being rescued from the oblivion of adult nonfiction. By no means is the project finished, but already there is a noticeable collection of graphic novels situated in a high-traffic area of the library.

The change of location alone is a huge improvement, but what really sweetens the deal is the new classification system. The Dewey Decimal System suffices for most types of books (though I’ll always be a Library of Congress type of girl), but its reliance on author doesn’t do so hot with graphic novels. A gajillion different authors—to say nothing of illustrators, inkers, pencillers, etc. et. al—have contributed to Batman, and to Spiderman, and to all those other superheroes. Arranging them by author scatters them throughout the collection. With our new cataloging approach, they are grouped together.

I don’t have numbers yet, but anecdotally, I can tell you that the graphic novels are generating a lot of interest. Folks who would never have found them in the 741.5 section are now chancing across them.

What really warms my heart is that graphic novels can offer so much to so many different people. They come in all kinds of different fiction and nonfiction genres—something for every reader, y’know—but here’s the kicker: there’s something even for the non-reader. Graphic novels are accessible for teenagers (especially teenage boys), reluctant readers, and people who don’t speak English as a first language. Thanks to their illustrations, graphic novels can draw in people who have no truck with text-only books.

Or hell, maybe I’m just happy to have all the bound edition of 100 Bullets on the shelves. That series rocks.

Now it’s disturbing to me that the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning, the graphic novels, is work-related. I don’t want to turn into a bitter old woman whose only pleasure in life derives from her job. Don’t get me wrong—given the choice between loving my job and hating it, I think I’ll take the first option—but I am leery of turning into a lonely soulless career woman.

It’ll have to do for now, though, and for the next few weeks, to distract me from my manuscript, which as I may have mentioned is the bane of my existence. Speaking of which, I ought to get to work on it. Or else I should take the coward’s way out and go to sleep (“Whoopsie, couldn’t work on the book, was sleeping!”). Nine p.m. is awfully early for bed, but that’s another advantage to it being dark. If I can find a cat or three I might just tuck in.

Bye for now, till December.


2 responses »

  1. Eeemosenary Archivist

    Presuming thatsuch cosmic coordinates play a role,dare one inquire;yr postings#1:ARE;#2:are NOT in some fashion full-moon connected? Many hours of darkness for editing away await ya till 12-XII.Herzlichen mitleid. stay warm, thanks for nod to value of graphic novel genre.yr reputation preceeds you in Sotovento book shops.tgb.

  2. I hadn’t noticed a connection to lunar cycles, but then again I’m not very observant. I tend to post when I have an hour to kill before bed.Hey, next time I see you, I’ll find a graphic novel for you to read. I know you’ve read some out of parental duty, but I’ll find a book or two you might like to read just for the hell of it.


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