Organized Rambling: Local Literary Life

Organized Rambling

In this installment of Organized Rambling, I’ll be sharing about the local literary life I’m leading, but first, let’s talk about something that can help us read: glasses.

As a child, I thought glasses were so cool. I wanted them–badly. I’d wear frames with non-prescription lenses, not those odd lens-less glasses that were so fashionable in our recent past. Blessed by a genetic fluke–my parents have corrective lenses–my eyes were good to go. Until 9th grade, anyway.

Freshmen English rolled around in Fall 2004, and we had to copy our vocabulary from the board. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the words from my mid-way back desk. What a surprise it was to me that I needed corrective lenses to read from a distance–manifest much, Alex? Jeesh. Fortunately, I was, and still am, nearsighted, so assistance is not yet required for book or up-close reading.

Cruise through those high school years (relatively inconsequential but for a few experiences) and land with me at community college. I still wore classes back in 2008 and thought nothing of it–contacts creeped me out.

At 19, I took a course on interpersonal communications (far more valuable than the often required speech–it’s like the world/academia wants us to be able to talk at people rather than with them, but that’s a topic for another time).

I was, and still am, this introverted sloth girl.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and learned a lot, but being an introvert–especially back then–I was pretty quiet. In one class, I was sitting, listening, and taking notes on a topic I now don’t recall. Somehow, the discussion ambled its way around so that my professor was able to comment on my appearance and overall class demeanor. She noted aloud that even though I’m quiet in class and look like a librarian (glasses and hair pulled up), I probably took off the glasses and “let my hair down” at night.

In retrospect, I think my professor “She’s All That’d” me–implying that glasses are nerdy and distract from a woman’s looks; however, other perspectives find glasses attractive and, dare I say, sexy. So, which is it, world? Can you make up your mind?

Digression aside, I’m not sure where to begin. At the moment, I felt like my professor was describing me as a librarian who moonlit as an exotic dancer–her comment was rife with sexualized overtones. And you know what? I still feel that way. Guys in the class also got the same impression, as noted by their loosely muffled laughter.

But, in 2022, she is 50% right: I am a freelance writer who moonlights as an Assistant Librarian and several other things (Web Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Office Assistant, Public Relations Marketeer, etc.). I work part-time in the Children’s Library at the Petoskey District Library, surrounded by countless picture books, chapter books, books about animals, board books, and so many others! My collection of kids’ books, which I’m pretty smitten with, pales in comparison, as it should. If it didn’t, you and I should both be concerned for my well-being and mental health.  

I’ll also have you know that this isn’t the first time I’ve worked in a library–but back in 2009, I didn’t tell my professor that tidbit. As a junior in high school, I volunteered at my local library, shelving books and magazines and keeping things tidy to earn hours for my National Honor Society application.

I’ve always loved libraries since I went to Lansing’s Capital Area District Library as a young child. Then, when my family moved north, we began patronizing the Indian River Area Library. This is where I first found and fell in love with Patricia C. Wrede’s The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, one of my book loves, if you recall.

We would also rent VHS movies from the library for $1 each, and I would save my quarters for The Polar Bear King, which will be discussed in a future post. And I believe it was our second summer in the great north that our old T.V. died, so we spent the season reading in the sunshine and around the campfire glow–my dad read so many Goosebump books in those months, and my mom still says that was her favorite summer ever. So a small-town library saved the proverbial day (summer) for the Daileys and still serves a great purpose in the community.

Continuing my recent journey into the local literary scene, this year, I became involved with the C.S. Lewis Festival (CSLF) and volunteered at and attended the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book (HSFotB). Both well-established organizations promote written works, authors, speakers, and books.

Last year, I had my first experience with both the CSLF and HSFotB, and it feels incredible to be as involved as I am this year. Opportunities with each organization came from a couple of unsolicited “cold emails,” as I refer to them in conversation. I highly recommend putting yourself out there if there’s a business, organization, group, or other entity you’d like to be involved with. It’s okay if they say no or even deny sending a response. Such “failure” can be your friend instead of an enemy. It’s okay to fail or for things to not work out; it just means you get to try something else or reach for a new opportunity. 

Some other literary experiences or connections I’m excited about or proud of are as follows:

  • Met the founder/previous owner of McLean & Eakin Booksellers at Sam’s Graces not long ago;
  • I’m joining a book club next month, which I’ve never done before;
  • I have connections to the Little Traverse Literary Guild, and I hope to become involved with the group in the future;
  • For six years, I ran Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Young Writers Exposition, promoting young writers in Emmet & Charlevoix counties;
  • At the Petoskey District Library, I’ll be helping run the Growing Readers Program, which provides tutoring opportunities for elementary students;
  • I put an ad in the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book program, volunteered, and attended sessions this past weekend;
  • And I’m currently reading and providing a friend with feedback on her novel.

I’m neck-deep in writing, editing, reading, and literary pursuits in NoMI, and I love it!

Even though she was partially correct, I would love to tell my professor two things:

1) I prefer my hair down for the daytime hours and pulled up in a bun at night.
2) I usually wear contacts during the day and don glasses at the day’s end.

I’m the opposite of the assumptive picture she painted all those years ago and I kind of revel in that. But she was right–I was made for the library.

And to take a creative leaf out of Lizzo’s book, I revamped a part of her song “Boys,” which I’ll leave you with:

Libraries are for pretty girls and really nerdy girls

Anti-wheat girls, and down-the-street girls,

Libraries are for avid reader girls and their Kindle

Using the Libby app as hours dwindle

Libraries are for glasses girls and perfect-vision girls

The establishment is inclusive, come and get a card

From the wild-hair girls to the girls en garde 

Get your read on, and lead on

Oh, and P.S. Not everyone I work with at the library wears glasses, and none of them wear their hair up in marmy buns. And I haven’t witnessed any librarian shushing either.

Coming up next:

Monday, October 17
The Annual Art Prize Adventure


2 responses to “Organized Rambling: Local Literary Life”

  1. Girl, you are absolutely killing it! And I agree — in today’s society, talking AT someone/in their general direction seems to count as conversation now, and I’m not a fan. Let’s not even get into texting conversations that are just 1-2 word texts back and forth…wait, I do that sometimes…

    • Thank you, lady! And yeah, I don’t understand the mentality of talking AT someone. I prefer talking with or to someone, which I understand falls under the heading of semantics; however, I also talk with others because I want to hear their thoughts—that’s typically my number one goal, not my being heard.

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