Community

If you’ve been to my website recently, you might have noticed the shiny new Goodreads logo on the right (—->). This means two things:

  1. I finally joined Goodreads. Friend me?
  2. My book did, too! You can mark TNWSY as “to read” if you’d like. Or, “to not read.” Or, “that book some chick wrote.” You know, whatever suits you.

In other news, I run two monthly programs at the library, and am at the cusp of adding two more. (I also run other programs, but they’re usually one-time events, such as the My Little Pony program coming up. Let’s not be surprised that i’m dressing up as the librarian pony, Twilight Sparkle.)

My first monthly program is the book club. Mostly full of ladies my mom’s age and older, we meet once a month to loosely discuss a book. I say loosely because usually about 30 minutes are spent on the book, while 30 on personal lives, gossip, normal chatter, etc. The ladies are lovely, and while we sometimes have disagreements (was I the only one who enjoyed A Discovery of Witches?), we always meet back up happily. And the older ladies are hilarious. (We just had our one-year anniversary!)

My next monthly program is my prized possession, my nerdfighter meetup. Once a month, teens and older meet to simply hang out. We make crafts, we play board games, we chat. They usually stay from the beginning of the program until the library closes (four hours!) and in the process talk about everything, from books they like to serious moral debates (seriously!). I love this program so much because it’s given an outlet to those looking to find fellow neat people, and simply hang out. Those wanting a safe, fun, judgement free zone. My ultimate goal as a librarian was creating something like this, and i’m so glad it’s come to be. These nerdfighters are my favorites. (Sept marks the one-year anniversary of the first meet up!)

I recently received a grant to bring technology to the library for teens, so I invested in filmmaking equipment. We’ve had a few programs since, and eventually, come fall, i’ll make it a monthly lesson/activity. I’m excited about this.

Last, two nights ago, a co-worker and I hosted a Tea and Talk program, in which ladies in their 20s and up came to drink tea, eat scones, participate in Downton Abbey themed games, and create British-style fascinators. Though we weren’t sure if it would be a success, it was an absolute blast with more than 20 people showing up. All of the women asked for a follow-up, a monthly event for them to have a ladies night out.

Upon creating the next Ladies Night Out event, I realized something very cool – people just want to hang out. Young and old, they just want excuses to meet new people, try new things, and be involved. And I’m so thrilled that the library can be a place for that.

There’s the continuous debate about the importance (or, to some, the lack of importance) of libraries. They’re just holding grounds for books! We have the Internet, who needs them? The thing is, they’re so much more than that. Yes, they have books and movies and such, but they also have community. They’re an open place to simply hang out and meet new people. They put you in the middle of a group, or an organization. They’re a fun zone. They’re a safe haven.

One of the teens messaged me a while ago, and told me that since joining our meetups, she’s made real friends. And that, thanks to these meetups, she’s not as embarrassed by herself, and feels part of something.

I’m so amazed that something I created can cause that much of a reaction. And i’m so happy that libraries are around to make this girl feel that accepted.

Author Photos!

A few weeks back my friend Valeria took my author photos. Taking author photos is a weird experience, especially when you opt to do them outside (like I did), because people stare. They wonder what is this photo shoot for? True, I do not have a fiance or pregnant belly or baby around. Yep, it is just me. Which makes me assume they’re thinking Does she think she’s a model? Because…

Har har har.

Odd looks aside, it was a really great experience because a) Valeria is my friend, so I didn’t feel completely awkward and b) we had a lot of fun! On top of that, she’s an amazing photographer. Proof?

1004687_488563781227486_1493986489_n

Oh, hi, look at me casually smiling.

1157697_488563821227482_1442598549_n

Why, yes, I do randomly lean on brick walls!

994567_488563777894153_210522374_n-1

Sometimes I just post outside of doors. You know, as one does.

Aren’t they amazing? I’m so incredibly happy with them. This was actually our third attempt at taking photos because the first two times we were rained out. Coincidentally, it’s my third choice of wardrobe, too. I sent rather spastic e-mails to my friends Jenny & Jessica questioning the cool-factor of cardigans (since that’s my day-to-day wardrobe). I also had my co-workers pick out favorite author photos to show me, as books were returned to the library.

I may over-think things.

Now on to the important question – which is your favorite?

All images courtesy KV Photography. if you need a photographer, and you’re in the Orlando area, check them out (website, Facebook). They’re the tops.

The Little Fox

When I was in high school, my life more or less revolved around the drama department. I was an actress (I was not very good), I created the programs (they had a lot of fonts – it was early Microsoft Word days, after all), I was an officer (secretary, then president), I made publicity t-shirts, I competed in district and state competitions, I was a friend, a coach, a listener. Basically, drama was everything to me. I knew I wouldn’t do it in college (though, crazy enough, I did for a bit), but that didn’t matter. I loved it. I created my identity around it.

As is with most drama teachers, my teacher was crazy. She was this little ball of spiky-haired energy that would literally throw shoes at us when she was upset (or, sometimes, when she was proud). She was a mother, a friend. She knew the right roles for us. She knew what we needed to hear, and, sometimes, what we needed to do. She loved each and every one of us.

Every year when members  graduated, she would give them a copy of The Little Prince, casting them in a role that most suited them. When my year came, I met it with joy and trepidation. I always wanted my own copy, but what was next? What lay on that overwhelmingly large space ahead of me? But during my final drama end-of-the-year party, when I got my copy, I knew i’d be okay. I had friends. I had family.

I met college with that same amount of hesitance and passion. I tried. I joined clubs. I found myself. But…I never forgot what my teacher wrote. Interestingly, I think it’s what led me towards becoming a teacher, and now, a librarian. I’m not sure how she knew it back then, when I was 17, but what she wrote still rings true. Still guides me and pushes me to be the Fox she always knew I was.

Lauren – You are the Fox who teaches all the Little Princes in your life how to live.. Remember your gift always…”

I won’t forget. Ever.

The Ataris

About a year ago, my husband created a blog called Youth Groups where he writes about bands he loved in high school, and then revisits their music to see what he thinks now, as an adult. It’s a neat concept, and I’ve had fun learning more about high school him (since we didn’t meet until college).

Today, I guest posted. My post is about my meaningful and deep love affair with the band The Ataris. They were everything to me.

So…check it out!

UPDATE: Kris, the lead singer, has apparently read my post. 16-year-old AND 29-year-old Lauren are both equally fan-girling LIKE CRAZY.

My (Home) Desk

As promised, here’s my home desk.

photo-1

For starters, I love my desk so much. It’s big and bulky and dark wood. Incidentally, I have found two people who share the same desk – one of which being my best friend. It was originally my grandfathers, and he gave it to me before he passed away. There are secret compartments behind the drawers where I like to think he hid presents for my grandmother.

Top: IKEA clock (which I never wound, but I thought was cute), tiny toys (good luck cat and mini typewriter from my friend Colure; shell turtles from my friend Katie; Chun Li, Harley Quinn, and Joker action figures from my friend Hunter), The Ataris CD (I listen to high school pop punk when I need writing inspiration-seriously) moving calendar (because that’s important), mask from my trip to Venice, Little Prince figure from my trip to Paris, cube of Jewish phrases that used to belong to my grandparents, old camera, pile of old books*.

Drawers: A ton of random things, including four filled moleskin notebooks, circus greeting cards from Michaels, my letter from my agent(!!!), stamps (because I still mail letters), post-its, and a golf ball that almost hit me in the head when I was 16. I keep weird things.

Desk: Penguin mug from London (S got me The Big Sleep because we met while reading that book in class-awwww), notebook, hard drive, camera, post-it with my to-do list, laptop, pile of edits.

And because I love it, my cork board beside my desk has a mess of things, including: buttons, a Helga Hufflepuff card, a picture of my puppy Jetta, photostrips of my mom and I and my friend Meg and I from the day I bought my wedding gown, bookmarks, drawings from my friend Shannon, a picture of S and I, and a bookmark from a haunted ship (yep).

And here’s the wall above my desk:

photo

I like to frame random things, so here you go. Clockwise from top: painting from Florence, a print that says Hope, a photograph of my great aunt and uncle**, a postcard from Papa Please Get the Moon for Me***, a painting from Venice, a print my friend Shannon got S and I of two owls reading.

* – Books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Dick Tracy, The House at Pooh Corner, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Peter Pan, Through the Looking Glass.

** – Photo: My Great Aunt Faye and Great Uncle Julius were flamenco dancers in Spain. It was a Huge Deal because she was just a little Jewish girl from Brooklyn who followed her heart to another country for a guy. First interracial marriage of my family! The story ended well, though, because they were married until he passed away (when I was in 5th grade). She passed away when I was a senior in high school, and it broke my heart. She was such an amazing woman. In the end, she left me her rings, which are now my engagement and wedding bands.

*** – Postcard: There’s an ongoing joke in my family that my dad will do anything for me. So when he (willingly!) went with me to an Eric Carle exhibit, he bought me the postcard because, yeah, if I asked for the moon as a child, he would have done his best to get it.