All At Once

I’ve heard quite a few times that you should never start querying a book while pregnant. The stress, anxiety, excitement, and disappointment are enhanced due to hormones and general craziness. Well, thankfully, I’m not pregnant, and don’t plan on being for a while. HOWEVER, I am querying during a different type of stressful time.

Job hunting.

My temp job at the library (which I love) is ending in April. It was actually supposed to end earlier, but they gave me to the end of the semester. If I get offered a job prior, of course I’ll just switch jobs sooner. My bosses here are incredibly nice and supportive. (In fact, before each interview, my co-workers literally cheer me on. I can almost imagine pom poms. I love them.)

That said, I’ve been practically glued to my e-mail and phone. Each message could dictate my future! It’s crazy, and incredibly nerve wracking. And the thing is – it’s every day. Query responses don’t come in overnight, and neither do decisions after applications or interviews.

On top of it all, my best friend is in labor. Today. I’ve been texting with her husband (who, incidentally, I befriended first back in college) all morning, getting every update. (Latest update, which has been my favorite: “They broke her water. There’s a baby insider her running out of water!” If you get this reference, we’ll be friends forever.)

So perhaps this wasn’t the best time to query, but honestly…I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Despite the stress and anxiety, it’s thrilling. Each “1 new message” could change my whole future. I live for moments like that.

You never know what might happen, right?

More on this later…

Happy

My husband started a music blog last week. Not just any music blog – he only highlights British indie music from the mid-late 90s that he  enjoyed while growing up in London. Some bands made it, most didn’t, and he’s kind of discussing what he liked about them, and seeing if any of them held up over time. It’s not something everyone will, but he loves it. He loves talking and writing about music, dissecting it for hours. It makes him ridiculously happy. So, I’m really glad he started the blog. (Because, let’s be honest, I can only humor him for so long.) (I kid.)

My two lives (writing & librarianship) kind of cosmically collided head on a few years ago. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but didn’t know what kind of one (thus my explorations in journalism). I always knew I wanted to work with books, but didn’t know how (thus my book selling and teaching careers). So I read and researched. I started writing for me, and figuring out the life I wanted. Young adult books made me happy. I wanted to recommend them to children. And maybe write one myself.

I remember taking my young adult class in library school (yes, that was a class, and yes it was amazing) and gazing over the articles and books assigned. By the end of the semester, each one had tons of bright yellow highlights. Each had bookmarked pages, and underlines and stars. Each was dissected. Each was discussed with S (to his amusement, I’m sure) for hours upon hours. It didn’t feel like work. Writing those papers, reading those books – I would have done it for fun.

So now I’m the cusp of it all coming together. I’m a librarian (yay!) and I wrote my first book, working on my second. I’m doing it all because it makes me happy. Because let’s be honest…I may never make a mark on a young child’s life with my book recommendation or book written, but what I do? It makes me so, so happy.

So what makes you happy?

Librarian Up For Grabs

I’m currently in an interesting position with my career. I finished my graduate degree in August and was hired as a Reference Librarian the week I graduated. It was amazing, really, and I was fully aware of how lucky I was. The job, while supreme, was temporary, but that was okay. I felt like it was meant to be.

And it has been. I truly have loved every moment of working as an academic reference librarian. I now know that I was right to get into this field, as I finally feel at home. However, my time with the position is about to end. If I could stay here, I would in a heartbeat, but I can’t. So now comes the big question – what do I do next?

When you hear “librarian,” I’m sure most people just assume they’re the people who check books out. Right? Wrong. There’s so much more to the profession. For instance, as a reference librarian for a college, I teach classes on how to find scholarly information, I create reference guides for majors and minors, I answer research questions, and I work with students to assist them in completing their papers. There’s more, but that’s the basics.

As it turns out, being hired as a librarian (and not simply a library aide or clerk) was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gave me more experience than I could have dreamed of. A curse because now I want to stay one, with only so much experience. Many libraries hire librarians with years of experience – I have but a handful of months.

So now I’m at a cross roads. I’m about to end this job, and search rapidly for another. I’m not sure what will happen, and that part scares me. But I also know something will come up. Something perfect. Something that screams Lauren! and will help me on my professional adventure.

It Starts

Every time I get a new job, I create a blog post titled “it starts.” I have quite a few. I guess that says something about my career choices.

Today was my first day as a librarian. I’d like to say that it was mind blowing and awe-inspiring, but I can’t. It was just a first day afterall. I can say, though, that I felt at home. And that’s far more than I’ve ever felt at a new job.

The building is beautiful, with cathedral ceilings and exposed beams. There’s an elevator to navigate the four floors, but it’s more fun taking the old, wooden staircase that creeks when too much pressure is applied. The top two floors smell like pages waiting to be turned and leather bindings. I can’t help but smile when walking by.

The bottom floor has remnants of a card catalogue and expanding shelves that move when buttons are pressed. The combination of magic and weathered documents creates a Harry Potter-esque experience, that leaves you wondering which decade it is, exactly.

It was my first day, so aside from the mountains of paperwork and technical setups, I learned the computer system and met my co-workers. I started preparations for a presentation i’m performing, and set up my adorable office*. I’ll start real work tomorrow. And to be honest? I can’t wait.

I can’t wait to start teaching classes to students on how to find viable articles. I can’t wait to sit at a reference desk and answer questions. I can’t wait to help students find books. I did some of this before while working at the bookstore, but I feel like that was just practice. An introductory level, guiding me to this new challenge.

And in the end, I hope it’s the last time i’ll type “it starts,” because for once, I don’t want it to end.

*After getting my degree, I wanted to buy the above poster for my first office. Sadly, it’s only made as a bookmark now. Sigh. I’ll patiently wait for it to be available again. 

Funds

I wasn’t quite sure what kind of post should be next on my blog. Optimistic? Humorous? Melancholy? How do I go back to blogging after such an announcement?

Eh, I guess like this.

I really, really appreciate everyone’s comments regarding my mom’s situation. All of the kind thoughts and loving words really meant a lot to me. It’s amazing how much support comes from the blogging community. I already knew about it, which was why I felt comfortable sharing that announcement. I knew you wouldn’t judge.

That said, you can imagine how things are around here right now. Mom’s situation takes precedence, but she’s still quite passionate about our wedding. Which is good, of course – she wants to make it nice and it keeps her mind off of everything. (And I’ve come to learn that a wedding is just as much for the parents as it is for the main couple. I offered delaying the wedding due to her condition, but it’s the, as she puts, one thing that makes her happy right now. Woo hoo!) We’re just really struggling trying to pay for everything.

I mean, seriously, how do people even afford weddings?

I’m going to research into freelancing again. It’s something I like to do, and will require less time than a part-time job (which I do not have the time for, sadly, between my job, grad school, mom’s tests, and actually planning the wedding). Any advice on finding gigs?

I have, however, found amazing ways to save while planning the wedding (which will be included in a future post!) Let’s just say Ikea and I have (once again) become best friends.

I promise a more fun post later.

My…Workplace

Hey, you know what I’m not doing? Writing in here all the time, like I hoped I would. Apparently things get in the way. It’s sad, really, because I WANT to write, but I rarely find time.

That said, I’m stealing this idea from the lovely Barbetti. She’s listed 30 Little Things to write about in the next 30 days or so (or, in my case, 300 or so). They can be full-out stories, or just thoughts. Let’s see how many I get through!

Write about…Your Workplace

I realized the other day that I have one photo in my office. It’s not of my family or fiance. It’s not of Jetta, although I really should bring one in of him. (I fully believe in the power of puppy pictures). It’s not even of someone I know, or a place I’ve been. It’s a black and white photo taken of Cuban immigrants arriving in Key West during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

Let me backtrack.

About a year ago, my boss’s friend contacted him to see if we’d help her with a book she was working on. So, we did and for the past year, along with my daily duties, I’ve been helping write a book on the boatlift. I’d never really heard of it before, but now I’m a bit obsessed with the topic. I’ve read personal accounts and newspaper clippings; I’ve flipped through hundreds of black and white photos depicting both horrendous and heartfelt moments. And although the book is out of my hands at the moment and being reviewed by a publisher (fingers crossed!!), I still have the one photo hanging on my bulletin board.

Maybe it’s because I don’t want to say goodbye to the book yet. But, really, I think it’s because of what it stands for. Those people risked everything to get here. Sickness. pain, loss, death. They did everything for a better life.

A quote on my computer’s desktop image says “Are you doing all you can to become the person you want to be?” They did. They did absolutely everything. So, I suppose in a way I’m in awe of them, and also inspired by them. It wasn’t easy, but they survived.

So, whenever I have drawbacks or irritating moments (even those puppy pictures may not appease), I look at the picture and realize some people had it much worse. But they went on.

And so will I.