Friday, June 3, 2011


Forget about the Senior Prom, go to the library and educate yourself if you've got any guts.

Frank Zappa

I hadn't been in a library since I started working for Borders back in 2000. Full-timing it there was like being held hostage. It's amazing that I did all the writing and drawing, and that I published all that stuff during that time. Libraries have changed in the New Millennium – computers and Wi-Fi for the public, lots of DVDs, CDs, audiobooks.

As a page, my time is divided between wrangling books in the back room, checking them in, packing them for shipping to other libraries, pushing around carts of books to shelve, and picking them up from reading tables. We find out what people want, then use computers, lasers, and the laying on of hands to connect customers with the object of their desire.

So much better than trying to work the "make titles" that Borders wanted us to push into every conversation with a customer, so we could meet the quota Corporate had decreed.

I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it's better than college.

Ray Bradbury

I did my own version of Ray Bradbury's self-education through the library. During the Great Recession back in the Nineteen-Seventies, it just made more sense to me than running up humungous Student Loan debt getting a degree that would qualify me to be an administrator or a bureaucrat, when I wanted to be a writer/artist/adventurer.

And I became a writer/artist/adventurer.

Yeah, I'm not rich, but not many people do become rich doing the crazy stuff I do. And there are a lot of rich people our there who aren't as happy as I am. I need to work part-time at a library, but now I have more time to do what I love to do.

And work on making this madness pay.

The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

Kurt Vonnegut

The library isn't just a great place to work, it's a great place to be. As I do the work, I'm walking around, eyebrow deep in serendipity. I can't help but be inspired.

All kinds of cultural artifacts pass in front of my eyes and through my hands. My brain gets titillated through the work day. And I discover new things I wouldn't have otherwise run across.

Then there's the people; they're working on something, be it getting a job or trying to overthrow the government, the homeless with laptops, girls with scarifications or headscarfs, men in kilts and sarongs, those people who need constant entertainment, and folks who are looking for something.

The library is a great place to look for things, even in the age of the Internet. You see, kids, believe it or not, there is a helluvalota stuff in this universe that isn't just a Google search away. I know, I've spent most of my life looking for more information on things that the usual, handy sources don't know diddlely about. I kept asking teachers about things that they knew nothing about, and eventually I realized that if I wanted to satisfy my curiosity, I was on my own.

I've found that the library is a good place to search, especially after you can't find something online. You may find that there isn't much in the library either, but that means you'll have to go off on a quest, keeping your eyes wide open in the wild, real world. It may take you years, decades -- hell, you may never find what you're looking for, but your life will be interesting.

And that's the way I plan to keep on enjoying myself.

1 comment:

  1. super-cool art.. fun read.. thanks for your post! (I came via the livejournal page).