Archive for the ‘Life’ Category
Oh hai blog, I’ve missed you.
I’ve been taking a little step back from all things library this summer. We’re on a 9-month contract where I work but in the past I’ve always signed up for an additional summer contract and kept working through June, July, and August. This year, I decided to take June and July off (except for a few days here and there). I feel like I deserve a break after going through the tenure and promotion process this past year. I’m also trying to gear-up for our library reopening at the end of the summer. I’ve been feeling a little guilty about not being available while construction and other things are wrapping up. It’s so hard to take a step back… But at the same time I know that this break is imperative for my mental well-being. By the end of the spring semester I was feeling the need to create some space in my life in order to replenish my ideas and enthusiasm.
It’s been wonderful. I’ve been concentrating on my creative work—writing, reading, performing, sending work out for publication. I have lots of camping trips planned for July and I’m seeing old friends and making new ones. Making things… trying to build my community. I’ve been trying to do some things that are outside my comfort zone (reading my poetry at this house show, for example) and it’s great. Each time I do something that scares me it makes the next thing a little bit easier.
Some random updates in digestible list form:
- I’ll be presenting “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Post-Renovation Revelations” at the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) 2013 Annual Conference in Seven Springs this October with my colleague Melissa Gold.
- Our library renovation is on schedule and we will be reopening by the beginning of the fall semester.
- I’m tenured effective fall 2013! Still waiting to hear if I was promoted from Instructor to Assistant Professor.
- My poems “Renaissance Body” and “Tasks To Privilege” were recently accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of The Pinch Literary Journal. Stoked.
- I’ve been working on the Membership Committee of PaLA as part of my Director-at-Large responsibilities. We’ve been busy brainstorming creative ideas for recruitment and retention. Lots of good stuff.
- My trip to Italy was fan-freaking-tastic and made me want to go to all the places. Travel: you should do it.
How is your summer going? Anything fun in the works?
watching // twin peaks + audrey hepburn.
reading // snowflake/different streets by eileen myles.
working // on signage for the new library, summer plans + a new writing gig (details soon!).
writing // blackout erasure poems from an old ornithology book.
thinking // about letting go of the life i’d planned to embrace the life in front of me.
What are you guys doing?
(inspired by Kara at I Just Might Explode)
2011 was the first year I tracked my reading and it was around this time last year that I set the goal of reading an average of 3 books per month in 2012 (for a minimum of 36 books). I’m happy to report that I exceeded that goal and read a total of 46 books! Check it:
You can learn more about the titles on my Goodreads page. According to 5-star ratings, my favorite books were:
- O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
- Pretty Tilt by Carrie Murphy
- The World According to Garp by John Irving (also the longest book I read last year)
- Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories by Charles Bukowski
- The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm
- The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading by Eileen Myles
- Driftwood Valley: A Woman Naturalist in the Northern Wilderness by Theodora Stanwell-Fletcher
- Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
- Nature I Loved by Bill Geagan
- Sisters of the Earth: Women’s Prose and Poetry About Nature by Lorraine Anderson
- Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002 by Sharon Olds
- Kindred by Octavia Butler
I read over 11,000 pages! What did you read in 2012? Any reading goals or books you’re looking forward to reading during 2013?
Ice is something I have accepted as a nuisance in my life. I grew up along the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York where crippling ice storms and slippery roads are the norm. Up until last week, I couldn’t have imagined wishing for more ice or considering it to be one of our most beautiful natural structures…
That changed when I saw Chasing Ice, a documentary that follows environmental photographer James Balog on his Extreme Ice Survey. Balog used time-lapse cameras to capture thousands of images of Arctic glaciers, providing evidence that these glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. I was in New York City visiting a friend and was able to catch this limited release on its opening weekend. Director/producer Jeff Orlowski and James Balog himself joined the audience for a Q&A following the screening.
No words that I could write here would come close to describing the devastating beauty of this film. All I can say is please go see if you live in a major city and if it’s not playing near you, petition your local theater. At the moment I am looking into the possibility of bringing Chasing Ice to my campus for a screening. It seems like the perfect conduit for introducing a discussion about climate change among students. Throw in a response panel of earth science, environmental studies, geography, economics, and government faculty members and library showcase of print and electronic resources for information on climate change and you’ve got a nice little program on your hands. One that makes students think and question.
Check out http://www.chasingice.com/ for more information and ways to get involved.
Last March I blogged about a Computers in Libraries session on capturing, sharing, and acting on ideas (presented by Adam Shambaugh and Jill Luedke from Temple University). Since then, I’ve been thinking about the different tools I use to record my ideas:
On my phone:
- Voice Recorder App – Mostly I use this to capture ideas while driving. Six-hour trips between Pennsylvania and New York equal lots of time for creative reflection. I try to be as safe as possible (open the app before I leave, keep the phone on my lap, one tap to record and pause, etc). On my last drive I recorded all the billboard messages I saw, transcribed them and am now working on a hybrid found/erasure poem using the messages as my text.
- Notes App – I’ve been known to jot a line or two down in my iPhone notes. I usually do this when it’s the only available option—if I’m in the middle of attending a lecture or something. Eventually I transcribe these into one of my writing notebooks.
- Camera – I like to take pictures of things like really great or really awful signage or businesses practices that I think might translate well to libraries.
On my computer:
- Bookmarks – Yup, I still bookmark a TON of stuff in Firefox. And they’re not synced between my work and personal computers. I know there are more robust bookmarking tools out there, but bookmarking usually comes into play when I see something random (after clicking along from five different blogs/websites) that I’m not sure I’ll be able to find again. This results in a huge mess of unsorted bookmarks on both my work and personal machines. About once every month or two I go through them all and either organize them (if it’s a place I’ll want to visit multiple times), read the article/post and delete the bookmark, move the information somewhere else, or buy the item.
In the cloud:
- TeuxDeux – I’ve blogged about this tool before, but can’t resist sharing it again. TeuxDeux is browser based which allows me to add “home” do-to items while at work and vice versa without syncing headaches. I also purchased the iPhone app, so my lists are available there as well. Yes, this is more of a to-do list tool than a place to capture ideas. However, in addition to a weekly calendar, there is a “someday bucket” which I use to record opportunities I want to look into at a later date. It helps me keep those opportunities fresh in my mind because I see them whenever I look at my daily to-do lists.
- Google Docs – I recently received an email from Google notifying me that my 894 files stored in Google Docs are now in Google Drive. Eight hundred and ninety four files! I have Google Docs for everything—work projects, creative writing, papers, research projects, presentations, conference notes, lists of things to do, and more. I have a shared doc called “Fishbowl of Awesomeness” where my colleague Melissa and I put snippets of ideas we have for research and publication projects. Google Docs is also where I collect my blog ideas and outline them before drafting them in WordPress.
- Notebooks – While I do a lot of my work and writing digitally, I still love paper notebooks. I usually have a few going at once—right now there are three: a Moleskine in my purse/work bag at all times (for anything); a hand-bound journal next to my bed (mostly journaling and book notes); and a spiral bound notebook (reserved for poem crafting).
In the past I’ve collected ideas on sicky notes, large pieces of paper (mind mapping kinda stuff), Evernote on my iPad, and whiteboards. Having a great idea—the perfect line for a poem or topic for a post—and not having a way to record it is a terrible feeling. This usually seems to happen to me when I’m in the shower, just about to fall asleep, or somewhere in public where it would be awkward to pull my notebook out. I repeat the idea over and over in my head, convinced that there’s no way I could forget such a beautiful phrase or thought, but inevitably, the idea is lost if I don’t record it.
How do you keep track of your ideas? Any tips or tricks? Do you keep work ideas and personal ideas separate?
Image CC BY 2.0 courtesy of seanmcgrath on Flickr
A few months ago I came across the fabulous work of mixed media artist Kristen Solecki, out of Charleston, SC. There’s just something about her use of color that really draws me to her prints and paintings. I ended up purchasing some of her owl prints to give away as gifts and they were gorgeous in really simple Ikea frames.
Kristen contacted me a few weeks later to let me know about a new publication that she and partner Tim LeVan Miller are embarking on. Enter Sips Card:
“Sips Card brings independent fiction and local coffee shop/bar venues together. Customers can find Sips Cards at participating coffee shop-like venues. Each card contains a QR code, loaded with a short story from an independent writer meant to last as long as their drink. The cards are venue specific and include their business information as well as that issue’s author, story title, and website.”
Um, amazing. I immediately loved this project because it’s the perfect combination: coffee, good writing, and technology. Plus, it’s an example of QR codes that actually makes a lot of sense (rather than randomly slapping the darn things on every piece of paper in sight). Also, this would be a really fun activity for a library. I could totally see an academic library partnering up with their student-run literary magazine and in-house coffee shop to do a project like this. Maybe even team up with Sips Card to do a limited-series offshoot event of some kind. FUN!
Check out the Sips Card website or Facebook page to learn more about the project. Submissions of poetry and short stories will be accepted April 16 – May 31 for Issue 2. Writers, get a move on! Hope to see some of your best work featured on a Sips Card.
You might spot a familiar face or two over at Librarian Wardrobe! Melissa Gold and I work together as academic librarians in Pennsylvania. We’re modeling (air quotes) in front of our library which is currently smack-dab in the middle of a two-year renovation. You can learn more about the project here. The dress code at our place of work is pretty much non-existent… We typically use our best judgement based on our activities for each day. For example, you might find me in a blazer one day giving a presentation and then wearing jeans and converse to hang posters around campus the next. Thanks to Nicole for letting us share our outfits!