Last fall I travelled to New England to give my first presentation on The Healing Library for the New England Library Association’s annual conference. (More on that another time!)
After the conference I took a couple days to reunite with old friends from when I lived in VT.
One unexpected meet up was with Andrew Clingenpeel. Andrew and I used to ride together and even shared an apartment sometimes. Back then he was studying art and making kick ass music. I found out he was back in VT and now sharing his talent through tattoos and knew it was time for me to get my first one.
He said yes right away to the design when I reached out being a Bowie fan himself and dug the added Dewey Decimal twist (nerdy as it is!).
Getting time to hang out one on one and talk music, art, and shows was so awesome and we’ve kept in touch since then to talk about upcoming shows and life in general.
To all my librarian friends considering ink, all my fellow punk/metal librarians – Andrew should be your man! His love of learning, authenticity, and true commitment to the piracy and outlaw side of life means your tattoo will be filled with your own meaning as well as rooted in the rich tradition behind this art form.
Oh, and if you don’t know what 781.66 is, look it up!
When I was in high school I had an incredible Latin teacher. Liz was intensely dedicated to her students and the art of language. She taught the class in Latin. There were 2 grades: A or F. We were all required to take the National Latin Exam every year (We all always medaled. Seriously. All of us. EVERY time.). We also had summer homework. We would be given a text to translate from Latin to English each summer at our leisure. I loved it. I hated the pressure during the school year but when Summer came I could devote all my focus to the class I loved the most and just read, think and write.
So far, that’s what grad school has been like. Well, sort of. I mean, there’s still a lot of stress from work, home ownership, new marriage, dog, cat, book and a few other monkey wrenches the Universe decided were appropriate for just this moment… But seriously, I have finally reached a point where I’m studying only the thing I’m obsessed with. Can you imagine!? I think about libraries. All. The. Time. But NOW! Now I get to think about libraries and do extra projects about libraries and (here comes the best part…) challenge myself when it comes to what I think I know about libraries.
I’m a weirdo in basically all aspects of my life. I’ve never quite fit into any of the molds I tried on. Snowboarder with no patience for the cool factor. Beat poet enthusiast who can’t stand Ginsberg. Seamstress interested in making intentionally tacky or inappropriate costumes resulting in social discomfort for my friends. Punk Rock lover who does not like Sid Vicious. Loudest librarian in the building interested in adding more loud people who will do weird things with me (Wool felting for cat lovers! ). These are not historically popular niches.I like being a weirdo. I’ve gotten comfortable living on the edges of all these colliding identities and library land has actually started encouraging people to work the way I work. I can’t wait to see what cool new versions of weird this experience is going to pull out of me.
I’ve been doing homework for the iSchool for weeks now. Prepping for an intense week long trip where I get to study for 7 days with peers. It feels a lot like when I was 9 and we moved to Maine – “Will they like me? Will I be too weird? Will I make friends?” It also feels like starting a new job – “Will standing up for what I believe in make people angry at me? Will I get to do what I want?” and somewhere sprinkled on the fuzzy edges it feels like falling in love – “I can’t sleep! I want to look nice!”
So I’m finally here and ready. It’s 7:45am and I’ve got on the special outfit I picked out and I tried to make my crazy hair cooperate and it’s my first day of school. I hope that I don’t cry (for any reason) and I hope that I don’t get a tattoo. Even more than that I hope my ideas are good enough. That all this weird has culminated into the kind of person this community will think can make a difference.