25 December 2017

Christmas 2017

...and that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Well...along with Epiphany, too.

29 November 2017

Readers' Advisory

I don't do this very often, but I can't hold back any longer.

I must recommend to readers the work of Mathew Hughes.

I've been enjoying his work since discovering him back around '04 in the pages of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
His exuberant playfulness with language, so deliciously anachronistic, along with his engaging plotting and rich range of interests, leave me admiring his compositional skills throughout his every story. Rarely a page I turn without thinking to myself that I wish I could write so well.

I could go on and on, but better to let the writer speak for himself. Visit his website. Check out excerpts of his work. Purchase books directly from his online bookstore.


Again, I don't often push recommendations. Only when I am especially impressed and feel it imperative to share.
Yet, maybe it's the librarian in me. I spend most days steering students toward books they might like. Perhaps I ought to embrace the act of making recommendations and start applying readers' advisory concepts beyond the library.

30 October 2017

To the Season of Hallowe'en

I've mentioned before that I write seasonally. A few of my pieces, I only work on during certain periods of the year, during October and its build up to Hallowe'en, for instance. One drawback is that it can stall the writing process. Even if I have some ideas brewing, I tend to hold back until the proper period rolls around again. One advantage is that it helps flavor the writing with authenticity to the season. Another drawback is that it can slow me down until I have multiple pieces going all at once. Another advantage in that regard is that I can therefore tend to finish pieces all at once as well.

This year, I finished a poem I had been working on for a couple of years, a story I'd been writing for a couple years longer, and a draft of a chapter book five Octobers in the making. Along with an assortment of short verses that have been hanging around for a while. The ends all came one after another after another. It has been ages since I felt so accomplished at my writing desk. 

One other advantage to writing  in such a seasonal manner is that while the season "seasons" the writing, the writing also "inscribes" the season with a certain character. This year, though I have been extraordinarily busy at work in the school library, my writing has helped maintain and even expand the feeling of Hallowe'en, serving to make the whole of October a celebration of the holiday...just the way October should be.

The first pumpkin I ever successfully grew and harvested,
carved into a Jack-o'-lantern!

27 September 2017

Banned Books Week

Celebrate Banned Books Week
Read a Banned Book!

For more information, visit these sites:

Banned Books Week

American Library Association

From the middle of Banned Books Week:
This week in the school library, we've been looking at a few "controversial" works by the masterful Dr. Seuss. Many a reader is surprised to learn that even a single Dr. Seuss book has ever offended anyone.

Visit these site for some interesting articles:

19 August 2017

Eclipse Plans

National Public Radio asked listeners to write in with their plans for the eclipse.
I wrote a short essay, but I'm afraid I was too slow in submitting it. Seems a shame not to share in anyways.


I shall be watching the Total Solar Eclipse from my front step.
I first learned away back in the early nineties, when I was still in my teens, that my hometown of Casper, Wyoming, would be having a total eclipse in 2017. (Astonishing how awfully far off 2017 seemed back then.) I’ve been looking forward with amazement ever since. The partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day back in 2000 provided a splendid opportunity to start collecting eclipse glasses and solar filters. Only a few years ago, I discovered that my house was but a stone’s throw off the very center line of totality’s path. That wonderful revelation has had me even more astounded with anticipation—matched only by the marvel of knowing my five-year-old twins shall have as an early, indelible memory the sight of the Sun going dark in the mid-day sky above their home.
To celebrate the day’s event, we’ve invited family and friends, near and far, to join us for food and drinks and a welcome chair—though I expect few folks will be sitting down. We’ll also have games: horseshoes, cornhole, ladderball, and instead of “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey,” we’ll award prizes for rounds of “pin-the-Moon-on-the-Sun.” We plan to revel the whole day through. Nevertheless, for two and a half minutes just before noon, my attention shall be focused entirely on the sky. To behold the wonder. To feel the shadow of the heavens cast upon me. And to witness the awe of the universe aligning before my eyes.

04 August 2017

Out of the Warehouse

Yesterday was my last day at the warehouse. Now all my focus is on my school library.

Working at the warehouse has not been just a source of supplemental income. I had been warehousing since I was a kid, when my Dad first handed me a boxknife and told me to start cutting off flaps. "And be careful, why dontcha!"
Ever since, warehousing has been my career.
Crown. Amcon. Def Tec. Wear Parts. HD Supply, The Glass Warehouse.
Then my wife finally convinced me to go to school and pursue teaching and librarianship (like my Mom and Dad tried to do fifteen years earlier). I studied, earned a degree, and landed a position as a Teacher-Librarian in an elementary school.
All through school I kept my position at my last warehouse job with The Glass Warehouse. The folks there were wonderfully supportive of my efforts at school. I actually did put in my two weeks notice right before I first started college, but they wouldn't hear of it. Instead, they were willing to work around my schedule. As I delved deeper into my studies, semester by semester, I reduced my hours to the point where I was working only half a day a week, on Saturday mornings.
I worked most of this summer, however, even though it meant neglecting my prep work for the coming school year. Turned out to be one last busy hurrah at the daily adventure of pulling orders, stocking shelves, loading trucks, and zipping around on the forklift and honking the horn like a deranged Shriner in a pallet-filled parade.

But now, my warehousing days are over. I'm changing careers.
Here I am at 40, staring down a major shift in my life. It's exciting. It's terrifying. It's joyful.
But it's also a bit saddening. I wonder if I'll ever again have occasion to operate a forklift.

Will I ever again have to cut the flaps off of a box?
Maybe when I receive my book orders.
I'll be able to cut with precision, 'cause I've had years upon years of practice.

Perhaps keeping a library really shall turn out to be a lot like warehousing. Plenty of constant shelving to be done. I've had lots of practice in that, as well.

However it goes, I'm glad to have had such rich experiences with warehousing as a career. Still, I'm ready to make the transition at last. 
Into the library...

Thanks to all the warehousing crewmembers with whom I worked over the years. Particular thanks to all at The Glass Warehouse and Decker: Curt Weston, Dan Seth, Gary Romer, Jerry Alley, Brian Sorenson, and the keepers of the books: Cathy and Patty, and of course all the rest of the crew who had such incredible patience with me and my goofy schedule these last few years. 
Don't forget to rotate your stock!