In the Stacks: Sitting, thinking, and reading with Terrill
I hope you have unfolded your outdoor chairs. Mine is a canvas soft chair that molds to my old self, and has a cup holder for my travel mug of coffee or ice tea. It's comfy for sitting. And sitting matters. I have a poster in my study that I bought many years ago. (My storage room gets called the study because it has a big wooden desk and it houses the bulk of my book shelves … but mostly there are a lot of Rubbermaid bins full of stuff in it.) The poster shows a pile of shar pei puppies (wrinkle dogs) with the line, “Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits".
I bought it at the time for the huge cuteness factor of the puppies, but now whenever I go into my study, I mentally shake my head in agreement. No fear, your local librarian still sits and thinks, but with such a busy world to live in, I do take the liberty of some mental downsizing and there are times I "just sits”. This often leads to reading, and interestingly, I will gravitate to a small book in times like this. That's small in size, not content. There is a sonnet by William Wordsworth called, "The World Is Too Much With Us" that describes this state of mind – a state common enough to warrant a sonnet, hence (forgive the slide into classic English) the desire to "just sits" and read small books.
So what are the small books, you say ... this is a library column, show me the books! To the books, then, good people!
Top of the book pile is "Stitches" by Anne Lamott. It is subtitled 'A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair." Anne Lamott is an author I adore. Her fiction is full of characters with flaws and less than perfect lives, but something interesting and enlightening always happens amidst the chaos. Her nonfiction, such as "Stitches", draws from her own life and lessons she has learned the hard way. She too has often experienced times when “the world is too much with us” and there is a distinct lack of positive possibilities. In one line that sticks with me,
Anne says "Hope inspires the good to reveal itself and though gravity and sadness yank us down, hope gives us a nudge to help one another up." Thoughts like this are definitely worth a sit and a think.
The other small book I am currently enjoying is something completely different. Authored by Steve Martin, (THE Steve Martin of movie and banjo playing fame) it is called "The Ten Make that Nine Habits of Very Organized People. Make that Ten". This is the title, seriously, there are no typos. Confession - I am a complete Steve Martin uber-fan, I have been ever since seeing him in the movie “The Jerk” many, many years ago and his film “Parenthood” is a complete classic. I will watch, read and listen to any thing he does. I bought this cute little volume at the Virgin Books Store at the Calgary airport. I love airport book stores, but that is a whole other column.
This book is subtitled “The Tweets of Steve Martin”. Oh, Twitter, you and I will never have a relationship because I could never keep what I want to say down to 140 characters! Steve Martin said he started tweeting originally, because he thought it would improve his comedy. My first solitary belly laugh was "Going out today to take pictures of paparazzi." Funny, right!? And how about this one "7 hour sleep diet worked great. Will power held beautifully." Steve must have been in diet mode, as this followed along, “Going on 5 Minute Shower Diet followed by 39 Second Tooth Brushing Diet. They say these really work." And it goes on like that. Clever and silly, short and sweet. It seems to me that laughter and hope, may be the best medicine.
Changing directions, here is a heads up and invitation to celebrate National Aboriginal History Month this June at FVRL! Join us as at Agassiz Library on Tuesday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as we welcome Aboriginal Artist in Residence – Jay Havens. Using local materials, culture, narrative Jay will share the art of visual storytelling as he crafts a large five foot puppet that will take two people to articulate. Jay be working and you are all welcome to watch and Jay is ready for conversation and questions. If you can make it at 11 a.m. we at the Agassiz Library will be offering our greeting to Jay with local drummers and dancers from Sts’ailes School.
Before I close, I will tell you I am not one for gossip, but there is a library rumour floating around about worms … worms in the library. I am here to set it straight and say that these are dirt-making, compost-concocting, red-wiggling kind of worms. We had a great time during Earth Day week as Robert from Earthworks in Chilliwack introduced our preschool storytimers to vermicomposting. There is your 25 cent word of the day!
The children and their parents got to watch it being set up and the worms introduced to their new home. Their first meal was the peels of bananas we had for snack time! Now, we did have one little fellow offer to take some worms fishing (an outing maybe?) but we decided we will keep the worms in the library and any and all are welcome to visit them and bring their peelings or egg shells. I hear they are especially fond of melon peel. Come visit your worms anytime, just ask staff, and we look forward to them making enough dirt for us to plant something in the near future.
Speaking of melon, that makes me think of summer and that makes me want to tell you all the amazing things happening with your library this summer, but that would take a book. Luckily, we have just the book in the form of our program guide. Ask for it next time you come in. You don’t want to miss a thing at the coolest place in town this summer.
Well, that’s me, off to the stacks and I wish you all good sitting and thinking, or at the very least, good sitting.
– Terrill Scott is the Library Supervisor at the Agassiz Library