August 2012

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tsubame: (wings)
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 11:59 am
I just recalled a particularly vivid memory of a place that no longer exists-- specifically, the children's library in my town before it was extensively renovated. I remember where the Outlaws of Sherwood was, and the picture books, and the Albert Payson Terhune books, and the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and the ancient computers where I played Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. There was a projects board where you could build things from paper, a different project every summer. One summer there was a medieval theme, and so you were trying to build a castle-- read a certain number of books and you got another piece for your castle. The ceiling was low, with unpleasant ceiling tiles and long florescent lights. The pile carpet was a dull maroon. The shelves were oak stained a dull brown. There were rectangular brown stools for reaching the higher shelves.

There was a tree outside, and in the summer it was like an overturned bowl of leaves. If you walked inside the leaves it was like being inside of a green building. The bark of the tree was grey and smooth without being glossy. There were so many branches it was quite easy to climb, and no one could see you there at all.

. . . I remember the library better than I remember the room I grew up in.

‎Come to think of it, I remember all the libraries perfectly. The libraries at my schools growing up, all three of them. The town library; the children's section from before it was renovated, and then the way it is now. The library a town over where I often went with my dad to get books our library didn't have. The library at my university, the library at the university where I studied abroad. The libraries in the schools I taught at in Japan. And now, the libraries at my postgrad university, and the two I regularly visit in town.

I remember the layout of the shelves. I remember where specific books I retrieved are, I remember where different sections are. I remember what the shelves were made of. I remember what they smelled like. I remember the stairs. I remember the library furniture. I remember how the buildings looked from the outside.
tsubame: (wings)
Sunday, October 16th, 2011 02:14 pm
These days it feels as if people have fled LiveJournal en masse, and I don’t know where they’ve gone. Granted I’ve been missing myself for quite some time-- first because of the endless black hole that was my dissertation, and then it was off to Rome, and then I entered the secondary black hole of job searching. You would think that being unemployed would mean I had a great deal of free time, and you would be right. But it also means that I always feel guilty that I’m not doing enough to find a job, which means that even when I’m procrastinating I don’t write, because writing is Not Looking For a Job.

I also accidentally fell into X-Men: First Class fandom, and seeing as this is the first time I’ve been in an overwhelmingly huge fandom, I always have an endless backlog of stories to catch up on. While this has been helpful in getting me through the trials of the past few months, it has also once again brought to my attention that I am absolutely and completely addicted to reading. I’ve been reading books at what has become my customary pace, but the reading that I do online is vast and near-constant. I read until I can’t bear to focus on the computer screen anymore, and then I pick up the nearest book and I read that for a while. If I have no book I read whatever I can get my hands on-- cereal boxes, junk mail, old newspapers. My friends laugh at my inability to get through this or that TV show, but the truth is that unless it really grabs my attention, I would rather read.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. “I know you’re nostalgic for the Jersey shore as you used to know it,” I said, “bustling, full of people, full of life. But when we went there when I was a kid, everything was run down, boarded up, with grass growing through the cracks and faded graffiti on the walls. And I remember that Dad used to take me by Hoboken on the train, and he would warn me that it wasn’t safe, I had to stay close to him. When I started going myself when I got older it was the same-- a bit run down, a bit seedy, long past the bustling days of the Lakawana rail line bringing vacationers in and out. I would go to the Hoboken Farm Boy and buy this cheap, scented Chinese soap I liked, I would go by the old comic book shop, eat at the Karma Cafe . . . but now Hoboken’s gentrified, and the Hoboken Farmboy is a cell phone shop, and the comic book shop’s long gone, couldn’t afford the rent, and I can’t afford to eat in the Karma Cafe anymore.

“I still like Hoboken, but I loved it as it was-- the Jersey shore, too. I’m nostalgic for them as I knew them: abandoned, run down, dreaming of lost glories.”

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

Ghazal, by Dilruba Ahmed )