Friday, March 18, 2011

My Precious

(I say that in the Gollum voice from "Lord of the Rings")

One of the reasons I love working at the library is the variety of tasks I get to perform. Out front, in public, I'm helping people check out, renew, and order books or movies. I also help people find their items. Maybe it's a book their friend recommended, maybe it's a movie that our catalog showed that we had, or maybe it's books about a certain subject they need for a report.
  • The other day I helped a mom find books for her son, a third-grader, who she characterized as a "slow reader." He needed books that were at least 90 pages but wouldn't frustrate him too much. I led her directly to books by David Adler, author of the Cam Jansen series. I also pulled a couple books by Matt Christopher, Beverly Clearly, and Louis Sachar. They chose a couple of the books but wrote down all of the authors I suggested.
  • Yesterday, a graduate student in speech therapy came in looking for a book to use in a thirty-minute session that talked about the tortoise and the hare. I pulled books by three or four different authors so she could pick which would be most appropriate for the student she worked with.
Behind the scenes I'm equally busy processing new books/movies, receiving items from other libraries that customers have ordered, and discharging materials that have been put in our bookdrop. I also write, occasionally, for the library's book blog, Turning the Page. I enjoy writing for that different audience. Also, because I can write for it on work time, doesn't that mean I'm getting paid to write? Kind of? In my latest entry, I look at the apparent rise of short fiction: "We Don't Tell Novels at the Kitchen Table, We Tell Stories."

I've worked at my current branch for over two years now. I am part time. Until last July, I also taught literature and composition. My long-time readers know that I stopped teaching in order to focus on writing, to see if, given the extra time, I would be able to produce anything worth while. If this was a test, I passed! Since July, I've written a lot. And it's not horrible. Of course I could have written more; I could have been more disciplined. But I'm not disappointed -- I'm proud of what I've done.

And therein lies my dilemma. A full-time position may become available at my branch, the one I love so much. Not only would I double my take-home pay (going from 20 to 40hrs/wk), I would also receive health care benefits (currently I spend over $100/mo purchasing my own). If I apply, there's no guarantee that I would get the job, but I don't want to apply unless I'm prepared to accept it.

In other words, now that I've finally found a steady rhythm for my writing, do I want to give up so much of my precious time? Help!

1 comment:

Aki Mori said...

Maybe it's the male, provider part of me speaking, but I would find it impossibly difficult to give up an improved standard of living in a situation, like yours, that didn't entail selling your soul (as in, working for some evil corporation). Far from it, it entails giving you more of a job that you already enjoy.

On the other hand, being young and single is a precious time in your life where you can pursue your passions... Yeah, that is a tough decision! (I'm no help at all! :-)