Reading – A Glimpse into My Past

Richard Sugden Library

I love to read. Growing up in a small town, much of my youth was spent in the library, devouring first the children and young adult sections. By the time I was 8 I was a veteran user of the card catalog, spending hours in the adult half of the building. The library was my baby sitter – I loved the solitude, the silence, and, most of all, the access to so much information. When I wasn’t in the library or at school, I was at home, either in front of a computer or buried nose-first in a book. This carried into High School, when I spent long hours in the library at Copley Square, one of the oldest public libraries in the country, while waiting for my train home. While in High School, where community service was promoted to such a degree that we spent every Friday for half our senior year volunteering, I worked at my city’s library. My love for books – particularly good fiction – was the reason I always romanticized being a writer.

The new home of the Worcester Public Library, finished only a few months before I began working there. I actually really liked the old factory that was it's temporary home during construction.

That was one of the reasons I started this blog – to push my reading into writing. It was 2008, and my efforts with creative writing had waned as I progressed through college. I still read quite voraciously, it just wasn’t triggering the urge to create like it had in my youth. So I challenged myself to read and review 100 books in a year. Unless you include graphic novels, which I didn’t, I didn’t even get close. I could make excuses –  I had started late in the year (Around April) and it was also the first time I attempted NaNoWriMo – but the truth was that it’s actually a pretty tough goal.

And there was one massive side effect – I burned out. I’m a bit ashamed of the fact that I didn’t really touch another book till mid-2010. Sure, I kept reading, but 2008-9 marked my return to comics and graphic novels, left untouched since I was a child. I read 3 books in 2010 – 2 of them in airports waiting for connecting flights. It wasn’t until recently, as my interest in graphic novels began to wane and I sought inspiration for the upcoming fustuarium that is NaNoWriMo, that I was really able to pick up a book and lose myself in the pages (in large part thanks to a book gifted by a friend).

BPL Central Branch, where I spent many evenings during High School

 

Honestly, it was a bit like coming home.

So even though NaNoWriMo starts next week, I hope to once again post reviews here. I’ve got A LOT of catching up to do, so there are going to be quite a  few titles you’ve already come across elsewhere. The first two will hopefully go up this weekend. And as NaNoWriMo progresses, in an effort to refrain from distractions like music and television, I’ll probably once again return to my old refuge and friend, the Library, hoping that the embrace of it’s musty scent and yellowed light catches a spark of creativity where only vexing emptiness sat before.

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In Preparation for NaNoWrimo: Part 1

As I said, I’ve been pushing myself to shake loose some mental cobwebs and start writing. I’ve come to like using Google Docs for one reason: I can access it anywhere. There’s even an app, letting me write – however awkwardly, using my phone.

One of the corporate sponsors of NaNoWriMo is Yarny, which I believe is still in beta. It’s very similar to GDocs, pushing the idea of writing to The Cloud. Except it gives you some interesting options – tags, color indexing sections for easy reference, etc.

Yet while I’d love to give it a shot, the fact that GDocs has an app really makes it unbeatable (there’s also the communal sharing thing, but that doesn’t matter in this context). I don’t know how viable an option that’d be for Yarny (it would be an interesting feat of programming), but I’ll keep an eye on them just in case.

Moving on, I decided that I’d post some of my writing here. That way it’s public and I can’t be tempted to use it for NaNoWriMo. Below the cut is the first 2,000 words of a short story I’ve been working on. Though it’s mostly been written in spare moments here and there, what’s kind of sad is that’s barely over a day’s work at NaNo pacing, but it’s taken me about two weeks to get this far. It’s fantasy, which is the genre that comes to me most naturally, and I hope to keep expanding it over the next couple of weeks. Maybe even finish it.

To that end I present what, for now, is titled: Over The Cliff.

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