though my memory rusts, I will always see the icicle tusk.

So we were supposed to have this life-threatening winter snowstorm deep freeze thing today… but at the moment, it’s just extremely cold. Which is bad enough, okay, but seriously….?

People’s obsessions with weather used to annoy me, but then I got obsessed too. Or at least mildly interested, maybe because of my interest, always, in the atmosphere of everything. Some of the most lovely and interesting weather I have seen happens very late at night when Oliver has to drive me home and try not to crash. Fog, mist, rain, sleet, snow– movie-set snow, snow like moon dust or sand, and last night’s snow that seemed to hang in the air like fog, casting everything mysterious and white.

I don’t very much appreciate the atmosphere of danger that ice imparts, though.

Darn! I wanted a snow day, an excuse to drink excessive hot chocolate and lie around listening to records and reading books and maybe finally topping off the candles I made with Bug and Marie, which have been sitting in a box waiting patiently while I gallivant around in everyone’s Christmas break. “Yeah, you really need a break from… nothing,” Oliver said.

But it wasn’t a break! Actually, I think my brain has been more active lately than it’s been in ages. I’ve been reading every day, chewing my way through alleged classics and The Secret History (yum); I’ve been researching and gathering materials constantly for my current “Robots” story; I’ve been absorbing my surroundings better than ever, remembering more conversations, getting better at character sketches.

This probably still sounds like a break, actually, and I’m not saying that this was super difficult for me, or that any of this felt like work. But lately I keep remembering what someone in my writer’s group once said to me. She was talking about the advantages of keeping a journal as a writer, and she said that you start out just writing things down when you’re looking for inspiration, or when you’re waiting for the “grist”, as she called it. But then after a while you realize that you’re not writing stuff down while you’re waiting for the grist anymore; that stuff has become the grist. For me this isn’t all totally intentional, gathering grist– but thinking about that advice, I have become more aware of (and hopefully better at) the practice.

This probably also sounds like I’m all, “I’m taking time to focus on my Art” [*adjusts tortoiseshell glasses*], but… I did lie around a lot, too. Whatever.

This should really be two separate posts. But… it isn’t.

So, I worked nine to five yesterday (yeah, cue the cliches) and had an oddly fun time. Because I got to, first of all, feel very official. (I mean, for some reason I felt like I was supposed to be there, unlike usual when I feel like… an intruding elf who sorts the books? I dunno.) Secondly, I got to hunt down books like Easter eggs for the first half of the day, talked to a lot of patrons (the place was hopping), and best of all, I got to spend some quality time listening to the circulation desk ladies chitchatting.

It’s true; the “Circ” ladies are maybe my favorite part of working at the library. Since the library is so large and busy, there are a lot of these ladies working at once; a couple of them behind the checkout area, three or four processing materials in the sorting room, and another one or two milling around taking care of odds and ends.

It’s a writer’s gold mine. The distinct characters! The dialogue! Not to mention, it probably fills some internal, subconscious need within the old-fashioned me to be surrounded by chit-chattering ladies while we all do some mindless task like weaving, or picking berries (or in my case, picking gross, faded pink “new!” stickers off of not-new-anymore books).

So, anyway, seeing as I was working a full day, I got a real lunch break. And this is what I heard as I ate my potatoes.

Guy librarian: “The new branch– have you seen it?”
Circ Ladies: “Oh yes, we hear it’s very nice.”
Guy librarian: “Lots of wood… And the kid’s area– They even have a little train going around above it.”
Lady A: “Yeah, a noisy, squeaking train–”
Lady B: “Someone needs to oil that thing.”
Lady A: “Ugh.”
Lady C: “I hate trains.”
Guy librarian: “Why?”
Lady C: “It’s a childhood thing. Always hated them.”
Guy librarian: “Oh, but did you hear what else? They have a fireplace, too. It puts out a nice bit of heat.”
Circ Ladies: “Psh!!”
Lady B: “And what’s going to stop some kid from going up and sticking their hand right on it?”
Lady A: “Parents.”
Circ Ladies: BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA
Lady B: “You wish.”
Lady C: “Yeah, that happens one time, and they won’t turn it on anymore.”
Lady A: “Right! Why would you even put a fireplace in a library, anyway?”
Me (finally piping up): “Because it’s old school.”
Guy Librarian: “Yeah, it’s old school. It makes a nice mix of old school and new school.”
Lady C: “Yeah, there’ll be a fireplace and no books. Just stare at the wall!”
Me: (internally) Hear, hear!
Lady A: “I heard that the break room is like two chairs and a table. And that it’s practically in the middle of a hallway.”
Lady B: “And what was that one door…?”
Guy Librarian: “That was the staff bathroom.”
Circ Ladies: “That was the staff bathroom?!?!”

Totally worth the sore feet at the end of the day, that.

Well, I have been very negligent of you, blog readers. Sorry. I was going to blog about how Super Awesome my vacation in Kentucky was, but then I… didn’t. I really have no excuse.

This is the part where there’s a long silence and somebody coughs way in the back of the room.
And then you feel like you have to cough, but you can’t, because it would seem so loud–
But then–
Your throat itches–
And you decide, okay, I’m going to cough, but then you can’t cough so you do that awkward not-cough thing and…
Yeah.

Anyway, what else has been going on around here? Oh. Right.

WAAAAA-a-a-AAAAAA (Wua, wua, waaaaaaaaa). Aka the theme music from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Or, as my dad calls it, “The most epic cowboy movie of all time”.
I would have to agree.

I don’t normally like cowboy movies, especially not long ones, especially not long ones where at least one person dies every five minutes. All of which apply to “GoodBadn’Ugly” (which is another name my dad calls it. As in, “Let’s watch a movie.”
Everyone: “What movie.”
Dad, in one excited breath: “GoodBadn’Ugly!” …. “What, we have to watch it at least once a week.”).

But I do like movies that weave multiple stories together, which this does. And when something is historical, my FAVORITE way for them to be that way is to have a personal story with the historical stuff as the background– for the main action to be about the main characters and their peculiar struggle, and then WHAM, history leaps up out of the dull background like an Asian carp out of Lake Erie and smacks you upside the head. But it never overshadows the main story– it only makes the whole thing more epic, adds depth and whatever.
Actually, I think what it really does is bend your mind. You start out with the main story, which, since it’s the main story,  has a great importance to the watcher. It IS the story. But then the history stuff comes out, and what’s happening in the history can be so huge– yet it seems small because it’s the background here. It’s a reminder of reality, that whatever you’re in the middle of, whatever you’re looking at very closely, is what seems huge and epic. The lives of ants and sparrows are epic if you could follow them closely.
Which is to say, if the story of three guys trying to beat each other to 2,000 dollars in gold isn’t enough to hold your interest, imagine that it also takes place during a (surprisingly accurate, considering this was an Italian film) Civil War.

So that’s partly what makes that movie the most epic cowboy movie of all time. I also think it’s due to the cinematography– the move is so long because they will spend AGES on certain shots, which builds tension (and is also artsy). Plus, it was all shot in real places rather than on a fake set, so all the landscapes and long faraway shots and such are really cool. It also helps that there are some scenes where I wanted them to take forever on the shot, like when the ghostly carriage is racing toward them across the open desert…

The movie is highly quotable, too, I must mention.

And another major factor in making the movie EPIC is the EPIC MUSIC. I mean, the main theme is pretty cool by itself (it’s what I like to call “adventure music”), but when there’s also songs like this, how can it not be epic? I’m sitting here listening to it while typing, and the sky was all gray and brooding, and then right as the song hit the crescendo a sunbeam came out and shone on me. Like I said.
Epic.

Also. There is a scene where Clint Eastwood pets a kitten.
That seals the deal.

Well, this has kind of been like two posts in one… As usual, a perfect example of how my strange mind works.

Yours,
Pen

Should I check my watch, my calendar, or phases of the moon?

A week ago today I went to take a test as part of the “application process” to become a page at the library. This is the first time I’ve ever applied for a job– and gotten called in as part of Round Two Eliminations (sometimes I feel like my life is one big long game show that I can’t escape…). And it’s the first job that I’ve really wanted.

After I took the test (which was basically four pages of putting numbers and letters in order, and one page of answering questions about how often I could work), the library lady said I would get a phone call whether I was going to make it to Round Three: Interview or not, and since then I’ve been waiting.

And waiting.

And also, more waiting.

I mean, she said she would be done grading the tests at the end of the week. Well, the week’s over and we’re clear into the next one. And I’m still waiting.

And I’m thinking:

I bet I’m not getting the library job. Because they still haven’t called. And I bet they called the finalists ages ago but they’re stalling on calling people to say no because who wants to do that?

But, she promised. So maybe they haven’t called anyone yet.

Besides, based on how often I said I could work how could they not hire me? Especially when I am pretty sure I did at least average on the test, if not superb.

Maybe I should have sent a thank-you note. Maybe they all sent thank you notes and I looked like the stupidest jerk ever in the whole universe.

Although I did thank her in person. I was very friendly. Doesn’t that count for something?

And doesn’t it count for something that I can basically work every single day?

Didn’t my last page scream HIRE ME I HAVE NO LIFE I WILL BE YOUR MINIMUM-WAGE SLAVE HIRE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Maybe they’re ageist. And schoolist. And meanest. So I wouldn’t want to work there, anyway.

I mean, right? How could anyone not want to hire a hard-working, flexible-scheduled homeschooler? Whose purse is adorned with an image of a book fishing below the tagline “I’m Hooked on Books”. (Yes, that button thing has been on my purse for half a decade. And yes, I took said purse to the test in the hopes that it would give off some subliminal messages or something.)

Dear Library, I LOVE books! I love reading! I love wearing a watch and a pair of glasses on a chain! I will even pretend to love your overcrowded teen section, your dimly-lit study area, your nose-picking nerd patrons who swear profusely! I will dutifully and cheerfully report to work and go about my tasks– well, I would say skipping and whistling, but of course a library is a hallowed, quiet place of learning and literary pursuits!

Just…. HIRE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!