Getting back into reading after…months? Years?

In the last 24 hours…I have done SO MUCH reading.  It started with seeing a program on one of our PBS stations which had to do with the development of nuclear armaments.  They mentioned an issue of The New Yorker from 1946 which was entirely made up of one article about the Hiroshima bombing.

Instead of doing what I normally would have done, which would have been to find the article, bookmark it, and save it for later reading, I did something out of my norm:  I started to read.  This is largely because I have a tendency to find resources, and then never look at them again — which kind of defeats the purpose of being able to find them.

The Hiroshima bombing has personal significance for me; multiple signs point to family ancestry originating in Hiroshima.  Most of the people we’ve noted who share my surname are nikkeijin, or emigrants and descendants of emigrants, from Japan.

The total course of reading the above-linked article took two or three hours.  I can’t remember if I started reading around 10 PM or 9 PM, but it took me until around midnight to read the entire thing.  (In this case, Google was much easier to use than University databases:  no log-ins!  And, The New Yorker has its own archives — slightly enticing, I must say.)

I’ve missed opportunities to learn about survivors of the bombings firsthand before, though, and so when the program aired…I tried to pay as much attention as I could, especially to footage of the explosions and the aftermath.  I’ve also been exposed to a lot of anti-nuclear propaganda in my day (I wasn’t around for the pro-nuclear propaganda), and so, actually, seeing this documentary and then reading about it later kind of had the effect that my class on the Biology of AIDS did:  it kind of took some of the fear down by familiarizing it.  Though the aftermath of a nuclear attack is still grotesque, at least understanding it a little better kind of takes away the kind of idea that it’s some kind of unholy daemonic technology that never should have been used or shared.

Since then, and…even before then, now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve been looking through the cache of books I’ve gotten on careers in Writing, and careers in Library and Information Science.  The thing I’ve read which stands out as notable to me is that in a number of occupations I’ve seen (and which I’m interested in) in books on Writing, it’s said that one needs either a separate part-time or full-time job to survive, ironically.  So hey, I switched back over to the LIS books.

One thing I have seen, looking through the LIS books, is that I may not be suited to be a Database Specialist, because strong Computer Science and Math skills are kind of prerequisites for the job.  I have an English degree, and decaying Math skills.  I’ve been thinking for years about refreshing these; the problem is that I don’t know exactly where to start, because I don’t know at what stage the gaps in my knowledge are or begin.

Also, I am not really wanting to start — especially where we get to polynomial equations, graphing, etc.  I seem to be really good at Geometry and not so good at other things, especially after we started using Graphing Calculators and the class started being more about how to use the calculator than applications of whatever we were programming into them.  (What applications those would be, I still don’t know.)  I have passed Statistics, and I’ve started out on Calculus (I dropped it due to having no idea on how I was doing); but both of these things feel high-level to me, now (though Statistics was fairly simple, from what I remember).

Because of this, and what I’ve found with trying to get classes in my program…I’m really questioning whether I’ll be able or willing to take a tack on things that now looks ultra-technical.  One of my Librarian co-workers has recommended Cataloging to me, as I’m very detail-oriented and accurate, and dealing with people is a daily stress, for me.  I can do it, and I usually do it pretty well; but my skills are not being put to best use.

I’m thinking that she’s right on with her recommendation, though it also looks like I may not be able to get away from working with the public (in any position) if I’m employed by the government in a Public Library.  At one time, this was possible, but things were changing by the time one of my references was written:  post-2002, prior to 2007, approximately.

I actually do like working in a Public Library, but more for the services we provide than dealing with …well, nasty people, basically.  They’re rare, but they do come through.  Most people are fine-to-good to work with (even the really poor and homeless people, and the people who are mentally nonstandard, can be good); but then you get the abusive people who want what they want when they want it from anyone they can force it out of, and when they don’t get it, they turn to insults.  I really don’t like dealing with them.

I would say that I don’t think anyone does, but then I’ve worked with some kind of snarly people myself, who might actually like being able to put someone “in their place.”  The problem with snarly co-workers, though, is that they tend not to be happy — even though they may be great at, say, telling someone to stop eating (or masturbating).  The major problem I’ve found with dealing with snarly people, though, is that I don’t feel safe around them, as I’m not sure anyone is off-limits to being snarled at.  And the issue with the people doing inappropriate things in the Library is that I don’t want to be the security guard in addition to everything else.  That’s kind of not why I would get an MLIS.

Anyhow…there have been two programs I’ve seen on PBS recently that have gotten me interested in History.  One of them was a program on the (U.S.) National Park Service; the other one was the aforementioned program on nuclear arms.  I’ve been giving some thought to the fact that I find it difficult, these days, to write fiction.  It just seems to engage a part of my mind that I’m better off keeping weak and unused — as when I did use it, I overused it, and I couldn’t tell my imaginative thoughts apart from reality.

Narrative work in Art feels different, though.  I think I could do that.  It’s easier for me to recognize my own invention in Art than it is in Writing.

But in any case — if I’m doing a lot of reading to familiarize myself with Library materials, it could also be interesting to use that reading and research to develop my own writing; like, a book on American History of a time period which interests me (I’d say, 1849 on — Gold Rush — as a possible starting mark).  I was mentioning to a friend before classes let out, that actual history will more than likely be angering, but the alternative is reading some approved tract of fiction which exists to keep people complacent…and there’s not a lot of use in the latter, unless it is taken alongside more professional history to expose what’s going on.

I’m also in the middle of a book on having multiple careers at the same time…it seemed innocent enough to bury myself in, and could help if only by giving permission to be someone who works two tacks at once.

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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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