November 21, 2014

(Hand) Turkeys Run Amock in the Library!

If you didn't make it to the library's Hand Turkey craft event, well, you missed out. It was awesome. The good news is that there's still time to drop by the library to check out our gallery of hand turkey masterpieces, now showing until Thanksgiving break.  These turkeys couldn't be more exquisite if Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, Kahlo, Rembrandt and Matisse had created them themselves.

Thanks to all our artists for participating!

A couple of Hand Turkey artists, hard at work.

A small selection of the artwork.  Prices available upon request.

November 14, 2014

NaNoWriMo: One Writer's Thoughts

By Bethany Taylor, Library Assistant

Writing is hard.

It sounds whiny to say this. Because it’s not hard the same way that hiking a long way is hard, or studying for a math exam is hard, or trying to figure out what you’re going to do with your life is hard. Creativity is hard work, and the time and labor put in in service to being creative is as thorny as it is valuable. The more the world becomes automated and quantified, the more I think we need to embrace our individual voices of creativity.

And that is difficult and necessary work. (Or I think so—if you’re one of those people who blissfully churns out thousands and thousands of words a minute, I do not understand you, but I will read your book. Voraciously.)

I think writing is hard because you have to trust something intangible. Creativity is not something you can control, not something—thankfully—that can be dissected, quantified, and mass produced. It is yours, and yours alone. There is no equation, no right answer, except what you find to be right and true.

I love that. It makes creative writing an escape from living within anyone else’s rules and expectations.

And that alone, living up to and within your own best wishes and personal expectations, can be rather daunting.

When I sit down to write—and I usually write nonfiction, having gone to both college and grad school as an environmental essayist—it’s because there is an idea burning me up inside and out and as I write, the connections between that idea, the wider world, and my personal emotional landscape start to come clear. I’ve started off with an idea to write an essay about climate change (almost always) and end up writing about sunrises, drunks, falling in love, ospreys, astronomy, Kurt Vonnegut, V for Vendetta, killing woodchucks, and the Berlin Wall, variously.

And, with nonfiction, I’ve learned to trust the jumps that my brain takes while writing. It’s like I—the Decision Making Writer, allegedly in charge of this operation—disappears and my brain and fingers commune directly. And part of me just watches from the sidelines, and trusts where the wild leaps will land.

It’s very odd.

What I’m finding both strange and wonderful, but also newly challenging, about writing for NaNoWriMo is that it’s a new place of imagination that gets activated. All of the sudden, I’ve got characters saying things, doing things, thinking things that are like my thoughts, but again, the part of me that organizes and plans what is happening has to just sit tight and watch the story unfold.

I’m not used to trusting strangers, particularly the ones who live in my head and flicker into something like life when I sit down and open up my novel-file.

That is what is hard, trusting yourself and your talents. This is what is scary as we each sit down in front of a blank page. In most aspects of life, we’re unaccustomed to trusting ourselves. In writing, there is no one else to trust, or worth trusting. Because if it isn’t 
right to you, it doesn’t matter who else likes it.

And this is what is so sweetly satisfying, also. Because as much as one hems and haws and deletes and re-writes and procrastinates and worries and doubts oneself, if you give up trying to control things and just give into the weird wildness of creativity, something will happen on that page.

It will. 

November 10, 2014

Curl Up with a Good Book at the Library!

Today, we had the pleasure of welcoming Ms. Bonsey's class to the library, where students ensconced themselves with comfy chairs, a pillow or two, and - most importantly - a good book! We couldn't resist snapping a photo of these happily absorbed readers:

Luckily, you don't have to come with a class to read at the library; you're always welcome to come find a cozy spot to read!

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
–Vera Nazarian

November 6, 2014

It's National Novel Writing Month! (Guest Blog Post)

It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which people across the country take up the challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. This year, BB&N has its own team of NaNo-ers, pouring blood, sweat, tears and ink (well, hopefully just ink) onto the page to meet the challenge. We're proud to support their effort! Below is a guest post from veteran NaNo-er, Ayame, offering motivation and insight.  Go NaNo-ers!

We're halfway through the first week of NaNoWriMo 2014 – how's it going for you?

If you find yourself behind on your word count goal, no worries! You have almost an entire month to catch up.

If you're still on target, keep up the great work!

If you find yourself (somehow) beyond your word count goal, good for you! Don't relax yet – there's a lot of days left in November. *eyes competition* *returns to writing*

The first week has always been the easiest, for me – still all fired up about this whole writing thing, still at least a little in love with my story. It's a good time to get ahead in terms of words, 'cause rest assured, it gets harder.

The second week, for instance, is always cited as the hardest to get through. By the time you reach the third week, there's a certain amount of "well, I've gotten this far, MIGHT AS WELL KEEP GOING HUH." By the time you get past that, it's basically just last minute panic and lots and lots of writing.

Anyway, I don't know how motivational that was. Just keep writing! I believe in everyone's ability to get through the month successfully!

November 3, 2014

Halloween, Brontes,and Dinosaurs

Playing off Ms. Duncan's recent post of literary themed Halloween costumes, here is the story of mine, which I think is way cooler than a pug being Gandalf.

Recently, I was re-organizing my personal bookshelves and my copy of Wuthering Heights happened to be next to a really lovely pop-up book of dinosaurs that I own, because sometimes I have the reading interests of a preschooler. Familiarity breeds contempt, sometimes, but also awesome bad puns and incredibly personally specific costumes. (I love dinosaurs.)

Et, voila! One downloadable apatosaurus/brontosaurs mask and the loan of my extremely talented mother's costume from her historic re-enactment adventures (I come from a long line of people with endearing nerd-like tendencies) later, and I am pleased to introduce you to Miss Emily Bronte-saurus!
(Ms. Taylor as Emily/Charlotte/Anna Bronte-saurus)

Technically, if I wanted to be really scary, I would follow Calvin's example and go as a barrel of toxic waste.

But, aside from the complete destruction of the world by irresponsible human activity, I think that the stark, Gothic, emotionally abusive and direly insane world that the Bronte sisters created ranks pretty high in the actually terrifying ranking system. 

Beside all that dark, windy-moored, haunted-attic, personal repression the behemoths of the Jurassic period look positively friendly. 

For more good times, check out this fun quiz to see if you might be stuck in an unfun Bronte novel. And then go listen to Kate Bush's song "Wuthering Heights." She sounds like a desperate ghost, which sets a nice Halloween/dark November tone, I think.