Thursday, January 28, 2010

Read, girl

I have to quit the library, even though I love it, even though the other day I met another librarian with a wandering eye, inch thick glasses, and a Boris and Natasha tie on who discussed Anthony Burgess at length and I thought, "I simply love this place. This is the adult nerd's refuge." I mean, I can be openly nerdy there. I am no longer closeted. That's right. I (prepare yourself) am a geek. And goddamn it, I'm proud. I'm here and I'm weird.

But I was offered a full-time job at Ochsner Hospital and the kids and I need the money and the benefits. I'm going to have to be a nerd some place else. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the new job. It's a good step towards becoming a medical writer. But I am going to miss being a professional bookworm and answering questions like "Who wrote A Movable Feast?" To which I dig deep into my superior knowledge and intellect and reply, "Um, Rachael Ray?"

So what can I tell you about this geek's paradise that I shall miss? And I mean that in the most affectionate way. It made me remember some things that I had forgotten. First, book lovers, true book lovers, read EVERYTHING. The other day my manager said she recently finished a book on calculus and that it was just fascinating.
"That would be like reading a foreign language to me," I said.
"Ordinarily me too," she answered. "But this was a young adult book, and it explained it in an easy way. I could really appreciate it, even though I didn't totally understand it."

The woman read a kids' book on calculus and found it fascinating. I love that. These are people who appreciate anything for the sake of its delivery, as long as it's told well it could be about anything.

And it reminded me about something I haven't been doing much of lately. Reading. I've read several times that the best way to learn to write is to read whatever you can get your hands on. But other than reading self-help type stuff, I've fallen behind on the stuff I love. Literature, personal essays, German pornography and stuff like that. So, for some reason or another, the universe has decided to give me a sign. Literally.

If you live in New Orleans, you can drive down St. Claude and see this, and I suggest you do. There is a house that's all boarded up, with four windows on the front of it, like the tall kind of windows you can stand in. Those windows have long boards patching them up, and spray painted on each board, large enough to read easily from the road, is one letter that spells out the word "READ." Below the "D" is the word "girl." So on this broken down, ugly as hell house is the message, "READ, girl."

And I intend to. I'm sorry that I have to quit the library, but I'm so thankful to be reaquinted with an old love. Right now I'm reading Bird by Bird, which I highly recommend. It's by Emeril Lagasse, I think.

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