Thursday, 28 January 2010

Is it too late..........?

There are times, thankfully rare, when I pose the question:

"What on earth am I DOING with my life?"

This usually coincides with a period of existential angst, which can be provoked by any number of external influences.

Or sometimes it's just because I just feel a bit down.

Of course there is no sensible or satisfyingly concise answer to this unanswerable question. But it hangs there in my consciousness nonetheless.

Probably everyone has 'what ifs', and 'if onlys' in abundance, and it can provide an interesting introspective hour or so, musing on how life could have turned out differently, if you'd chosen Route A instead of Route B.

When I was growing up, I harboured a burning ambition to be a librarian.

This was based on little other than the fact that I loved books (still do).

The look and feel of them.

The smell of them, either new and virginally unopened, or long-abandoned, dusty and musty.

As far as I could see, from my regular visits to the mobile library van, and my less frequent sorties to the local library in the nearest town, 10 miles away, librarians lived a charmed life.
They spent all day closetted with books. Some even got to escape from the cosy confines of the library building to tour around the outlying villages, lending literature to the book bereft as if they were distributing manna from heaven.

They used lovely little rubber stamps, with which they stamped the 'return due' date in each book. I especially liked it when my favourite librarian carefully lined up her stamp so that it fitted neatly within the confines of the grid, rather than the haphazard, oblique style of most of the others. I was fascinated by the small buff-coloured cards, held in sweet little pockets inside the front cover, which were removed and stored in ranks of wooden boxes. I loved the card index system, housed in a bank of little wooden drawers, and would spend ages rifling through the 'Find By Subject' section if I had a school project to do.

Librarians seemed to have a psychic bond with the books in their charge and had an uncanny ability to locate a title almost instantly. Of course I knew nothing about the Dewey classification system at that time and merely wondered at their prodigious memory.

The mobile library van visited our village once a week and I rarely missed it. As a young child I was only allowed to borrow from the rather limited children's section right at the back of the van, but if my favourite librarian was on duty she would permit me to borrow certain carefully selected adult fiction, which I would carefully secrete under my coat as if I were temporary custodian of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Of course these days librarianship is a whole different proposition, and its probably way too late in the day for me to be changing professional horses, but I still harbour secret fantasies about working in a cosy little library somewhere.

I'm sure I've blogged it before, but HERE is just one of my favourite book-related blogs, written by a librarian.

7 comments:

Boadicea said...

Oh no, another link that has me getting distracted - like everyone else I only put the computer on to check my mail, honest! I've got to be more self-disciplined!

I used to spend hours in libraries. I still think the internet can't replace books, the physicality of them - like crosswords - I know I can do them on line, but a newspaper or a book is easier to take into the toilet with you!

Word verification: piciosis - I'm still trying to work out what sort of disease that would be!

karina content said...

Dear Sandra if you like you can sign in for my give away book look at my blog

http://the-mouse-mansion.blogspot.com/

Sandra Morris said...

Displacement activity is a default setting for the self employed!

I agree, digital media will never replace traditional print. I would never be motivated to fondle an electronic reader in the same way as a book.

Piciosis must be a bladder-related infliction.

TreeFeathers said...

Hi Sandra, I hope you're not feeling down or angsty now, if you are I hope you feel better soon. You know, over here local libraries are still always looking for volunteers to help out - in ways that don't require years of "library science" schooling. Maybe you could look into it, even just a few hours a week or month. Then you could have your cake and eat it, too! :D

Also, be careful what you wish for... I used to dream that books would be my future, but I always assumed I'd be sitting on the Left Bank in Paris writing them, not sitting here day after day gluing together thousands of tiny blank volumes! Aaaaahhhh!!!

- Grace

Sandra Morris said...

It's not that I have a particular yearning to run away and become a librarian, more the musing on what might have been if I'd made different career choices.

Of course I might have hated it and my love affair with the written word could have ended in acrimony, leading me to a new career in accountancy.

As if.

Kay said...

... but then we wouldn't have Sandra Morris the artist and that would be a great loss.

Sandra Morris said...

That's very kind of you Kay.

I'm just not sure that Sandra Morris 'the artist' isn't masquerading in a production of the Emperor's New Clothes.

I'll blame it on the time of the year....