“I wonder what in the world will the world bring today?” Jane Siberry
Well good morning to you. How’d you sleep? Good. I’m glad to hear it. (That’s the right answer, by the way.)
Today, I’m a #saturdaylibrarian, a hashtag occasionally used by us librarians who are stuck working a Saturday shift. It’s just our little way to commiserate with each other.
Actually, I don’t mind a Saturday shift. It’s only one out of three for me, and on those weeks I get Wednesday off in exchange. Not a bad deal, really. Having a day off in the middle of week feels like I’m getting away with something. It’s a good day to get appointments in, errands done, that kind of thing. And, from the May long weekend to Labour Day, we are closed on Saturdays, so no big deal.
Why, you may ask, am I talking about my work rotation today? It’s February 9th, silly! (Doesn’t ring a bell?) That’s okay, it’s just our anniversary.
Our anniversary, you say? Well, yes. Our anniversary. The anniversary of this blog, “Mountains Beyond Mountains”. I say “our” anniversary rather than “my” anniversary, because we keep this thing going, you and I.
“Me” as the writer and “you” as the reader. Without you, this blog would be a meaningless jumble of private thoughts, properly confined to a moleskin notebook. Without me, this blog would be nothing more than a lyric from an Arcade Fire song.
I recently watched an interview with George Saunders on Charlie Rose. George Saunders is quickly becoming my favourite living writer. I don’t normally go in for short stories, but his collection, “CivilWarLand in bad decline” is wonderful and his newest collection, “The 10th of December” has been called the book of the year by the New York Times, so there.
He was saying this exact thing: a story is a construct between two things: the author and the audience. He said that if he writes, “A man walks up a dusty path to a white house”, the reader has automatically supplied the man, the path and the house. These are the reader’s invention. They are not what the author sees, necessarily, and when that man does something terrible 3/4ths of the way through the story, it’s not just the author making it happen; the reader is invested. The story takes on a life of its own.
I remember hearing this story about Stephen King. I can’t reference it, and it may not be true, but you know what we think about truth around “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, right? In the story, someone was taking him to task for (SPOILER) killing the little boy off at the end of “Cujo”. His response? He said, “I didn’t kill him, he died while I was writing it. I’m just as upset as you are.” or something like that.
These blogs sometimes feel like that. I start off planning to write about something and quite often something else sneaks in there and it takes another turn. I love the freedom of it. I love the rush of getting things down, or that weird inexplicable feeling of things flowing out through my fingers and onto the screen through the keyboard. It would be hard to give up that feeling, and knowing that there’s an audience out there makes it all the more sweeter. This stream-of-consciousness style of writing doesn’t happen with every post, obviously. Sometimes I write exactly what I mean to, but those posts tend to be not as fun to read. Even the ones that have some predetermined structure often surprise me. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote my “Oscar Preview” post. How easy is that? Just say something snarky about 9 movies, save, edit and publish. But somewhere in the middle of it I made a reference to “Annie” and I continued to use that as a recurring theme throughout the rest of the post. I just went with it. I didn’t even plan to mention Annie at the outset. Now it’s up to the readers to decide whether that was funny or not, but I can tell you I enjoyed the process. You’re very patient to put up with me.
All of this is to say that this is the second anniversary of this blog. The first post “A Perfect Morning” described a day where everything went almost perfectly. A year later, uncannily enough, “An Imperfect Morning” paralleled the first post almost moment by moment, but with very different results.
So does this mean I need to describe my morning on every anniversary? I guess so. At least that’s why this post is called “A Saturday Morning” and why I wanted to know how you slept the night before. Glad to hear you slept soundly.
So yeah. My morning is about to begin. A full day of helping customers find what they need, troubleshooting computer and photocopier backfires, weeding collections and checking in occasionally with my fellow #saturdaylibrarians.
On to another year?
I’m game if you are.