Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Different Library and the T206
Photo: National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

I'm sitting here now at a different library than the one I'm used to.  This one is practically across the street from Borders, so I can quickly go there to work on my paper when the library closes.  I am enough of a literary freak to really appreciate libraries, and different places to write in general.  The best I've ever been in is the New York Public Library in Manhattan, which is beautiful beyond description and even owns not one, but two (!) Honus Wagner T206 cards.  One of them was pasted to a piece of paper a long time ago, and each time I see that one I want to scream.  What a waste!

But I digress.  This library is better, but worse.  They are on guard for all things liquid, so my iced coffee resides behind the reference desk.  The guy next to me has his in his cubicle with him, but I won't turn him in.  Not that kind of guy.  But they wouldn't even let me put it on the big table behind me.  I'm clearly over it.  These cubicles, though, are very cool because they have three plugs built into the left corner of each one, so I don't have to trail my Mac's cord across a room to plug it in.  My cubicle seems to be the main one, too, because there is also a large surge protector beneath it, in case I had 27 more things to plug in.  This cubicle also has a shelf just above those plugs, and the desk of the cubicle itself is big, so that the whole situation is very convenient.  Nice!

I also noticed that there are a ton of books about the Middle Ages, and even some that are encyclopedias of everyday life of various eras.  How cool is that?!?  So I know where to come and research for the chapters of the past for my plague novel (research for much of it you will find in previous blog posts, below).  This area is also relatively quiet, especially now that the buffaloes behind me are gone.  They had been playing loud games on the library computers and, after pausing, talking loudly about them, like they were in their 80s and wearing hearing aids.  Why didn't the coffee police speak to them?  Never mind, I'm over it.  Clearly.

The paper is going well.  I found a story by Chekhov and one by Munro that both contain the following things: remote location (this works literally and figuratively); thoughtful and reflective characters; a sudden kiss by an unexpected person; epiphanies caused by the kiss; a bridge at the end (also effective for literal and figurative purposes--and structural ones, too); minor characters who do not think or reflect as often or as deeply; minor characters who do not seem to suffer--or to be as aware--because of this; and overall examples of the everyday and their ordinary characters' responses to these everyday things.  I have so much, in fact, to comment on, and to cite, that I might not have the space for a Carver comparison after all.  Fine with me.  We'll see.

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