It’s a new year and I have new year things to do. One of them might be revisiting this site and getting back to some blogging. We’ll see. Here are my words for the year:
Forward – keep looking forward and moving forward
Surrender – the only thing I’m in control of is my actions, not the results of those actions. Act as best as I can, without worrying about the results. Easier said than done.
Appreciate – myself, others, and the things and opportunities that come my way
Create – make things!
Stretch – body (do yoga), mind (study new things), soul (meditate)
This morning I got up at 6:00, did yoga, chanted japa, made tea, ate breakfast and watched tv, showered, did my hair and makeup, and got dressed. If I had gotten up at 5, I would have been able to leave for work on time after doing all those things. Not a bad start to the year. Now I’m making second breakfast (steel cut oatmeal with apples, raisins, brown sugar, and butter) and fiddling about online, reading things and doing sudoku and adding stuff to my to do list. Tomorrow I go back to work. I have a good feeling about this year.
Ah, the Harkonnens. The villains of Dune’s universe. Baron Harkonnen is among the most disgusting (human) villains of sci-fi, with his flesh and his floating chair and his self-serving evil. But this story is not about him—it takes place thousands of years before he is born. We see his ancestors fleeing from “thinking machines”, a name that sounds almost quaint in the Google age. But we do not have AI overlords, and Google engineers have not left their bodies behind to become brains in jars (!) that pilot mechanical bodies and are out to capture and torture humans, so I suppose we have it pretty good.
I don’t really have much to say about this story. It was short, well-written, and set up a family revenge plot quite handily. I’m looking forward to learning more about these machines in The Butlerian Jihad, up next. It promises a religious war with machine intelligence on one side and humans on the other, the beginnings of the Fremen, and the discovery of Arrakis and the spice. Should be fun.
Regardless of all the opinions, Dune, Frank Herbert’s best-known novel, is a masterpiece of classic science fiction. It is to science fiction what the Lord of the Rings is to fantasy – the book that everyone knows, the one that created genre conventions that have been followed for years.
I don’t remember when I first read Dune, but it was probably sometime between the ages of 14 and 16. I also don’t know how many times I’ve read it since — at least 3, likely more.
Now I’m going to read it again, but this time with the intention of blogging about it afterwards. Every time we read anything we see through our own particular set of filters. By dint of our educational backgrounds and our personal backgrounds, we have certain perspectives that color the things we read. Most of them are subtle and we don’t even notice, but others, ones that often come from education or extra-vivid personal experiences, we’re more aware of.
I always enjoy looking at the language itself in a novel. What words the author uses and how she or he uses them. Are there made up words? How distinctive are the different characters’ voices? I’ve studied linguistics and I also enjoy writing, so this is really two different filters at once.
I like anthropology and sociology, so I think a lot about the cultures presented in a novel. Do they make sense? (Hopefully, otherwise the novel has some serious problems.) What are the unexpected aspects of the culture that the author explores? How does the author clue readers into the aspects of the culture that are different than the readers’ own?
Finally, I am a feminist, so I like to examine the role of women in a story. This is tied in with the first two, language and culture. What role do they play in the culture at large as well as in the plot specifically? How does the author’s language use portray women?
These things are always at least in the back of my mind whenever I read, but this time I’m going to make the attempt to consider them a bit more actively so that I can articulate my thoughts when I’m finished reading. I think it’ll be a nice change of pace from my usual more passive ingestion of stories.
I’ve been a bit misleading. I am going to reread Dune, but since I’ve read it so many times, and haven’t read the rest of the series nearly as much, I’m going to read the entire series in chronological order. This is probably rather controversial among Dune fans, many of whom think that the Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson books aren’t nearly as good as the original six that Frank Herbert wrote. But in order to have that opinion they have to have read them (at least we can hope) and I don’t have an opinion on this because I’m not positive I’ve read any of them, and if I have, it was only one or two, and it was many years ago.
So I’ll be starting soon with “Hunting Harkonnens” (a short story) and The Butlerian Jihad, which takes place 10,000 years before the events of Dune. I’m looking forward to the adventure.
“Dune: Hunting Harkonnens”
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
“Dune: Whipping Mek”
Dune: The Machine Crusade
“Dune: The Faces of a Martyr”
Dune: The Battle of Corrin
Sisterhood of Dune
Dune: House Atreides
Dune: House Harkonnen
Dune: House Corrino
Paul of Dune (Parts II, IV & VI)
The Winds of Dune (Part II)
“Dune: A Whisper of Caladan Seas”
Paul of Dune (Parts I, III, V & VII)
The Winds of Dune (Part IV)
“The Road to Dune”
The Winds of Dune (Parts I, III, & V)
The Throne of Dune
Children of Dune
Leto of Dune
God Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
“Dune: Sea Child”
Hunters of Dune
“Dune: Treasure in the Sand”
Sandworms of Dune
This particular calendar seemed fitting, given the year.
All my applications are in. Now all I can do is wait. When it was still last year, and I was mostly finished but still waiting on letters, I was assuming that I wouldn’t hear back from schools until late March or April. Now that I’ve learned that I may start hearing back as soon as early February, I’ve entered Nervous Mode and it’s all I can think about.
Last year was rough for me. My employment was uncertain sometimes, and when I did have jobs they weren’t a great fit for me and so it was quite stressful. Add to that uncertainty about whether I’d get into school, and if I do, where, and if I’ll get funding, plus Ron’s unhappiness with his job and uncertainty about what he was doing next, and it was a very stressful year.
This year practically has to be better, just because it’s not last year. And (if I try to remain positive) I’ll be starting school in the fall, and Ron has made a lot of progress towards his future just this past week. I’m trying to take care of myself better this year, too, and I’m probably on the longest streak of taking vitamins every day that I’ve ever had, so it’s a good start. Things are definitely going to get better.
I just wish they’d get better quickly, because I’m terribly tired of not knowing.
But even regardless of the stress of last year, waiting is always hard. I should find something to distract myself. Work isn’t good for that, since both of my jobs are fairly tedious and leave me with plenty of attention free for thinking and worrying and panicking, so most of my waiting goes on during work hours, and that can’t be helped. Once I’m home, there’s dinner to make, cleaning to do, and TV to watch, so that’s not so bad. But I can’t help but feel that the next few months will stretch on forever.
Hurry up, April! April is the month of decisions, and while I have a really hard time with decisions, at least they give me something real to worry about. And depending on which schools I get into and what kind of funding offers I get, it might be a really easy decision. So hurry up, April! I can’t take much more of this waiting.
Filling out all my school applications. This is a long tedious process made worse by the fact that I feel like I have to finish them all today. I wouldn’t be in this situation if my UF transcript hadn’t gotten lost in the mail (though I have a nagging suspicion that it’ll show up this afternoon now that I spent another twelve dollars for a new one). But there are worse things than having to rush. I’m still in before the deadlines. And if it’s meant to be, I’ll be accepted. If not, I’ll do something else, like focus on opening an Etsy shop, or learning everything I can about running a bed and breakfast.
But for now, I’m just applying, applying.
Like many people in today’s economy, I’m currently unemployed. Not for lack of skills, talent, or initiative, and there’s no one to blame for my current state (besides perhaps myself, but I won’t venture down that path).
My career path has been wobbly, and you could say that I’m trying to change careers now, but I don’t think I actually had one before–just jobs. A job is part of a career, but a career is not only a job. And here at the beginning of mine, I face a difficult start.
Arruda and Dixson say in their book Career Distinction that a career is not a ladder, each promotion a new rung, but a career is a ramp that you must constantly be climbing. Right now, that ramp is sitting on top of a sheer cliff.
At the ALA conference in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to speak with the Associate Dean and Head of Recruitment at the University of Florida Libraries, where I would love to work. He recommended that I pursue internships there to get started, especially since I have no current library experience.
And that’s the cliff I’m staring at: experience. In the library field it seems especially rough (though I’m sure other people would say their fields are just as difficult) because many people go back to school for their master’s degree after they’ve been working in a library for a while and decide that they’d like to move up in the ranks. I got a job doing web development after I finished my bachelor’s, and then decided that a library science degree would be a good next step. I continued to work full-time while I was in school, so by the time I graduated, I didn’t have any library experience to back up my degree, and I was competing with lots of people who did.
I didn’t have the time for internships while I was in school, and the necessity of work experience in a library wasn’t emphasized in my program. I think that in programs like Information and Library Studies, internships should be mandatory (with the ability to substitute current or past work experience). It would have been a bother at the time to give up a decent wage at my job to get my interning hours, but it would have been worth so much to me in my current jobless situation.
And of course it is all about wages. I believe that people should always be paid for their work. I have always been opposed to unpaid internships because it devalues the intern. If someone is getting paid to do a job, their supervisors will spend time making sure that the employee gets the training and attention they need to do the job correctly, so their money isn’t wasted. If someone isn’t getting paid, the quality of their work becomes less relevant, the intern feels less important, and the endeavor is less productive for everyone.
You might make out unpaid internships to be the apprenticeships of the modern day, but they’re not alike at all. In the Middle Ages, apprentices were not paid, but they lived with the person they were studying under. Their lodging, food, and other necessities were provided. If a librarian offered to house and feed me while I was an intern at the library, it would no longer be an unpaid internship. (Any librarians out there interested? I’m a decent cook!)
I don’t think student internships are quite the same. If you are still in school, internships often are for academic credit, which works as a form of payment. If the student has scholarships or would otherwise not have to be employed full-time to support themselves while they’re in school, the internship counts as study rather than work. When people have to support themselves, having an unpaid job is difficult at best and often impossible. I am lucky to have a boyfriend, parents, and some meager freelance-able skills to help support me if I take an unpaid internship. But it will still be difficult.
Standing here looking up at the cliff that my career is resting on, I’m still inclined to accept an unpaid position. And that is why unpaid internships are still able to exist, despite everyone’s right to be paid for their work. The transition into a professional career is so steep that it’s often the only option.
Hi, world! I’ll be blogging here as I continue my foray into the world of librarianship. For now, we’re undergoing a bit of construction. Eventually you’ll also see various craft projects, the occasional link to Nom Nom Cucumber, my cooking blog over on Tumblr, and some of my photos.
Thanks for visiting!