This is my column from the newspaper this week. It is very local but gives you a bird’s eye view into what is happening in my world:
Circumspection Denied: Open Our Libraries
During a conversation with a friend over the weekend, she called me “circumspect”. Not really sure what it meant (though I had an inkling) I looked it up. I knew my friend would never insult me, but I wanted to make sure the word meant what I thought it meant. And it does. According to Volcabulary.com, “circumspect implies a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences.”
I do try to “case the joint” before making a statement to make sure the audience is friendly, and I try to stay as politically correct as possible. In pubic. Of course I have my own strong opinions and biases, but these are generally not for public consumption. But I have to say, the fact that “our” librarians are now entering their fourth week on strike is starting to annoy me. A lot. It is fraying on my nerves and makes me question the fairness of it all. And I am afraid I am no longer circumspect about the situation. I know there are two sides to every issue, or as my husband says three–the third being the truth.
What is the truth in this matter? And what is fair? If life were fair, the librarians would be back in the libraries helping patrons, but instead they are walking the picket line—somewhat confused as to what is really expected of them. From my understanding they are asking for little other than the status quo. Perhaps my understanding is incorrect, but I am wondering why they are not being allowed to fulfill the myriad of duties they perform for you and me on a daily basis.
For the last three decades I and my family have been enthusiastic members of our local library. I took my kids to all the programs for kids when they were little; I have partaken along with my husband in many of the adult offerings; and have been known to haul home as many as twenty books at a time. Some I use for research (for this column); some I read; and some I just enjoy perusing.
I love the library. I find the librarians in Kingsville helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. I am leading with my heart here—and my heart breaks to see this beloved institution closed during the summer months. So, if anyone out there is listening—please give us back the place so many of us love and use. I cannot be circumspect and careful with my words about this—I need to go out on a limb and state my position unequivocally: it is just wrong to make these purveyors of the written word (and so much more) fight the good fight for their jobs.
Poetry and Prose at the Lake
Went to a poetry/prose reading over the weekend. I always feel so intellectual when I attend one of these things. “Feel” is the operative word here, which means that I do not necessarily understand all the nuances of the sentiments being expressed but I like the challenge of trying to unpuzzle the written word. Poetry is a puzzle that unlike its cardboard cousin can be put together in many different ways and produce as many pictures as there are readers.
The outdoor “reading” took place at the Woodbridge Farm Retreat overlooking a tranquil Lake Erie. Hosted by Grant Munroe (et al), we listened to old 78’s under a canopy of ancient trees. The poet, Jesse Eckerlin had spent a week writing at the farm, and read from his chapbook of poems called “Thrush”. I particularly liked the poem called “Emporium” as it brought us face to face with another era ensconced in the modern day. The opening lines: “A disorderly labyrinth of decrepit junk, this florescent bunker hunkered in the north end of the city…” is reminiscent of meandering old stores that we have all experienced with stuff from a decade long gone still for sale. He describes the products as “…either raw materials or house goods from the 40’s or 50’s that have gracelessly fermented into novelty items.” I cannot do Jess justice here, but it is enough for you to know his work is fierce and fearless and fine.
The other reader was Robert Earl Stewart, a former Windsor Star reporter turned poet and prose writer. He read from a book he is now in the process of writing about running. Though the passage he read does not convince me to run, it was filled with a wry look at his personal life and how running saved him. He was in turn funny, honest, and an accomplished wordsmith, who made you hang onto his every word.
It was an ideal way to spend a summer Saturday afternoon. I believe there will be another reading on August 20th. Stay tuned.