I’ve been having a bit of a problem with stability and self-care, for about the last three weeks — since I stopped the majority of my substantive offline writing. (I backed up everything, preparing for a massive overhaul, three weeks ago.) Of course, it has also been about a month since my last class ended — meaning the major thing I had to organize my life around, hasn’t been there as a support.
Then, there’s the decision I have to make: do I really want to go into Cataloging or Metadata Librarianship, still? I’ve sunk, what, thirteen years into this, now. As we were looking back on it, M said that I seemed to do fine in my last class, even though I didn’t think I did all that well. I ended up getting an A, even with the one late, flawed assignment. I just don’t feel that I learned…let’s say, “optimally.” But I still know a lot more than I would expect.
It’s been noticed that I have a tendency to jump from activity to activity, when things get difficult in one field — which prevents me from moving forward in any of my fields. I had noted that what Buddhists know as “monkey mind” (or the ability to leap from topic to topic, as the undisciplined mind often does), can break me out of perseveration on negative thoughts. In that way, it can help. But there is a pattern of shifting activities — frequently — which I hadn’t consciously noticed (as I had been writing through all of it).
I know that last time I swung out of a craft — stopping my beadwork to focus on my Art (sometime around November 10th)?…the pause was deliberate.
I had started seeing the beadwork as a financial dead end, and as a literal “hobby” that was drawing time, attention and energy away from building job skills. Particularly so, as I realized how dependent I was on bead manufacturers, who didn’t seem to be making any particular efforts to remain consistent in sizing between brands. That makes it difficult to write patterns that will consistently work with different batches of beads.
Standardization is something one learns about in Cataloging and Metadata…it’s important if you want other people to be able to reuse your data. The reuse of data cuts down on the global workload, significantly.
As well: when I stopped working on my own Fiction writing to focus on fortifying/rebuilding my physical and psychological health (during the final days of December), it was deliberate. That was more to prevent circling the drain/spiralling into depression, though. Now that I look at it, it has only been a week since I’ve last written Fiction. I did go back into the main project, but I wasn’t working on my old drafts.
I’m actually thinking of working out some Short Stories now, as versus a novel-length project. I’m not sure whether I’m going to seek traditional publishing or post them to the Web…though the Web is probably better for instant gratification and potentially wide distribution, if nothing else.
As regards how I feel about my fictive writing, at this point: M doesn’t understand how an activity can be “fun” and “stressful” at the same time. I don’t know her definition of, “fun,” but it probably involves more “lightheartedness” than I ever experience.
That doesn’t explain my falling off of the practice of daily free-writing: but sometimes I just don’t want to know what’s in my head. I also have issues with adhering to routine, and internal structure. Somewhat paradoxically, I have trouble doing things other than writing and reading, these days…which may be more of an obsession, than a routine. I wanted to go and beadweave today, but I wasn’t able to bring myself to “waste that time,” so I wasted it on repetitively checking various electronic devices, instead.
Well — maybe time spent in self-guided research, isn’t really wasted.
My pattern of switching output methods has been fairly constant. It goes back to my stopping Fiction writing upon graduating with my Creative Writing degree. I was too psychologically fragile to keep up my output (I suffered substantively while I was in the program, and am lucky I made it through without incident), and without the pressure of projects, grades, and deadlines, there was no reason for me to continue to try and deal with the issues it brought up.
At this point, I know that the writing is always going to be with me: it’s my primary method of mentally processing what happens in my life. But is it necessary to write a book — and then publish it? Would I not be satisfied with publishing to the Web, as versus hoping to be traditionally published (so I can gain an MFA, so I can teach Creative Writing at the University level)? Do people other than Literature and Creative Writing majors even read paper Literary Magazines?
What do I really want to do with the Writing? Do I want to become famous? Do I want to impact society in a way which helps? Do I want to help soothe people who are isolated because of who they are? Do I want to talk because I spent so many years in silence? (These questions have different answers.)
As well as being my primary method of understanding and coming to terms with my own emotional and psychic life, writing is my primary method of communicating with the outside world. It serves me both in communicating to myself and to others.
The biggest trip in this is realizing that Writing doesn’t seem to be as much of a subject, more than a method to enable expression. But what are we expressing? What am I expressing, and why am I expressing it? (Maybe this would make more sense if I were more socially engaged…)
Do we want to write about, or somehow simply illustrate by example, the “craft” of Writing itself? Or do we want to express content through the medium of writing, which content is separate from its method of delivery?
We can write a book about the disappearance of Panamanian golden frogs. We can also film a documentary about the disappearance of Panamanian golden frogs and publish it on Blu-Ray. Both of these can be in a Library at once. The golden frogs are the subject. The book or documentary, is the medium. The book about the disappearance of Panamanian golden frogs, is probably not going to focus too much on the language in which it is written. The effects of ecological change are the content: not English, not español.
Now-defunct, obvious question on focus: Am I about books (wherein I might go into Publishing?) Am I about Information dissemination regardless of format (Cataloging)? Am I about Information access (Reference)? Is the next step of Information Access going to be largely online (Digital Curation)?
Writing, in a way, appears like Librarianship: they both exist on a level above content. The topics are “meta” — and I’m not talking about Social Media. You can write about anything. You can produce materials about anything, and then put them in a library.
Library and Information Science is about locating and providing access to Information. But within many libraries (and likely nearly all Public ones), this service is independent of the actual information contained in the Library. There are materials on a panoply of topics, which is why the part of Library Science I’m into, exists at all. It is not topic-specific. It involves meta data: data describing data, which enables the identification, maintenance, and retrieval of that data (which in turn connects to information resources, unless I’m mistaken; “information,” exists one level higher than raw, “data,” and one level lower than, “knowledge,” which in turn is one level lower than “wisdom”).
Working in a Library equates (or should equate, in my view) to the organization, location, and provision of access to information. That’s the ideal, at least.
It might come off as masochistic, but I think I’m actually migrating back to Information Organization as something I can do. Something that I’ve been trained to do, and understand how to do, in a way that most people don’t — even if the material is hard enough to grasp that I don’t think I captured all of what was covered, last semester. I grasped enough of it that I can find my way around now, at least. And my education doesn’t have to stop.
Maybe it isn’t necessary to be perfect. I should know that I don’t have to be perfect at a job I don’t yet have, in order to seek that job.
I’ve been told recently that I have a tendency to teach; I hadn’t realized it, but I can see the evidence in favor of it. I guess that’s the benefit of having other people mirror back to you what they see in you? (When you know they have good intentions, at least…)
Yeah…maybe I’ll read in Metadata for Digital Collections (2nd ed.), and get back to some of these unread Library Science texts. I can also get back to my other training.
M wants me to focus on what I want to do for the rest of my life. Maybe the first exposure to the material is what is most difficult…