What brings you joy

I had another interview for a post I am not at all compatible with. I am actually glad that I’m not in the running for the job. I have, in the meantime, applied for a couple of other positions, and found yet another one to apply to. They’re Support Staff positions, but that may be the level I’m at, realistically. At least so, if we look at my work experience and not at my degree: I seem to have overshot the goal.

It’s just extremely obvious…in retrospect, that my advisor in the State-run employment agency I was working with, knew nothing about Libraries or Librarianship when they OK’d my vocational plan and set me up with a job in Public Libraries. The field can be Writing-adjacent, but I’m coming to see that at least with this one specific Library institution…Writing as a craft, has little to nothing to do with the job. It’s all about bringing community together. Dealing with people and social situations is not my strength, and as I’ve heard, the vast majority of the work in the job I was looking at, had to deal with people.

On top of this, most hires in that system into the specialization I’m seeking, are from their Public Services pool. When…you know, people who are assigning Catalog terms, aren’t necessarily social butterflies. And social butterflies may not be able to stand being alone long enough, to assign the Catalog terms.

In essence…I was much closer to my true form in Undergrad work, when I majored in Creative Writing. My Professors said then, that Writing was a fairly solitary occupation…and it kind of is, looking at how much time must be spent reading and writing. During which, you can’t really be talking with other people (unless you’re multitasking…or, blogging).

I’ve restarted my Writing practice — this entry is part of it, for today — and I’ve restarted reading books, which has been refreshing. Especially when reading books on how to write, and in reading anthologies, I find myself directed towards a lot of other writers: this is a way to gain hints as to what to read, next. I just found a Poets & Writers magazine issue from Sept/Oct 2021 which has reminded me that I need to be looking at my craft magazines, as well.

You may be wondering why it is that I’m writing, here. Let’s say that I got the urge to share what was going through my head. That, and the fact that my hands aren’t as limber as they used to be. Last night I was working on my 15-minute per day writing practice, and realized that it actually stresses my writing hand.

Since Fall 2021, when I took several Business and Finance classes, and filled out a full binder with my notes, I’ve been having issues with repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Back then, it affected my middle finger from choking up on my pen with a tripod grip (which I’m now aware is idiosyncratic to myself). This happened to call in pain when I shifted my middle finger slightly to the side.

From last night, the stress from writing has affected my pinky, which I use to stabilize my writing hand — especially when writing with a Fine nib. (I should re-try the little Broad nib pens I have, and see if the same issue arises.) My hand got stiff enough after printing half of an A5 page yesterday, that I needed to take a break.

Essentially, what I’m dealing with today is just a distant ache, though I can’t really tell until I try pulling my pinky away from the rest of my fingers: I must have some issue with pushing my fingers to the side.

This repetitive stress is not an issue for me, when typing. I’ve had to create ergonomic setups because I was attending online classes.

And then, if I’m going to write on a computer anyway, do I want to write for myself, or to other people? You know, once every couple weeks?


I feel relatively good from being released from the specter of having to become a Public Librarian. I have some clue as to where to go next…and, yes, there are positions in the Library world which I think I could stand. I just have to find positions which do not depend on my obviously exceptional social skill, in order to get through the day; and I’m thinking that I’ll need to work my way up into them from a Support Staff post. It also looks like I really did not need to get an MLIS (as I was told I did) to get into these positions.

Looking back on it: Undergrad — if I take it as a whole — had a much greater impact on me, than the Master’s program. I’m sure this is due in no small part, to the fact that I was dealing with distance learning in my Master’s. It also probably is related to actually being in my element, where it came to reading comprehension, and the ability to write outside an established form.

And, to be certain: when I graduated with a BA, I had spent around five years of my life in various Colleges and Universities. I couldn’t have been very old, at the time. It looks like I was around 23 or 24…so five years was close to one-fifth of my lifetime, up until that moment. In contrast, I spent two and a half years in the Master’s program…and I was 36, when I graduated. So two and a half years was close to one-fourteenth of my life at that time, if my math is right.

Putting it that way, makes things make a whole lot more sense. And at least I can assure myself that I still understand basic fractions.

Although I’ve been looking at the possibility of obtaining an MFA, there is really no sense whatsoever in doing so unless I really want to teach. I am aware that I am not really…easily goaded into teaching, except on topics that I know well and am excited about, in which case I’m told I’m a, “fountain of knowledge.” I have been looking, recently, at ads for jobs in Higher Education. I would need an MFA, or at least a track record of Publishing, to eventually become a Creative Writing Professor.

Do I want to be that, though, knowing at this point the psychological difficulties which Creative Writing can surface? And knowing the extent to which Writing can be an outlet for serious emotional disturbances?

The largest need I can see in the postsecondary, English-oriented job market, appears to be teaching English as a Foreign Language. Closely following that, is teaching what is essentially remedial English for those who have graduated high school but are not yet writing at a Freshman level.

I’m pretty sure that neither of these paths are ideal for me…though if I wanted to try teaching without going the MFA route, there’s always the possibility of running a Writer’s Group. The major issue with that is confidentiality (and safety, should the group be public, as it would be if I ran it through a Library Programming venue).

My own ability to learn “foreign languages” will help me if I want to become a Cataloger for non-English materials; or a Cataloger, generally. A good number of job ads for these positions ask for reading ability in one or more non-English languages (not limited to “Western European Languages,” as some of my earlier searches brought up).

But Cataloging in Japanese would seem to require high-level literacy in Japanese, of the type I might not be able to cultivate in the role of a Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) instructor. Unless, that is, I were teaching English in Japan (for example), and as such had solid knowledge of English and immersion in Japanese. In that case, both I and my students, would be learning — a lot.

So I’m in my little office space right now. I’ve been here since this afternoon, when I sat down to write. I have a fairly good amount of materials on Japanese language…and I think I’m going to try and give this 日本語を勉強するの事 a shot (apologies if I just butchered that; I meant to say that I want to give this thing regarding Japanese language study, a shot).

I’ve been wanting to get back to it ever since Undergrad, when I left my original University (for multiple reasons). This is along with going back to learning Computer Programming — at least Python, maybe more (depending on how much I can really understand). And reading out of books — in English — again, at the least.

And yes, I do note that all of that has to do with language learning, even though one of them relates to machines. Languages are kind of my thing, though. I did have one Professor who said that I could learn both Japanese and Spanish at the same time if I wanted to (I have experience in both).

My major reason not to study Spanish language, is…well, actually, there are a lot of them, and most of them orbit the themes of politics, power, and social control. (In other words, I specifically mean the subject matter of Sociology.) Reading in Spanish just kind of hurts, with the entire thing about everyday people just struggling to survive in postcolonial societies, and knowing how the US has historically interfered in Central and South America, in its own self-interest. I don’t think I could have gotten out of 11th-grade Spanish class, without knowing that.

If I had gotten the chance to study Japanese language in Middle School rather than Spanish or French initially, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. Maybe it’s time I indulge the drive and learn what I’ve wanted to learn for over 25 years. I could eventually put this to use as a translator: I’m sure there is great use for this in the Business world (for instance, with imported goods that need new instructions and packaging and description and explanation), though I’d rather be on the text side of things.

I should note that Creative Writing in English isn’t my primary drive, at this point…not tonight, anyway. I can’t depend on my emotional health being constant enough (constantly good enough, maybe I should specify) to guarantee stable work on my project.

I forgot that I didn’t even update you all on that…I’ve gotten back into writing offline, and within the last week, have realized exactly why I’ve had trouble with this story: an irrational belief on the part of one of my main characters that everything good already happened, and there would be no more joy to look forward to: which, if I think about it, is the general feeling I’ve been getting from society for more than the last three years.

So I’ve restarted with my characters in a different configuration, with similar themes but with a more durable character as the opener. I’ve only gotten around four pages into this draft, which I started at the end of last week. I don’t know what’s coming up, but I know that I’m an “intuitive” writer, and maybe should just try to grow things, draft by draft.

My next stop, employment-wise, is finding a Technical Support Staff job, or an entry-level Professional level job in the same department, within the area. I may want to join a couple of Associations, just in case they’re blasting local job ads there, and I don’t know about them.

In the short term, I’ll be studying Python and Japanese language, reading, and writing. Long-term…I can’t guarantee that my skill set even will still apply, by the time I get to the point of being able to become a Cataloging Technician (a nearer goal) or Metadata Librarian (a farther goal). But I can work towards it. It looks like I’ll have at least five more years before what I learned at University will become current practice…if it ever becomes reality.

It seems as though it is a much better strategy to trust myself for my career guidance, than to trust — let’s put it this way — the State. I may have an Undergraduate degree that doesn’t directly flow into a job, but it flung me out on a course which was more “right” for my constitution than I think I could have identified, up until now.

So I have a number of things to juggle:

  1. Job Search and Applications
  2. Learning Programming
  3. Learning Japanese language
  4. Reading (not just the Web)
  5. Writing (and Editing)

That seems to be about, it. I am thinking you may notice that I have drawn back from Editing as a vocation. This may be temporary, but I had to do it for the sake of generativity. When I was focused on Editing over Writing, it became much more difficult for me to write (and have anybody read it).

That was my cue to edge up off of the practice for the moment.

If I’m following my joy, it’s leading me to learn new things, invest in my strengths, and restore old hopes — as versus trying to be good at inhabiting someone else’s life…

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