Monday, October 6, 2008

For the Love of Research

Okay, so I've been trying to add some new features to my blog, and it just ain't workin'. So, my lovely friend Carolyn suggested maybe posting something to see if that will kick my blog into active gear and get the new features to pop up. So here you go :D

While going through my files the other day, I came across a little essay I wrote for a non-fiction creative writing class in grad school. I can't remember the exact assignment, but I believe we were supposed to describe an object we loved, or a place or something that we loved...or something like that :D Anyhow, I had forgotten how much I liked this piece. This is what I came up with:

I walk in, take a deep breath, and immediately relax in the comforting quiet. My eyes scan the familiar surroundings for the aisle I need and I begin to wander. Every now and then I’ll stop, take a volume off the bookshelf, and leaf through the pages. The unmistakable smell of “book” rises up to meet me. It’s unique, a musty mixture of ink and stale paper. I make sure the volume I’m holding contains what I may need; then I move on. My excitement builds as I discover each new text. Sometimes I get lost in the passages I find. Time slows as I stand sandwiched between narrow shelves, trying to juggle the books I’m holding and the book I’m reading. Occasionally I give up and just sit on the floor, the chosen work in my lap. I stop only when another patron drifts by, subtly clearing their throat to get my attention. I fill my arms with as many books as I can carry and find a nice, quiet spot to begin my search.

I’ve been told I’m unusual. One professor once told me that most people, historians included, hate to do research. Well, I must admit that I’ve never been accused of being normal. I grew up watching my confused mother shake her head while I sat in a corner, encyclopedias spread all around me.

“What are you doing?” she’d ask.
“Reading,” I’d reply, without looking up. She’d shrug and leave me to my paradise.

I love to research. I love to open dozens of books and search out facts about long ago people and places. I love to take those facts and sit at my computer, combining them into a fascinating arrangement of dates and details. I love to hand the finished project to the nearest (probably unfortunate in their minds) person and watch them learn. Every now and then I’ll run into another “mysterious” creature such as myself. And then…oh what fun we have!


Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I love the pictures in this post? Are you the little girl in the picture? And I love the smell of books too, that is except for the occasional one from the library that reeks of cigarette smoke - those are yuck.

TerriRainer said...

LOVE the smell of old books!

I also used to peruse the encylopedias and I remember reading all of the Reader's Digest Young Adult biographies before I was a teen.

Funny thing is, I hated history in school!

Go figure.

:) Terri