Holding on to your cause

Another quick one – I’m afraid I don’t have my Carnegie post yet, but it’s forthcoming!

To follow up from my last post, I’ve come to my senses re: my friend’s amazing development. As if to challenge my resolution to be positive, on Friday night I had a bit of an onslaught from some tipsy acquaintances on my choice of my career. But I know I have the answer; I’ve had it for weeks.

Personally, I need a cause to be happy. I think I see that clearly now. Whether this is a universal rule, I’m not prepared to say, but for me, having something to work towards is fundamental to my self-esteem. In reality, though, we can’t get promotions every time we feel blue about our prospects. We need to create the opportunities to feel good (opportunities like researching current trends in children’s literature prizes!)

In a sense, so long as I have a cause, something I dedicate my hard-work, my spirit and intellect to, nobody can claim I am not successful. I think I’d be happy to assure a friend the same about themselves.

Personal Professional
Finish ‘Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts’ Continue reading up on publishing careers (see UKSG)
Organise something ELSE for upcoming birthday (second friend group ;D) Complete OU Intro to Latin course

A quick jump-start

Just a quick one to keep the blog breathing – I’ll post in more detail (on children’s reading, in response to the recent Carnegie long-list) in a couple of days.

This afternoon, I had some good news from a friend – they’re moving on in the world, both physically and professionally. And whilst I’m happy for them, I can’t help but feel anxious – as per, I’m beginning to look down on myself.

In the spirit of my last post, however, I’ve contacted Aberystwyth. Next week is the conference, and I’m getting through my readings for the week (the weekend trip to Belfast has forced me to carry some targets over – researching publishing and finishing one of my books). I have to believe I can get where I want, no matter what challenges I need to rise to.

Let’s get to it.

Old books are cool!

A quick update following my last post, and particularly relevant to this week’s professional targets:

This morning I was feeling a little blue about my career (the almost obligatory ‘What’s going to happen?’ scenario of all 20-somethings). I haven’t heard back from a job application I made down in Cambridge, and felt pretty deflated. So… what did I do?

Following a brief mope on the train to work, I walked into our library with a revived determination to find some means of inching a little closer to my ultimate goal, to become a Rare Books Librarian. I’ve booked onto an upcoming conference in Senate House Library, London (a beautiful place, and my old university library!) which I’d previously been unsure about booking the time off for (see here: http://www.senatehouselibrary.ac.uk/blog/radical-collections-radicalism-and-libraries-and-archives-cfp). On top of this, I’ve found two really interesting CPD modules offered by Aberystwyth University (see here: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/dis/short-courses/#our-courses) which will supplement my more general librarianship MA and hopefully give me an edge in future applications. They’re pricey, at £450 each, but that’s currently just over two months’ savings, after my house savings – doable, I’m certain!

I know what I want – I just need to go for it. #Oldbooksarecool.

Family fun

My post is a day late again – on top of that, I didn’t manage my professional tasks this week. It’s been a lousy weekend, but at least I finished my two books, and will be nursing (read: nibbling) a lovely carrot cake for the remainder of this week.

I’ll be doing the unforgivable and recycling my two professional targets for next week – nobody is infallible. I do, however, have a reason for falling short of the mark, the details of which I won’t bore you with. Suffice it to say, ‘family’.

Falling out with relatives is a strange problem to tackle. When we’re young, and restricted by our little, domestic universes, it’s easy to fight with impunity – whether we like it or not we’ll be reconciled, ultimately, by the simple force of our cohabitation. On the other hand, as we age, that certainty becomes less resilient.

Family are important, and we don’t choose them – but we do choose how we manage our relationships with them. The reality is that a family member is just as human as anyone you cross on the street, and that means they can be just as bad for you.

In the spirit of ‘taking control’ (not in any way a Trumpism, I promise) I’m taking a step back from a small set of relationships which have caused me some deceptively potent grief over the past several months. This is difficult, not least due to the enormous, engraved platitude plastered across our everyday media, embedded in our culture as human beings, that ‘family comes first’. But I have decided, once again, to be strong, to be fair, to be considerate, but above all to look after myself. Is that selfishness?


Personal Professional
Finish either ‘You Could Look It Up’ or ‘Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts’ Continue reading up on publishing careers
Organise something for upcoming birthday Research archival/special collections opportunities (events, courses etc.)

“Nice people made the best Nazis”

It’s a worn cliché, I know, but in recent days it really has begun to feel like the world has hit a new low – has gone mad, even.

In one sense, it’s easy to resign oneself to it, to abandon the awkward game like a bad piece of stitching and toss it away.  To make a contribution, to do anything political in 2017 feels dangerous – it requires far more delicacy than most have. And the price you pay for a missed step? Well, that’s up for debate, I suppose. Judging by the tumult of angry, sleepless voices streaming through the internet, day and night, few people actually care about how they seem; they simply want to be heard. But sometimes I worry I’m a believer, no matter how anxious it makes me to think so, that opinions mark a person, and often not for the better.

I try, therefore, to be quiet when Trump, the EU or benefit cuts sidle into the room, awkward and embarrassing, like an overactive, oversized puppy in one’s care. But to be quiet, to avoid the dread of those oncoming explosions, always hot on the heels of opinionated voices, is no longer the safe man’s position. I read the other day that “nice people made the best Nazis” – if this is true, we all have a lot of thinking to do about how we spend our days. Is to be “nice”, in actual fact, to be “complicit?” Because if so, I need to re-evaluate my stance on, well, everything…


NB: On another note, ‘The Tenant’ was another brilliant work – I’ll discuss it in this coming week.

Personal Professional
Finish both ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Lolita’. Continue reading up on publishing careers
Bake two new types of cake! Research archival/special collections volunteering opportunities