Monday, October 24, 2011

Yes, I'm still here!

Sorry I haven't been better at posting my book reviews. Folks, there is just so much going on right now, I don't know where to start. Um, well, let's start with the fact that I've been sick for the last week with what I've affectionately named "the crud". I'm sure it's just a head cold, but it's laid me out - lots of nose-blowing, throat-clearing, bones-aching yuckiness. I doubt it's the flu, as everything I've ever read or heard says you usually run a good fever with the flu but do not have a lot of mucous. Mucous? Oh yeah, got that in abundance. So a cold it is. I finally broke down and went to a local pharmacy for "real" medicine - you know, the stuff that now requires you to produce ID and be entered into the system lest you have plans to produce meth with your paltry purchase - and that seems to be doing the trick. I finally feel somewhat human again and even plan to go to work today. Yippee!

One of the other reasons I haven't been around is work. There are major, major changes going on in my library system, and none of them are "good" in the sense of making anyone happy. Our two-county regional library system is being forced to disband, leaving us as single county entities. Sounds simple but trust me when I tell you that, just as in a normal human divorce, there are a multitude of details that need to be worked out. We have patrons who use branches in both counties, and yes, they are worried that they will suffer when the split is final. We worry too, as we have no idea at this point what will still be available, what will be off-limits, what will cost and how much, etc.

In addition to the dissolution of our regional system, the county I work in slashed our budget and eliminated about 3 full-time positions and 5 part-time positions. Thankfully no one actually lost a job, as those positions were unfilled at the time - but they are still gone for good. The director had to do some fancy footwork, cutting back on branch hours and shifting around staff, so try to keep the system up and running. Some of it is working and some isn't. Then the rug was pulled out from under our feet: a supervisor responsible for two of the busiest branches gave notice, and now everything is up in the air again. Chances are good that someone will be moved into that position as we have a "spare" supervisor at the moment (one that has a branch but doesn't really have a staff), but that person may not be the one who is moved. It's really been a nightmare, and if I can be totally honest here, I don't think this will be the last of the resignations. People are frustrated and unhappy, and even with the unemployment rate still as high as it is, staff are obviously starting to consider their options. And we've all been told to expect more budget cuts for the next fiscal year, and to expect them to be deep. Who wouldn't be looking, when it's pretty much been telegraphed to each and every employee that there will be layoffs next summer?

Enough bad news? OK, let me share with you the last reason I've been MIA. I have a small contract job proofing manuscripts for an e-publisher! Yes, I'm finally getting to see the other side of the fence, and I have to say, it's very, very interesting. No, this is in no way will take the place of my "day job"; I love the work, but as this is a new publisher, the pay isn't much, certainly not enough to make it my one and only job. I am certainly learning a lot, though, and if I do someday decide to try my own hand at authorship, I will have had a wonderful tutorial in how to write, what to do, what not to do, etc. Just this morning I learned about "filtering", a phenomenon I have encountered but never really thought about. It's the art of actually distancing your character from the reader through certain words and phrases, such as "She watched the cars drive by. She wondered if she could cross the road in time." The article suggests taking out the filters such as "she watched" and "she wondered" and rewriting it to make the action more direct, which in turn better connects the reader with the character. Yep, how cool is that? I'm looking forward to my next read - I know I'll be on the lookout for this now!

And with that, dear readers, I must leave you. It's just about time for breakfast and the usual morning work routine, and since I am feeling much better today, I will be heading off to the salt mines. Have a great day!

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