Must I contemplate whether my lack of active writing contributes to my doldrums? I believe so. I have been wallowing in stagnancy recently. This question, as all important questions do to me, flashed in my heart and felt right. Really right.
What do I know about writing? The naked truth is this: More than music, more than family, more than verbal expressions of my faith, my writing gives me succor. I know I’m neither an expert nor do I appeal to all people in my craft; however, I feel better when I write. I feel more alive, more vivid, more animated, more valuable. In writing, like in visual art, my written craft is permanent-ish. As one who had paintings burn during a gallery exhibit limited to my work along, I can say firsthand that this is not always the case. First-person, first-hand. Without writing, I am arid and desolate. The blank page is my canvas. I simply color it my way. Yes, I’m still at the level of scrawled crayons and fingerpaints, but I will continue on my path toward fulfillment and excellence.
My dream? To know that I can sit in my studio and write all day long without financial worries, family concerns, social obligations. To say, without fear of repercussions, exactly what is on my mind and in my heart to say. This alone would be a huge change for me.
Perhaps, once before I die, I will have written something truly satisfying and delicious; something I can dreamily savor until the books of the Akashic Record are my library.
I lost a friend today. Not just any friend, but a dynamically important friend. He actually died in early November, but no one called us, his family, to let us know. We found out yesterday. Richard and I have been friends since the early 1970s. We have been “sistuhs” since coming up in the discos during the era of polyester, thumping bass, and champagne splits at gay bars around Sacramento and San Jose. I will miss my friend for so many reasons. Our history is long and always loving.
What makes this so much more difficult is that the series of losses in the last few years of life-long family/friends closest to me, David, Mark, Joe, Miriam, and now Richard, is increasing. These are people that are my brothers and sisters, whether by birth or love. I’ve been so graced to have so many to call my dearest friends in life. Of the friends with whom I’ve stayed consistently close to for more than 35 years, only five remain, Margaret, David, Jeff, Sharon, and Shirley.
My more recent friends, and by that I mean people with whom I’ve been close for 12 to 20 years or more, like Cathy, Sandy, Jeff K., and others are just as vital to my emotional and spiritual well-being. These oldest friends, though, are important in a different way, because now that my family of origin, the three others in the Floyd Glica family, are gone, these friends are the only ones with whom I can share our memories nearly as closely as family. Even my siblings by birth have not known me as long as my oldest friends.
The road grows more challenging without these comrades by my side where I can hear their advice, see their smiles, or hug their warm souls in person. Sometimes, I feel like I will be like my 92-year-old Aunt Mary who talks about being the last one of her friends to remain here to remember. In my selfishness, I don’t want to be the last one standing. The pain, I think, would be unbearable.
I will miss my beloved family and friends forever.
There are few things in this world that touch me more personally than hearing about the possibility of a library closing, especially in a town that I love so much as Woodland. The shock I felt at hearing the Woodland Public Library might die was devastating.
My mother was a librarian, not only by vocation but by avocation. Books, to her, were a refuge. When she would read, it was nearly impossible to talk with her because she would be so lost in her story. She taught me to love books as well, as is in evidence on the shelves that line my office.
When she died, I cried the day a plaque in her honor went up on the Dunsmuir Library wall. It was beautiful, not only because my mother was recognized for her years of service, but because it was in her library where she loved going.
Woodland, California, is a wonderful town in which I spend a great deal of time. As the consulting music director for the Woodland Opera House, steps away from the Woodland Public Library, I understand the value of history, both my own and of incredible places like the Opera House and the public library.
Since the threat to this amazing source of education, literature, and enlightenment has burgeoned, everyone has learned that this facility has operated without exception since 1891 with a minimum of 40 1/2 hours per week of service, even through the Great Depression. This remarkable truth is significant because no other library in California can claim that tenacity. It was the citizens of Woodland who made that happen for these nearly 120 years.
We know, too, that it is the oldest Carnegie Library in California continuously operated as a public library. What does that mean?
A library was granted money by Scottish-American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, of Carnegie Hall and Carnegie Steel (U.S. Steel) fame, if the library adhered to the Carnegie formula. This formula included very specific criteria, including that the city must:
- demonstrate a need for a public library;
- provide the building site;
- annually provide ten percent of the library’s construction to support its operation; and
- provide free service to all.
Woodland has been accomplishing this feat since Carnegie’s first grant was given to Woodland in 1903. Now, however, the collection of more than 100,000 books and other materials, valued at $5 million is at risk of going the way of the dinosaurs.
This is my greatest fear. With the advent of mass media, including television, movies, and the internet, we are seeing the relinquishment of our reading skills, and more importantly our love of reading, through neglect. Sadly, the closure of Woodland Public Library may be a reflection of our developing patterns of literary neglect in the United States.
Citizens of Woodland have an option, though. This coming Tuesday, June 8, 2010, residents will be able to vote on two measure to keep the library open. A Yes on S vote in tandem with a Yes on V vote will provide the action necessary to save our beloved library.
Yes, it’s a sales tax, but it’s a mere quarter per one hundred dollars. A quarter. 25¢. In this age of financial woes, it’s understandable that some may have their questions whether there should be another tax.
The real question is, to save those 25 cents, are the wonderful people of Woodland unable to help the library avoid:
- cutting the adult literacy program by 42 percent, displacing it from its current location?
- allowing their children to have their 7,200 homework assistance requests unanswered?
- shutting the door on the 800-1,000 daily visitors?
- discontinuing the 31,000 opportunities the community is provided to use the library computers?
- turning away from the library doors over half the population of Woodland who hold the 29,240 library cards ?
- not being available to serve the 5,000 attendees at 175 different library programs?
My brother was born in Woodland. I have felt like an honored guest here for over 12 years. This is my second home. I feel an obligation to speak up about this possibly sad end to a dynamic and honored institution.
On election day, please Vote Yes on S and Vote Yes on V to save the Woodland Public Library.
Honestly, it’s a quarter. Our community’s education is worth so much more than that.
Thank you for sharing your voice on June 8 in support of the Woodland Public Library.
Author’s Note: Since the first posting of this blog, I have been notified that another Carnegie Library in Port Angeles, Washington, as well as my mother’s library in Dunsmuir, California, are also facing the same threat as the Woodland Public Library. It’s not a good day.
(2010) Friends to Friends, Woodland Public Library.
(2010) Retrieved from http://www.carnegie-libraries.org/
(2010) Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_library
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