Are Libraries Still Essential?

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Libraries are the thin red line between civilization and barbarism. – Neil Gaiman


I originally saved the Vox link, thinking that this was a fluff piece; a ridiculous headline that they easily debunked in the article. I hadn’t realized that someone had actually written in favor of getting rid of libraries in favor of Amazon bookstores/coffee shops.

I need to preface this by saying that I happen to love bookstore-slash-coffee shops. Whenever my family goes to Barnes & Noble, I find a comfortable space in the cafe and read or write. I frequently (before Howard Schultz began running for President) went to Starbucks with the specific intention to get something to eat and drink and to write. There is a comic book store that is also a coffee shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that is on my list of places to visit. I love bookstores and coffee shops, together or apart.

However, I don’t confuse them with libraries. Libraries have a whole different feel to them. They also have a different necessity to them. In fact, I’ve just come from my local library. I meet a group of people there once a month for a writing group. We’ve been getting together for about seven years, although they had been meeting prior to my joining them. I woujldn’t have met them if not for the memoir workshop that I began to attend, which not only gave me a wonderful learning environment but was also one of the important things that led me out of the darkness of my depression.

I returned two of my daughter’s books that she had finished reading, and I collected the forms to file my taxes.

In summer, I bring my kids for special programs as well as their summer reading program that includes prizes and a special celebration at the end of the summer. My older son attended a Harry Potter evening in costume and my younger kids met therapy dogs and learned some cooking techniques during two separate events. We’ve attended Olympics activities and Halloween parades. All of these activities were either free or for a nominal activity – one or two dollars.

I almost always see people using the computers, checking their email, searching for jobs, and whatever else they’re doing that they can’t do at home, either because they don’t have access to the internet or because it isn’t safe to (domestic abuse victims and the homeless).

There are several daily newspapers and hundreds of magazine subscriptions.

On my Kindle, I will often have the maximum loan of four library books. I am currently reading Timothy Egan’s The Immortal Irishman. I can hold books and sign up for programs through my Kindle.

Libraries often have local art exhibits, both from local artists working in several different mediums and school kids showing off their artistic talents from art class in school in all grade levels.

I’ve attended concerts and lectures, and will be attending a storytelling event on the first of March.

Last year, one local library had a comic book convention with activities, free items, and displays both to see and/or for sale.

I remember being a kid growing up in NYC and having the bookmobile come. What a special day that always was.

Every community needs a library.

If you don’t believe me, listen to Neil Gaiman; or to librarians.]

What was your favorite thing to do at your local library?

What was your favorite book?​

30 Days of Nano – Day 10

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Incentives

I’m going to presume that you’ve kept some of your Halloween candy from last week. We have a lot of the mini ones, so they’re pretty tiny.

Why don’t you reward every 2500 words with a mini candy bar? Or add a quarter to a jar, and see where you are at the end of November. Choose a word count and take a walk about the neighborhood or get an extra coffee.

My incentive is getting to read another chapter in my Neil Gaiman book, The View from the Cheap Seats.

What are some of the incentive you use when you want to write but need that extra push?

We’ve Got Work to Do

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Back in January, I told you about a possible Supernatural spin-off tentatively called Wayward Sisters.

We’ve (actors and fans alike) been informed a few days ago that The CW network has decided to pass on this new, dynamic series. Those of us who were excited and looking forward to a female led sci-fi/fantasy series are heartbroken.

I’m writing this to encourage you to sign the linked PETITION to try and persuade The CW executives they’ve made a mistake.

For those of you who watch Supernatural, please watch the finale tomorrow night, and tweet your support. Along with #supernatual, include the hashtag #savewaywardsisters. I know the fans, cast, and crew will appreciate it.

In addition to signing the petition, you can also send your feedback directly to The CW as recommended in the following tweet.

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When contacting officials at the network, please be polite and express why you want to see the Wayward Sisters spin-off and what it means to you and your family. My daughter and I sent out our message on Monday by email to mark.pedowitz@cwtv.com.

Thank you for your support of this wonderful and what would be a unique show on television. 

 You’re in good company:

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Obama Book Club

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As a writer, I am drawn to other writers and their processes. It is one of the main reasons that I follow pepole like Connie SchultzWil WheatonNeil Gaiman, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Another writer who I follow and get inspiration from was also recently the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

I’ve titled this based on Entertainment Weekly’s  article with a comprehensive list of Mr. Obama’s book recommendations.

Last week, he spoke to the New York Times about how reading and writing was his secret to surviving those White House years.

Beginning today, and for at least the next eight weeks, I will share one his book recommendations. I will also share if I’ve read it or if I plan to read it.

It was recently revealed that President Obama gave his oldest daughter, eighteen-year-old Malia a Kindle filled with books. I actually did this for my mother-in-law a couple of Christmases ago. It’s a wonderful gift for any avid reader. One of the books he put on it for her is The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.

That is my first book suggesetion to you.
I have not read this book, but with my introduction about writers, and this book being about a writer and writing, I thought it a perfect initial choice. I have already added it to my reading list for when I get my next Amazon gift card.

Six Degrees of Social Media

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I have come to the social media phenomenon slowly, kicking and screaming the whole way, but go I do. My first social media was Live Journal before I really knew what social media was. The only one I didn’t question was Tumblr, I think. I don’t know. Maybe it was something else. I can’t remember. I’ve always followed my friend, Andy and as the months went by and turned into years – is it really eight years since I’ve joined the online revolution?! – I’ve refined what I do with my social media. I’ve gotten rid of some, and increased my usage of others. I’ve connected some and I love Instagram more than I think I should.

While my Facebook is primarily for family and personal things, I do follow pages and in follwoing certain pages, I’ve been exposed and introduced to others and so on.

And that is how I come to you to recommend seeing the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s not typically my thing. I never read the comic  books, watched the animated shows or any of the other movies.

I followed Jared Padalecki because he’s on the CW’s Supernatural and he’s an all around good guy with a smile that is warm and inviting. I love his whole family. Whenever I’d see him or Gen or the boys on social media or in photos of conventions, it would make me smile. It would uplift my mood. I can’t explain why. It just is. All of the Supernatural cast & crew are very much like a family, and I love that and am drawn to that.

Well, he’s friends with Stephen Amell who is on Arrow, also on the CW. So I followed Stephen Amell. He spoke his mind and this got him into trouble sometimes. He’d apologize, sometimes, and this down-to-earthiness of his personality was what kept me following his Facebook.

I listened to his live chats and I loved seeing him with his daughter.

He posted the trailer to TMNT, a movie I have no interest in seeing. I watched the trailer to support Stephen’s Facebook.

I liked it.

It made me interested in something because I watched the trailer.

I watched the trailer because I follow Stephen Amell. I follow Stephen Amell because I follow Jared Padalecki. And now I actually want to see this movie.

This is how social media works.

At least how it’s supposed to.

My Top 5 Social Media Personalities
In addition to Jared and Stephen:
1. Misha Collins
2. William Shatner
3. Wil Wheaton
4. John Barrowman
5. George Takei

My Top 5 Political Pundits
1. Ezra Klein (Vox)
2. Connie Schultz
3. Chris Cilizza
4. Planned Parenthood Action
5. Chuck Todd

My Top 5 Writers
In addition to any on the other lists above:
1. Lin-Manuel Miranda
2. Danai Gurira
3. Adam Glass
4. Robert Behrens
5. Neil Gaiman

Others that I Love
1. Norman Reedus
2. Greg Nicotero
3. Kim Rhodes & Briana Buckmaster
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Quotes about Writing

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Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.

—Jim Jarmusch

Write because you have something in your soul that you want to communicate.

– Amish Tripathi

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.

– Neil Gaiman