In a similar vein, what do I miss about being a writer? A strange sound that I can't quite decipher.
When people would ask that inevitable question, "What do you do?", and I would answer, "I'm a writer," invariably, I would get this reaction: "Ooooo..." Their eyes would go wide, their lips would form an O, and out would come a sing-song sound of amazement. I don't know why this was. I don't know what it meant. But it would always happen!
Except in New York. No one "Oooos" over anyone's work in New York, and certainly not over writers. Writers in New York are more common than tourists in Times Square, or rats on the subway tracks.
But everywhere else, when I said I was a writer, I would get this "Oooo..." response.
Who would have known I would miss it?
I do miss writing professionally. I miss the writing life. When Allan and I talk about his next book project, about his research and his process, I miss it. A lot.
At the same time, I'm very aware that what I'm missing had become quite rare in my life. I'm missing when it was going well: when I was working on absorbing assignments that paid decently and would be published and distributed. And if that had been a more common occurrence, I would have stayed with my original intent for library school: a job as a part-time librarian, to replace my day-job, while I continued my (part-time) writing life.
But that wasn't the case. Good writing jobs had become far too scarce, and I got excited about librarianship, and so it goes.
But who would have guessed how I would miss the sound of that "Ooooo..."! It's the silliest thing, especially since I don't even know what they were Ooooing about, what romantic misconception about writing was at work there. But it was fun. I'd say I was a writer, the other person would Oooo, and it gave me a little buzz.
So how do people react when I say I'm a librarian?
They either reply with a tight little, "Oh, that's interesting," kind of like you would say, "What's that smell?" Or else they say one of these seven things, collected (with GIFs) by Ellyssa Kroski, the iLibrarian blogger (and Director of IT at the New York Law Institute).
1) “Do people still even go to the library now that there’s Google?”Click through to read the other four. I've been working as a librarian for only 14 months and I've heard all of these multiple times.
It’s amazing how many people respond this way when I tell them I’m a librarian. I assure them however, that we are somehow soldiering on in the library field, along with all of the doctors who are still attempting to stay relevant in spite of WebMD.
2) “So, are you like, a volunteer?” Usually followed up with “What? You need to have a Master’s degree to be a librarian?!!”
Nearly everyone I’ve ever met has been astounded that librarians hold advanced degrees.
3) “But isn’t print dead at this point?”
Yes, this is still a thing people are saying.