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Today marks one year since my library first closed for the pandemic. We’d been working toward it for some time, cancelling in-person programs, ramping up our cleaning, and so on. My last day of work before the closure was Saturday, March 14th. I’d been planning to attend the last library event, a used book sale at my old location, that was scheduled for the 15th. I remember texting one of my friends who would always go with us, telling her that we had changed our plans and wouldn’t be going in that Sunday after all. Instead, I started a re-watch of the extended cut of The Fellowship of the Ring, with the intention of getting maybe a few days off while the country rallied.

Six weeks or so later, we came back to our building. We started putting things back together, getting ready to serve patrons via curbside service. We were using our makerspaces to produce masks and other pieces of personal protective equipment. We were installing barriers at staff areas, prepping cleaning supplies, and cordoning off areas that would be for staff-use only. After a month and a half or so, we started allowing patrons back into the building, albeit on a limited basis. Since then, we’ve updated our curbside procedures (and found a far better workflow thanks to our park & text system). We’ve closed and reopened our collection for browsing as local numbers spiked and dropped. We’ve slowly started to allow more access to library services other than checkouts and computers.

It’s too slow for most of the patrons’ feelings on the matter, and too fast for the comfort of many of my coworkers. Some people have quit rather than deal with the stress and uncertainty of the constantly shifting conditions. Many others have been trained to do tasks that were never supposed to be part of their job. It has been exhausting. We’re doing everything within reason to keep pace with patron demands, but it’s all a lot of change in a very short period of time. We’re still not doing in-person programs. Between that and the shift to online learning at local schools, I have only seen a handful of my regular teen patrons within the last year. By the time they’re coming back to the building, they may have aged out of the teen section. There are some that I may never see again, due to moving out of town (or just to the other side of the city) in the middle of the pandemic.

It hasn’t all been bad, mind you. My youngest child is walking and talking, and I’ve gotten to spend way more time at home than I would’ve otherwise. I’m making solid progress on my master’s degree. I got to build a new computer for myself (my first ever attempt at building a PC), and then one for V as well. I’m getting pretty good at it, really. I’ve ramped up my home bartending skills, adding a dozen or so new cocktails to my repertoire. We started a small backyard garden, and are still getting use out of the veggies from it. I started to listen to more audiobooks, since my ability to concentrate on non-academic reading was kind of shot. I kept up my weekly running (15 – 18 miles per week on the elliptical, or now 90 minutes per week on the treadmill), getting myself into better shape than I’d been in some time. And, thanks to work, I’ve gotten my first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Life looks a lot different on this side of 2020, and I can’t say that it’s what I was expecting a year ago. Regardless, I’m still here, and still pushing forward. Here’s to better days ahead.

Good morning, internet. This morning, I received a notification that I first started this blog just over ten years ago. That’s a hell of a long time to be writing a bunch of stuff mostly to myself, but here I am, one decade on. Life has changed a great deal since 2011. I’m still writing, albeit less frequently for creative purposes than I would like. I have a little family of my own, and I’m making progress in my career. I’m about to start year two of my Master’s degree, and I hope to carve out a little more time for writing for fun after that wraps up.

In the meantime, I’d just like to say thanks to those of you who’ve been around since the beginning of this, and welcome to those of you who are new.

“Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear.”

Eight years ago, I started out on a writing journey. Some of you have been here ever since, and I can’t thank you enough for your support and encouragement.

Reading through some of my old posts from January 2011, though, I’m seeing a lot of projects that I hinted at that have yet to come to fruition. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t kind of depressing. On the flip side of that, though, I see some of my notes, and I remember who some of the characters were, and how they came to be. It’s a bit on the inspirational side.

lot of the old writing is kinda cringe-worthy, though. I’ll leave it in place, because it’s a sign of my growth and development as a person. I hope to continue to change for the better.

Thanks.

I missed my blog anniversary last month, and while this is a milestone I usually like to celebrate, this year on January 20th, I was a bit preoccupied.

I’m a month in to my new position with the library, and I could not be happier. I feel like I’m making a really positive impact on my teen patrons here, though I really miss my old group. I’m gearing up for my first book club meeting, and we’re reading Neil Shusterman’s Unwind (meanwhile, I’m tackling his new title, Scythe, for my own sheer joy). I’m helping plan programs and events for Teen Tech Week in March, putting together bulletin boards and book displays for the teen area, etc. It’s been great!

Plus, you know, there was this whole wedding thing that happened last week. So, V and I finally got married. It’s been officially in the works since August, when I finally proposed to the girl who’s been my closest friend for over a decade.

I’m working on more book reviews, I promise. There are so many coming out soon! I just finished reading M-E Girard’s Girl Mans Up, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Plus a follow-up to my review of The City Stained Red when I review the sequel, The Mortal Tally (because the final book, God’s Last Breath, is out in July). And A Conjuring of Light is out in two weeks! So many good books lately, I’ve barely been able to keep up.

Anyway, thanks for sticking around for so much of the last six years. I’ll try to get the anniversary post in on time next year.

Five years ago, I was a vastly different person.

Library Pirate

Okay, maybe not that different.

Five years ago, I hadn’t started in my current job. I was almost a year out of college, working part-time at Borders, and hoping desperately for a second job, because it was almost time to start repaying my student loans. Plus, rent, food, and other things that are sort of critical to life.

Borders was fun, but ended up being a dead end. The company went under less than a year after I started there. Even now, attempting to access their website redirects you to Barnes & Noble, once their chief competitor. I don’t regret it. I had some incredible experiences, and I learned why I hate working in a corporate retail environment (support your local indie bookshops, folks).

Since I was only working part-time, I needed some way to fill the void in my days. I’d always said that I wanted to write, and I’d been toying around with an idea for a novel. Someone I knew had recently started a blog of her own, and I decided it sounded like a fun experiment. I thought it would give me a place to brainstorm while leaving myself a little more open to the views of others.

Five years ago today, I published my first post on this site. I know this because wordpress showed me a little trophy icon and wished me a happy anniversary when I signed in today. Looking back now, I find it really hard to believe how quickly those five years flew by. It really was all me talking to myself in the first few months. Eventually, I started to find like-minded people. People like Sonia introduced me to monthly and weekly writing challenges, and I started to craft new microfiction pieces. My earliest posted one is here. Later, I’d add challenges by the folks at the sadly defunct Trifecta and the fiercely entertaining Chuck Wendig. I started to grow.

I got my first job at my library, a foot in the door. I met incredible people, and traveled to amazing places. I inspired others to start writing as well. I’ve developed a much better grasp of my own style. I’ve attemtped NaNoWriMo.

 

Now, five years later on, I’m still very much me, but I’m a better version of me. To those of you who are still here, thanks for sticking around. For those of you who are new, welcome. Let’s see what the next five years will hold for us all.

It’s August 12th. Eight years ago today, I attended orientation at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and made one of the biggest decisions of my life. Eight years ago, I decided to move to Colorado Springs. I’m going to come right out and say that my life would not be anywhere nearly as amazing if I hadn’t. Eight years ago, I met people who have stayed by my side through four years of college and four more years of whatever this beautiful mess I call my life. I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me. The people that I’ve been close to over the last eight years have made me who I am today, and I love you all.

“Farewell”
Trifecta.
A wager once,
Now a confluence,
Defined by writers who
Gather to share their stories
With like-minded others and learn
To express themselves, leaving each one
Vulnerable, but stronger. Thanks, and farewell.

 

This piece is my entry for the final Trifecta Writing Challenge, and as per our prompt, is a 33-word free write. I would like to thank everyone who has come to visit my blog since I started the Trifecta entries exactly one year ago today. It’s been a hell of a year. You are all absolutely incredible people, and I hope that we manage to keep in touch with each other even after our weekly writing assignments are no more. Particular thanks must, as almost always, go to V. Without her, I never would’ve discovered the joys of these challenges. It’s a very bittersweet day indeed. I like to think that I’ve grown a great deal as a writer since I started participating in Trifecta, and it’s all thanks to you, dear readers, fellow Trifectans. Thank you. I’ll see you around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s my third anniversary with WordPress. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working on this blog for the last three years, but here we are. It’s been fascinating to see the evolution of my writing over the course of those three years. I’m feeling more confident in my writing now than ever before, and it’s all thanks to you amazing readers. Those of you who’ve been around since the beginning? Thank you for continuing to believe in me. Those of you who are new? Welcome, and thank you for letting me share a bit of the crazy in my head with you. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

The Swords of The Ancients is two years old today! Two years ago, I started this blog to help facilitate the crafting of my first novel. Since then, I’ve written upwards of 30,000 words toward that goal and developed my main characters considerably. I’m nowhere near where I would like to be in terms of progress on this particular project, but I’ve found that through various connections I’ve made since beginning this blog, I’ve found a great deal of inspiration. I thank you all, my wonderful readers. While I’d probably still continue this just for my own sake, it’s nice to know that you’re here.

It’s time for some intense reading. We started the Winter Reading Program at my library a few days ago, and so the challenge is to make it through eight books over the course of eight weeks. I’ve already knocked out a book on the making of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’m reading a bunch of the collected editions of DC’s New 52, but I’m trying to avoid counting those toward my eight, just for the sake of getting caught up on my backlog of books. I am almost two hundred pages through The Casual Vacancy right now, and I’m really enjoying it. A full review will follow as soon as I finish. I’m going to try to get through some classic fantasy pieces now as well, such as The King of Elfland’s Daughter and The Worm Ouroboros, both of which have been recommended by V. I’ve also added The Well at the World’s End to my to-read list, since it served as an inspiration to Tolkien. There’s a few books I’ve been suggesting to patrons at work at the library recently, and so I’m considering tossing some rereading in as well, with Dune at the top of that list. So many books… Goodreads has been very beneficial in keeping track of them. If you’re a reader and you don’t have a goodreads account, I would highly recommend setting one up. It’s free, and it’s a great way to track what you’re reading, what you have read, and what you want to read, plus being able to rate and review books you’ve read.

I’m going to let you go for now, dear readers. I owe you some new stories, after all. I’ve been issued a challenge by Chuck Wendig. 1000 word flash fiction based on photos of some absolutely incredible and surreal real world locations. Feel free to take part. Entries are due by the 25th.

Excelsior!
(Note to self: Create a catchphrase that’s better than Stan “The Man” Lee’s)