Writing From the Public Library

Write About Anything You Want

I am at the public library. I am here for more reasons than checking out a book. My internet is down at home and my computer is acting up and I’ve been wanting to publish a few posts. The library is the perfect solution with one exception-this is not your typical library, not by a long shot! It’s very, very, noisy here.

I am at the public library. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate. In order to write I have to sit at one of the public tables or use the library’s computers which limit me to one hour.

Right now, I am sitting at a table with two men. One is about sixty although he may be younger but is hidden under a huge beard. He is wearing a large hat on top of his long salt and peppered hair which is braided and hangs down over gold colored coveralls. He is never seen without these coveralls which hang over very big workboots.

I usually see him when I visit this little library. But sometimes I see him staring at me from the window of his little Ford pickup as we’re rolling past each other on the street. He always nods or says hello. He’s seems like a pleasant man although he looks gruff. His name is John. I know this because I hear the other patrons call him by his first name. John uses the library chair as if it is his own recliner.

The other man is young (to me) in his thirty’s. He wears thick cokebottle glasses. He sits at this table five days a week working on his pc. I don’t mean that his computer is broken. He volunteers for the library and researches whatever they need him to. He is a quiet type rarely smiling or looking up from his computer.

It is difficult for me to focus at this table. I feel as though nothing is private.  I do not have tunnel vision and even if I had earplugs and blinders on it would be impossible for me to do any serious writing, that is-writing other than about what is happening around me. So the title of this post being what it is-to write about anything you want-is a good one. One might wonder why I don’t move. There are only two tables with outlets close enough to plug my computer into. My computer is short on battery life. The other table is full.

Our librarian and her assistants are all very friendly as with most libraries. However they are unique because they are gregarious and very entertaining. Many patrons come up to the desk to get their books ‘time stamped’ (literally stamped like they did 50 years ago) and leave with a bit of town gossip or advice. This is not done with whispers. It’s shared in big voices with no sense of privacy. When I first moved to this community and frequented the library, I thought their open policy was a bit too much; Now I think it’s charming, even though-

I am at the public library.

Coming into this small town library to  write about anything I want I can even bring Sunni, my dog with me and she is not a service dog. I can stop by the local bakery and get a bagel with coffee and bring those in with me. It’s almost like my own Starbucks in a town lacking any cafe whatsoever. Oh we have a bakery-restaurant, and a Broiler, a Mexican restaurant and a coffee drive – thru. But no Starbucks or Peets. No McDonald’s or Wendy’s. No Walmart or Target. I think now they would ruin the character of this little town.

I feel John staring in my directions so I wonder why I always look up from my keyboard. But I do.

“How are you?” He says.

“I’m ok. You?”

“You been here long?”

“About 18 months.”

“You like it here?”

“I have mixed feelings,winters…they’re too damp.”

“Where ya’ from?”

“California.”

“Gonna go back?”

“No. I think I’ll stay here awhile.”

John shakes his head in approval and sits quietly for a few more minutes.

After letting out a huge sigh, he gets up from the table and tells me and the young man to have a nice day.

Everything is different in a small town. It takes some getting used to. My earlier posts had a flavor of frustration likely due to my having been thrust into moving here before I was ready. I missed my own town of 70,000. We are all of 4,000 here.

After 18 months, I am making a fine adjustment. How can I tell? Maybe it has something to do with the public library?

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