Blather · Life · poetry

Research

The following blather is brought to you by “Stream of Consciousness Saturday.” This is the day of the week I give myself permission to write more than 23 words.

Last Saturday, I promised a reverse poem (one that can be read top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top). Good golly, I stared at my scribbles too long. And then, came up with a reverse poem that’s too short and a little awkward. But, oh well. Here you go:

History is boring
Some people actually think that
All those dates and foreign-sounding names matter
And eccentric people worm their way into
Those stories where the world changes
I find history fascinating

Meh — not the best, but I’m going to check the “Done” box and move on.

I spent a few hours yesterday in the research library.

I wrote a post called The Negative Split not too long ago. I think I research in negative-split mode.

I got to the library a few minutes after my scheduled appointment. (Yes, we have to schedule appointments at the research library now. And wear masks.)

I had given myself two hours. For the first 45 minutes or so, I leafed through photographs, not really finding anything I wanted. Or maybe I did. A few new names, therefore a few new rabbit trails. (Side-question for you: What could the nickname “Dell” be short for, for a man in the late 1800s or early 1900s?)

The librarian left to find a few more boxes for me. I feel a little bad. She’s new on the job, and I kept saying Joe (the former librarian) did this or brought me that. Comparison to a predecessor has to be the worst.

Anyway, she brought me some boxes that Joe had never brought me. Suddenly I was lost in old correspondence and organizational reports. I looked at the clock and saw that I had been there well over my two hours.

“Let me just look at one more thing,” I said to the librarian. I was in my groove — researching faster and stronger than I had been at the beginning.

“Do you think you have a photograph of this?” I asked her about a specific place in town. She started hunting.

I kept reading.

And searching.

And wishing time would just stop long enough that I could pursue these many lines of inquiry.

I snapped a photo of a bit of correspondence because it had made me laugh out loud in the quiet of the library.

“Yours till Pancakes are a thing of the past.”

I could have spent the next three weeks looking for the pancake story that inspired that closing sentiment, but I’ll almost bet it’s an inside joke between two men that I will never know. Plus, it was way past time for me to go.

But if I had those three weeks to spend, who knows what other little stories I would have uncovered?

And I would have had great fun doing it.

You can count on it.

23 words · Writing

Hyphenated

I-know-I’m-cheating
My-word-count-says-that-I-wrote-one-word-in-that-first-line
ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha (<—-that’s-me-laughing-maniacally-because-I-figured-out-a-way-to-cheat-this-stupid-self
-imposed-23-word-limit)
But-who-am-I-really-cheating?
It’s-not-like-I’m-cheating-on-my-taxes-or-something
By-not-strictly-adhering-to-a-challenging-word-count-I’m-not-hurting-anybody
Except-maybe-myself
When-I-coached-swimming-I-used-to-have-the-tattletale-swimmers-come-tell-on-the-swimmers-who-didn’t-complete-the-full-set
“COACH!”-they-would-say-“SHE-ONLY-DID-EIGHT-FIFTIES-INSTEAD-OF-THE-TEN-FIFTIES-YOU-WROTE-ON-THE-BOARD”
And-I-would-reply-“She’s-only-cheating-herself”
Which-is-exactly-what-I’m-doing-here
And-here’s-the-really-sad-truth
It’s-almost-as-hard-or-maybe-even-harder-to-write-this-way
And-it-can’t-be-very-easy-on-you-my-dear-readers
Mentally-removing-six-gazillion-hyphens-just-to-get-the-sense-of-this
Or-maybe-you-get-used-to-it-after-a-while
My-advice-to-you-is-this:
Don’t-cheat
Don’t-overuse-hyphenated-words
Anddon’tdobigrunonwordseither
Love-your-reader-as-my-writing-instructor-used-to-say-and-make-your-writing-easy-and-enjoyable-to-read