Not trying to toot my own horn here (well, maybe a little), but despite growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where you had to be able to speak the loudest in order to be heard and master a mean “screw face” if someone gave you some ‘tude, I think I’m one of the most even keeled, even tempered people around. But recently, I’ve just wanted to beat some people down; I'm talking about giving ‘em a good old fashioned pick a switch from off a tree ass whupping, a humiliating Singapore public caning. My work stress has been dominating my writing, so I haven’t really been able to get in that right mental space. (Scroll down and you’ll notice I haven’t had a blog entry in some time.) I can’t go into any detail about the professional strife right now, but when I’m able to, it’ll probably be enough to qualify for my third book.
Anyway, I had to pay a little trip to downtown LA. Though I live in Hollywood - all of a ten minute drive to downtown – I hardly ever seem to make it there. First, parking is a bee-yatch. Second, come sundown, there are way too many areas that seem to morph into the setting for the “Thriller” video. I mean the freaks truly come out in full force. But, I had a bit of business to tend to. I had my laptop with me, and like I said, since writing hadn’t been going so well, I decided maybe a change of scenery… being in the studious confines of the Central library…would rub off. Besides, it’s such a beautiful building architecturally, I figured, that in itself could be inspiring. And then I remembered that a friend had recently gone there to check my book out, but when he got there, found it had already been checked out. (YAY!) But I started thinking, why did he check it out; why not help a sistuh’s sales and just order the thing from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. (BOO!) But then I figured, since that one little copy of my book is crammed onto a shelf among thousands of others, it needed to get some exercise and not sit there all lonely and neglected, so YAY again.
So, I did a computer search for “The Cricket’s Serenade," found out where it was located, took the escalator up to the third floor – literature – fiction – skimmed the section with author’s last names “B,” laid eyes on the prize and grabbed it up. The funny thing is, when I first took it off the shelf, as people passed by me in the aisle, I kept turning away from them, as if they were all aware I was the author and wondering why I was checking out my own book. But then, I decided, let them feast their peepers on my beautiful baby, and I started holding it out at a very unnatural angle, as if I was one of "The Price Is Right" models trying to bring attention to the item up for bid.
I have to say, it is inspiring seeing something you created on the shelves of LA’s main library. I would love to know how much action it’s gotten, but since they no longer have those little pockets in the front of books that hold those cards they would stamp with the check-out and due back date, I have no way of telling how often my book has taken a trip away from those cramped shelves. It is located very close to “The Exorcist” (Blatty, William Peter and Blythe, Carolita – having the first couple of letters of the last names in common) – which I figure is a good thing – since I’m sure that one gets its share of action. Who’s to say that a few people, while scanning the shelves for a dark, demonic story of a little girl possessed by the devil, haven’t stumbled first across my book about unrequited love set against the backdrop of race and class difference in a politically turbulent Jamaica and changed their minds, checking out mine instead? It’s a stretch, but so what! I’m going to consider moving it right next to Mr. Blatty’s famous work to increase the chances of that happening…once my book is returned of course. That’s right, I’m checking it out – helping it register on whatever list the library uses to keep track of how each item traffics. I wonder what the woman at the check-out counter will think when she swipes my card and scans the book and notices some similar information. Hell, who am I kidding, I’m willing to take bets as to whether she would even notice if I was green and had a third eye.
But the library has done its job in some ways; it’s inspired a blog entry from me for the first time in weeks. And, it’s given me a little sunshine on a bit of a personally cloudy day.