For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
December 12, 2001 - I Dreamt Last Night That I Flew
I dreamt last night that I flew.
Not in a plane. I just leapt into the air and soared. I lifted over forests of oak. I sniffed in the smell of old leaves. I could tell that I was in river country, in that last crook of the land before it opened its arms to the Lake.
The season was that heartrending transition just after the fall ends, and just before the first hard snow. The time was early evening; the light steady and grey.
A moment later, I topped a crest, and was viewing the snow-capped Colorado Rockies.
As suddenly, I was moving through the depths of the ocean. The giveaway: a 20 foot fish, tranquil and exotic.
As is often the case in dreams, I never questioned any of this. I felt only a mild astonishment, first, that I was once again able to fly, and, second, that the planet to which I was born was so achingly lovely.
I love flying dreams. It's been far too many years since I last had one.
This one may trace its cause to a recent discussion my wife and I had about such dreams. She advanced the altogether charming idea that humans are not descended from apes, but from birds. How else to explain, she wondered, the deep knowledge of precisely what it feels like to rise and swoop?
If this is so, I WANT MY WINGS BACK.
I used to collect stories about flying dreams. I'm fascinated by how people do it.
I myself fly in several ways. The first time I dreamt of flying, it was the simple consequence of gravity cutting out. I just ... fell up. Most frequently, I swim through the air, pushing back with my hands, kicking with my legs.
One time, I had a flying stick. I either had to hang from it by my arms, try to sit astride it, or balance precariously, as if on a too thin swing. In another one-timer, I remember lining up my knuckles to a night sky constellation, and being yanked right outside the atmosphere, many miles above the spinning globe.
The past several times, I seem to fly by sheer force of personality. I have some kind of psychic wings, and simply by a tilt of the will, I hover, dive, or sail.
Another potential cause of the dream is the fact that I've given myself permission, just lately, to do something that has been ludicrously rare in my life these past months. It amazes me how hard I have to work to find the time, but I've made the time. Yes, this librarian has been doing the unthinkable. I have been reading.
How wonderful, on these cold weekends, to snuggle deep into my plaid flannel pj's, to mound up the pillows, to open the slats of the blinds over my bed, and to feel myself hurled up into the strong winds of an author's imagination.
I ignore the clock. I let the phone ring. Frankly, I just can't work up any of the enthusiasm I know I'm supposed to feel for the usual concerns of life.
I'm READING, dammit. It can wait. Don't bother me. I'm busy.