Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another (and logical) benefit of a library

by Rick Blechta

I think I may have posted about this, but not within the past several years. (When you’ve been here pretty well weekly since 2006, things tend to run together a bit.) But considering the discussion here of late, I think it’s entirely suitable to bring this up again.

I like libraries…as a place to write. As in many things in life, discovering this was the result of necessity.

I was still teaching instrumental music when I began seriously writing. That meant very long days. Since my wife taught music privately (meaning she had students one at a time), she would schedule her lessons after I would be home, so for many years we passed like ships in the night as she went down to the Royal Conservatory to do her thing. When our sons were little, this meant Dad’s Babysitting Service required all hands always on deck. By the time I got the little bast…our darling children to bed, I was pretty well no good for anything — except bed. Some nights I might get a bit of writing done, but not much.

What to do?

Lunchtime at school was the best opportunity for (nearly) daily writing and the school library (except on rainy days) was perfect. No one was in it and I had some lovely solitude and silence (and if you teach band, silence is especially golden) to type away on the library computer. (I got very familiar with floppy discs and the peril of leaving them behind in computers.)

On weekends, holidays, and especially during the summer break when I had more time, I began using public libraries when being around home, and kids, and, well, fatherly responsibility became too much for any good writing to be done, I’d hike off to the library for a couple of hours with my Apple IIc which was remarkably portable for the time.

Move on a number of years and now I had a proper laptop and continued to use libraries as a place to write when needed. I’d even disappear to any library nearby when on holiday. My wife was remarkably understanding whenever I did this and I tried not to abuse her good nature and forebearance too much.

To this day, I enjoy and embrace the library writing experience. No one bothers you or asks questions and they’re quiet, allowing full concentration.

My current favourite place to use is Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Great Library which is actually open to the public (it’s a law library) except when bar exams and the like are going on. One glance at the accompanying photo will show you why I enjoy it so much.

Anyone else like to write in libraries?


Sybil Johnson said...

That is one beautiful library. I see why you like it there.

I love libraries, but I never liked to study in them. Not sure why since they are fairly quiet. I don't really like writing in them either, but I haven't really tried it recently. Maybe if this current heat wave continues for too much longer, I'll end up in one just so I can have some air conditioning!

Rick Blechta said...

The Great Library has been called the most beautiful room in Canada. I personally have not seen one that can beat it.

I don't know why it happens but I just feel more focused in a library -- not that I can't find that in other places, our very good friend's 1830s log home, for instance.

It's a mystery...

Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Great post – I like working in libraries too and I've some great ones to chose from here in Edinburgh.