Hello from the Jolly Librarian!

The Mayfield Library is always looking for ways to let you know what’s going on with us, so we can serve you better. To better achieve that aim, we’re starting this library blog.

As we communicate with you, please keep in touch with us. We welcome all feedback.

After all, the Mayfield Library is here for you!

Monday Motivator: Get Rejected

There is a challenge floating around social media for writers to gather 100 rejections this year. You see, writers can be a bunch of perfectionists. They don’t want to send anything out until it’s perfect, and they always hope that “one more draft” or “one more look” will make it so. But then they never quite think it is perfect, so the draft sits in the computer file, never to be seen by anyone other than the author.

Writers can also be a sensitive bunch. A friend of mine’s wife attended a famous writing conference in Tennessee. I don’t know what happened, but according to my friend, she was tempted never to write again. Even the mildest criticism can send some writers off into an ice cream and coffee binge, drowning their sorrows instead of writing.

So to gather the courage to send out enough work to get 100 rejections is a big deal for a writer. But it’s necessary if they hope to publish or even improve their work.

Fear of rejection, however, is not just a problem for writers. Most of us can relate to the cold fear that can sweep over our entire being when the possibility of rejection enters the room:

  • We don’t ask a person on a date because he/she might say no.
  • We don’t apply for a promotion because we might not get it, and our colleagues will know we failed.
  • We don’t make a suggestion at a staff meeting because it might be turned down.

No one likes rejection, but the successful learn to muscle through and ask a person out, apply for the promotion, and/or make the suggestion. Because the only way to learn to handle rejection is to suffer through it and realize that it won’t kill you.

A great example comes from a book whose author and title now escape me. But this guy decided to get over his fear of asking girls out by going out to the quad on his college campus and asking every girl who passed by on a date. All but one said no, and that one stood him up. But he learned that while rejection is uncomfortable, it’s not fatal.

The lost elections of Abraham Lincoln’s career are common knowledge. Yet he became one of our country’s best presidents.

So if you have not been getting rejected lately, you probably aren’t trying hard enough. Get out there and have someone say no to you.

By the way, I have gathered two rejections since I joined the challenge at the beginning of July. And, yes, being rejected hurt, but I’m getting enough batch of stories ready to send.

 

Advice from the Jolly Librarian

Never let your mind get as crowded as a librarian’s cubicle!

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Monday Motivator: You Get to Decide

I’m listening to one of the Great Courses: “Lifelong Health.” The lecturer, Anthony Goodman, M.D., tells this story: A man in his 90s liked to go sculling on the Charles River each day. His family said that he needed to stop, that he was too old, that he could fall out of the boat and drown. His reply was  that sculling made him happy. And between dying from falling out of his boat or falling out of bed, he would choose the former.

You might view the man as a role model (my interpretation). Or you might see him as selfish, causing his family worry.

But my point is not so much that he made the right decision, but that he made a decision. If he agreed to stay home and eat soup while he watched The Price is Right, he still would have made a choice. He might have told his friends how his family took all the fun out of his life and gave him no options, but he would be wrong. He made the decision to appease his family.

One of the problems of becoming an adult is that we have to realize three things: We have choices. Some of our choices will make people upset. We have to learn to live with the ramifications of those choices.

 

People will not always be happy with our choices. Sometimes for good reasons. We might be doing something incredibly stupid. And we would be foolish not to take good counsel into account. But still the decision is ours to make.

And sometimes people will want to keep us from some of our choices, out of fear, protective love, or simple jealousy. In those cases, we have to acknowledge that and decide whether we can live with their disapproval or anger if we proceed. It would be nice to be surrounded by cheerleaders, but many of us aren’t that lucky. Still here is the key point: Even if we decide we can’t live with the anger and disapproval, we have to acknowledge we made the choice.

And we need to acknowledge that sometimes we make bad decisions. And spending time trying to find someone to blame is not helpful. Analyze the situation. See what you can do better next time. And move on.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Motivator: Find a Way

Librarian Emily has two dogs. A few days ago, she took PK for a walk, leaving Olive in the fenced-in backyard. Olive can be trusted to run around while PK needs more encouragement to get his exercise.

They had been walking for a while when Emily noticed that PK kept stopping and looking back. At first, she, not unreasonably, assumed he just wanted to return to the cool house. But then she also looked back. And there was Olive running after them, determined to catch up. When she did, she looked at them as if to say, “Why have you stopped?  You forgot me, but I’m here now. Let’s go for our walk.”

Emily doubts that’s there a moral to this story, other than that Olive can be annoying. But I disagree.

Olive is a good example of persistence. When she discovered she’d not been invited for a walk, she decided she would not be denied. And somehow she squeezed her not insubstantial body through the very small space between fence and the ground. That took determination as well as a willingness to suffer a bit.

Olive’s story made me think of the barriers that get put in our way and how many times we just accept them and stop:

  • We don’t do well on the first test, so we drop the course.
  • Someone tells us that we’re too (old, young, poor, uneducated, unattractive, etc.) to pursue a particular goal, so we give up.
  •  We decide to start exercising, but the first time we do, we fall off the treadmill. (Okay, that could just be me.)

And, truly, we have to investigate the barriers and fences because sometimes we are failing for a reason, and there’s no harm in dropping one goal and starting another.

But in some cases, that fence needs to be jumped. Or knocked down. Or wiggled under.

 

Monday Motivator: Beat the Doldrums

I am in the midst of the mid-summer doldrums. It is so hot and steamy that I can’t walk three steps outside the building before being covered in sweat. My hair expands three times its normal size before I can get back under the air conditioner.

I admit to not being a summer person, but I’ve noticed that the mid-summer doldrums hit everyone. Those who have not yet gone on vacation feel that time almost stands still, and they’ll never  be free to hit the beach and wriggle their toes in the sand. Those who have gone on vacation can’t believe how long it’s going to be before they can go again. And those who didn’t plan a vacation (me) just feel like chumps.

Television is awful this time of year with lots of reruns and reality shows. Even Game of Thrones ended this week. So what can we do if we’re not going to make ourselves and everyone else miserable? How do we get ourselves out of the doldrums?

The problem with the doldrums is that they are heavy creatures and can weigh you down. You have to expend some effort to chase them out the door.

Here are some tips that have worked for me:

  • Exercise. Okay, I know that when even getting off the sofa makes you sweat, the idea of sweating on purpose seems insane. But the days that I go to the Y or to the workout room, I feel much more energized and happy.
  • Do some binge watching. If you don’t want to get out in the heat, don’t let bad television make you even more inert. Watch some good movies, such as Spotlight or Carol. Or take on whole seasons of shows that you haven’t been able to get to: Breaking Bad, Veep, Game of Thrones, or Penny Dreadful. And if you like sports, this is an Olympics year, which means not just the games themselves but various trials as well are being broadcast.
  • Grab a quick summer read: A Man Called OveThe Nest, or End of Watch.
  • Take a mini-vacation. Pretend you’re a tourist and go downtown.
  • Give yourself a treat, something you’ve been putting off.

And if all else fails, remember this line from The Great Gatsby: “Life starts all over when it gets crisp in the fall.”

Monday Motivator: Use a Filter

If you are anything like me, you are feeling sad, frustrated, and overwhelmed today. Sad because there was another brutal mass killing this weekend. Frustrated because we can’t seem to stop them or even have a civilized conversation about the best way to stop them. And overwhelmed because good people hate when others suffer and don’t know how to best help.

But one thing I have discovered does NOT help me at all is following the event on social media. While everyone has the right to his/her opinion and the right to express it, I’ve learned that I also have the right not to read everyone’s opinion. In general, the comments that follow these sorts of events are full of emotion,  selective of facts, and often have an agenda. (Whether that agenda is correct or not is not  my point here. I firmly believe that the only way we can move together is to communicate with each other, and most comments do more to alienate than bring together. And after these kind of mass shootings, I desperately need some hope, not more despair.)

I’m not recommending that anyone stick his/her head in the sand. But, if like me, you are disheartened by the types of comments you see on social media, this post is a reminder: You don’t have to engage. At all.

Monday Motivator: Resolution Check

You probably missed it, but June 1 was New Year’s Resolution Recommitment Day, a day when you pull out your resolutions and see how you’re doing, and, if like most people, have failed at, or totally forgotten about, them, recommit yourself.

Here in the library, most of us made a reading challenge. I had two:

  1. On Goodreads, I said I would read 70 books. I have read 35,  five ahead of schedule.
  2. I also decided to do the grown-up reading challenge. I am doing pretty well here as well, having read ten.

In other areas of my life, my resolutions aren’t working as well:

  • I resolved to lose enough weight so that I could get into certain clothes in my closet. This has been a total failure. As of June 1, I actually weigh more than I ever have in my life! But I am recommiting to this goal. I want to wear all the nice corduroy pants I bought one winter.
  • I resolved to write more. And I write everyday. But I realized that this is not enough. I need to edit and send out things to be published. So I’m modified that goal to be more effective.

Have your resolutions fallen by the wayside? Here are some tips to get back on track.

  • Maybe you “over-resolved.” Look back at your resolutions and pick the ones you care most about.
  • Get an accountability partner, someone who will hold you to your plans.
  • Make a plan. Did you resolve to exercise more? Put exercise down on your calendar and treat it like you would a meeting with your boss. If you want to lose weight but can’t resist French fries when you eat out, pack a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday.
  • Be realistic. Many resolutions are about becoming the perfect person. You’re a pretty good person just the way you are. (Let’s all sing some Billy Joel here.) I am never going to go on an extreme diet. I am never going to not buy new purses each season. That’s who I am. So to say that I’m going to stop (except for a major health or financial emergency) is just a big old lie I’m telling myself. Be honest.

Basically, resolutions should help you enjoy life a bit more. If they aren’t, dump them.

 

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