a couple of months ago, i started working with a non-profit organization that provides books to under-served school and community libraries. we accomplish this through facilitating a partnership between the under-served library and a book donor. typically, the donor is a school in an affluent community with a surplus of books in its own library. the donor school will weed their library for duplicate copies of quality, high-interest reading material (we're not interested in throwaways). additionally, most donors hold a book drive for their partner school, and in the end, will provide anywhere between three and five thousand books. on top of this, my organization will bring in approximately 2500 brand new books that we've purchased at a considerable discount.
every saturday during the academic year, i am at a different school library in parts of the city i rarely visited before: compton, south central, south gate, etc. (one exception was last saturday, which found me in koreatown -- a neck of the woods i frequent whenever i feel like imbibing at one of the neighborhood's many pirate-themed watering holes). on saturdays, we bring the book donation into the school. volunteers from both the donor school and the recipient school turn out to help organize and process the books. they also paint murals.
although i've only been with this organization a short time, i think it's safe to say that i love my new job, and it's among the most rewarding work i've ever done. it's a pretty incredible thing to walk into a school library in the morning and be greeted by empty bookshelves, and then, only seven hours later, to leave behind a collection of labeled, processed books that kids can check out immediately, and to see an amazing mural from Where the Wild Things Are painted on the wall where there was only blank space before. Not to mention the incredible volunteers who make all of it possible -- folks who are truly passionate about literacy. I have never encountered a group of people so thrilled to alphabetize and apply spine labels and shelve -- and do keep in mind that you're talking to someone who went to library school.
in other news, i made whirlwind trip to phoenix the weekend before last. in the course of my 34 hour visit, i:
- spent five hours in a room with an embalmed corpse. catholics call this a wake.
- was tormented all night by a witch (explanation: my mother bought one of those endearing motion-activated halloween lawn ornaments -- a witch who cackles every time someone walks past, OR, apparently, every time the wind blows, which happened ALL NIGHT LONG last sunday night. naturally, i didn't notice said decorative witch perched outside my mother's front door earlier that day, so as she cackled relentlessly throughout the night, i couldn't discern the laughter's source. from my nest on the living room sofa, i thought i might be losing my mind. the moment i started to doze off, i'd be forced awake by that terrible sound. it wasn't until the morning, when i asked my mom if she heard any menacing laughter during the night, that she introduced me to her adorable toy, which i learned can be deactivated quite easily).
- rolled around in cat shit (during one of my failed attempts to escape the happy witch, i tried to sleep downstairs in the den. the cat must've tried before me, and was so spooked by the maniacal laughter, that she shat the sofa. the smell was awful, and even after i went back upstairs, i couldn't escape it -- the unmistakable scent of eau de cat shit followed me from room to room. only later did i discover feline feces smeared into the sleeve of my cashmere sweater. i probably deserve this for attempting to sleep in cashmere in the first place).
- did not sleep
- recited the lord's prayer approximately 50 times
- same goes for the hail mary
- speaking of which, have you guys heard about this? given that i only find myself in a catholic church once every three years or so, i can barely keep up as it is. and now they want to mix shit up on me?
- ate dinner at pita jungle.
i know everyone says this after a funeral, but seriously guys, when i die, cremate me, and sneak my ashes into a pepper mill at inn of the seventh ray.