Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Bad Case of the What Ifs

Have you ever had a time, where you truly doubted yourself? All of these possibilities flood your head, and you wonder...what if?

What if:

I don't know what I'm doing?
I can't find a job after college?
I can't handle a job, if I manage to get one?
I hate my job - if I get one?
this isn't what I'm good at?
all I'm good being a student? What do I do then?

All of these went through my head. I know that I'm scared; that I don't think I can handle basic responsibilities. I'm pretty sure it's normal (even for a 28-yr-old) - but I'm still scared anyway.

Thanks for tuning in - hopefully the next post will be a little more upbeat.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The History of Libraries

This week, I've been reading about the history of libraries. I am going to college right now, to earn my AAS degree in Library Science, so that I may one day become a Library Technician. Out of all the subjects we have been learning - the Dewey Decimal System, the Library of Congress Classification System, etc., what most interests me is the history and evolution of the library.
First of all, in ancient times, not everyone could read - whether in Asia, Greece, Rome, or Egypt, education was for the rich, the privileged, and the clergy who advised them. Libraries in Europe were either private or connected to churches or monasteries until the Renaissance, when the love of knowledge that came from the Middle Eastern region flowed in to Europe.
The religion of Islam greatly influenced our book culture of today. They built great libraries, amassed monstrous collections, their scribes beautifully illuminated the texts, and the bindings were coveted for their richness and sumptuousness. They even collected and reproduced the literature of their rivals, the Greeks.
Libraries were, in general, open only to the higher classes, scientists, and the clergy for study and research. The first "modern" library, according to most historians, is the library at San Marco in Florence, built by Cosimo de Medici, a great patron of the arts in Renaissance Italy. This was only open to the learned and upper classes as well - but it also illustrated how libraries were used to show power and influence, especially of the Medici family. The books in this library were chosen carefully - they showcased the piety and the intelligence of the Medicis, as well as their views on humanism, culture, and custom. Also chosen were books that were once owned by illustrious individuals, people that the Medicis were all to happy to have their name associated with.
With the invention of moving type in Europe (the Chinese had invented this much earlier) literacy exploded, and so did the demand for books. A person would pick up the printed pages at the printer, then take them to a "binder" - to bind the pages together in the manner he chose - whether elaborate hard binding, or simple leather.
Books have been made from many materials - wood, metal, paper, papyrus, parchment, bamboo, stone, clay, and even wax. They have taken many forms - scrolls, writing on rock (for easy copying by rubbing), long bound bamboo books, the wax tablet, the codex, the wooden tablet, and the bound book with cover as we know it today. If you are more interested in the history of libraries, I suggest heading to your local public library and borrowing 'Library - An Unquiet History' by Matthew Battles:


It's an entertaining read!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Crash Course in understanding the Polymath/Scanner personality

So - what is a Polymath? Polymath is Greek, and it's used to describe a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. Many ancient scientists were polymaths: take for instance Leonardo Da Vinci, who was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer.
Yes, he did all those things. Our world has been shaped by polymaths - but it is now a world that benefits "specialists" much more. All polymaths - and specialists- have heard: "You better decide what you want to do for the rest of your life!"
I cannot - and will not - choose.
When I read the opening chapter of Barbara Sher's book 'Refuse to Choose', I cried. She calls us "Scanners" - because we just seem to scan subjects, and put them down again. When I read it, everything suddenly became so clear. I started to embrace the way my brain works, and I tried to understand why I do what I do. I seem to have a different interest every week - it was so hard to decide what to do - not because there wasn't anything to do, but because there was SO MUCH that I liked, I found it too hard to choose.

I have hobbies: drawing, painting, crochet, cross-stitch, reading, writing, blogging, gardening, home brewing, home canning, jewelrymaking and cooking.

I also have Interests: Civil war history, Victorian England, Russian literature, Viking Era history and dress, Medieval history, Zen Buddhism, cake decorating, home decorating, general physics, the childfree lifestyle, survivalism/practical living skills, etc.

I also have what I call "passing in-depth studies" into a subject, where I'll suddenly get interested in it, read all about it, and then never look at it again...until someone mentions it in passing, and I can dig up some interesting facts (usually broad strokes, sometimes more deep understanding)at the drop of a hat. Subjects as diverse as KP (Keratosis Pilaris), circumcision, urban myths, etc.

None of these are full lists. If I sat down to write about everything that I have ever been interested in, it would be an awfully long blog post.
So - does this sound like you? You might want to read the first chapter of Refuse to Choose. Maybe then, you'll get some answers.

Welcome to my new blog - I'll try to update it weekly.