I love ‘em! More than that, lending libraries provide a great excuse for introverted readers to get outdoors. I enjoy walking as exercise, especially outside during such a lovely summer. But when you spend an hour and a half of your weekdays walking around the same town, you get bored faster than you get fit. The best way to exercise is to give yourself a goal.
So when I walk, I find as many lending libraries as I can. For the uninformed, here’s how they work. A lending library looks like a little house on a post. They’re often found in front lawns. Inside those little houses, you’ll find various books of unpredictable quality. The policy is simple: if you take a book, you must leave a book. It’s the perfect way for you to clean out your old books without stress, and to find new books without money. It is acceptable for you to take out a Margaret Atwood novel and replace it with a children’s picture book (but if you do, you’re probably the type who puts a basket of those complimentary saltine crackers in your purse).
Each time I found a lending library in my hometown (or in Iowa), I took a picture. 3 months and 15 lost pounds later, here are some of the best!
On my long, tiring, as-of-yet-fruitless search for steady employment, I submitted a writing sample to Cult of Americana. They’re a website that chronicles the amusing tales in ordinary American life. I think this submission was too morose to make their cut, but I still like how it turned out!
The Ramblers of Chicago
Loss of innocence has nothing to do with ignorance.
For two summers, I worked as a Ticket Sales Agent for a double decker bus company. I spent each workday selling guided tours of Chicago, shouting sales offers over the din of downtown traffic, calculating new ways to fend off boredom. It was a nice job, provided you applied sunscreen.
My mission as Ticket Sales Agent involved reaching out to pedestrians. Occasionally, pedestrians reached out to me. Of the many bizarre people I met in Chicago, here are three that changed my worldview in minutes.
So, Nick, why do you want to be a writer?
I’ll admit, I forgot the answer for a while. That’s what’s weird about me. I find something I like, and then I kill it. Be it reading or swimming or theater, I take my passions and encode them in rigid formulas and mounting to-do lists. Then, when you take away the to-do lists in my life, it’s like you took my personality with them.
Until I can provide a satisfying answer to the question “Why do you want to be a writer?” I will be on hiatus.
This is why I have trouble sharing my work.
On the last Trudge-Along Tuesday, I promised you I’d find five ChapterBuzz authors to recommend. I imagined that the change-of-pace would provide a nice recharge for me. I also thought that Sherlock Season 4 would be good, so what the hell do I know.
I’ll give the authors of ChapterBuzz this: all their novel chapters are better than any episode of Sherlock Season 4 (though not as deliriously, deliciously, hilariously bad as Sherlock Season 4). For each author I list below, there were three others I examined on ChapterBuzz before sighing and giving up. No first draft is good. That’s a given for writers. And that’s the obstacle you have to overcome when you share your first draft with the world.
Here are five authors who made a first draft for a novel and actually compelled me to read more after today. They’re ranked from most okay to most good. For the majority of these authors, I only read a chapter or so. Since my reading strategy involved giving up the moment I lost interest, all these authors did manage to hold the attention of a critical, capricious grump for longer than 5 minutes.