Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Porcelain

This is a short story I wrote for a creative writing class in college.

Porcelain


        It was an abnormally sunny day in New York City, October 1938. A young girl with bouncing curls was walking down 5th Avenue. The eight-year-old was thoroughly enjoying the walk home as she soaked in the warm sun, taking her time, and looking in all of the store windows. Molly Arnold, that was her name, always loved window shopping but usually it was dreary and cold. The sun made it a much more pleasant venture. Suddenly, Molly stopped abruptly out of wonder and delight. Starring back at her was an exact replica of herself but incased in porcelain. Its chestnut ringlets lay around her face and tumbled elegantly down her back. Her blue-green eyes, the shade her mother proclaimed unnatural and unmatched by any other, were staring back at her, unblinking. Molly wanted to run into the shop, but she found it was already closed. She ran home excitedly to tell her parents about the find, but they had not arrived home from work yet. She tried to entertain herself with a radio program, but she could not stop thinking about the doll. She wondered how much it would cost and immediately jumped up off the couch to run to her bedroom and break open her pale pink piggy bank where she had been saving for a raincoat and umbrella with matching rain boots since she could remember. However, this was much more important. Pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters poured out of the cracked pig, and she began counting to pass the time. By the time she finally heard the lock click and the door open, she had counted the money twice to be sure she was right: $37.42! That had to be enough to pay for the doll!
            Molly jumped up from her bedroom floor and ran into the entrance way, where her parents were hanging up their jackets in the coat closet. Completely disregarding “hello,” Molly excitedly began telling her mother about the mysterious porcelain doll that resembled her so closely she felt that she was looking into a mirror. “And her eyes!” she exclaimed, “They’re my eyes! Genuinely startled but amused, Mrs. Helen Arnold asked her daughter how much the doll cost. Molly explained that although the shop had been closed, she had counted all of her money and was certain that she had plenty to pay for it herself. Mrs. Arnold was so very surprised at this revelation because her little girl was always adamant about saving her money that she offered to take her daughter to the store that Sunday after church. Molly shook her head, positive that she could not wait that long. She had to have that doll as soon as possible! Seeing how determined her daughter was, Mrs. Arnold decided to take Molly to the store the next morning and cancel her weekly manicure.
            When morning finally came, Molly woke up extra early. She dressed in a white lace cotton dress – very similar to the one the doll wore – and made sure her ringlets were just as shiny and bouncy as the doll’s hair as well. She put on her fanciest socks and black Mary Janes and even snuck into her mother’s makeup bag to add some Boysenberry rouge to the apples of her cheeks. When she looked into the mirror, it was as if the doll was once again staring back at her.
            When her mother came into the kitchen to grab her first cup of coffee, Molly was already dressed and ready. Mrs. Arnold spilled her coffee in surprise. Her daughter hated wearing dresses and refused to even wear one to church on Easter Sunday. She cleaned up the coffee without commenting, not wanting to hurt Molly’s feelings.
            Soon mother and daughter were standing hand-in-hand in front of the toy shop. Molly held a small purse with all of her change inside. The store didn’t open for another five minutes, but the girl pulled her mother’s hand toward the shop window on the right side of the door and pointed. Mrs. Arnold’s free hand automatically clasped over her mouth, her eyes wide with shock, as her daughter’s face stared back at her framed in porcelain. She stared at the doll then at her daughter and back to the doll once again. Just then the shopkeeper opened the door, and Molly, still holding tight to her mother’s hand, ran into the shop. Her mother trailed behind her, still in disbelief. Molly’s object of desire seemed like one of horror to her mother, though she wasn’t exactly sure why. Mrs. Arnold’s hands were shaking, and her heart was pounding loudly in her ear. It seemed as if the world had slowed down – the men with brief cases on their way to work, the young mothers pushing their babies in buggies, the news boys riding their bikes for a couple of extra dollars, and even the joggers taking their daily run – everything was moving in slow motion. She felt dizzy. She could not imagine how this would be possible. When her daughter had depicted the doll, she assumed that she was exaggerating about the striking resemblance. It could just be a coincidence . . . but those eyes. How could anyone have replicated those eyes with such perfect detail? Although every internal instinct told her to grab onto her daughter and turn around, Mrs. Arnold went inside anyway to appease her little girl. When Mrs. Arnold was little, she had always been deprived of the things she had wanted the most. Her mother and father had believed that desire was sinful and envying other children’s toys was against the Ten Commandments. So Mrs. Arnold had always tried to be fair and kind to her daughter, never circumventing her most powerful longings.
            Inside the store, Molly walked up to the shopkeeper without hesitation, again a strange sight for Mrs. Arnold because her daughter was usually shy. The shopkeeper turned to her to ask if she could be of any assistance, “May I hel- . . . you . . . you’re . . . doll . . . I,” she mumbled in shock, gulping back her fears, though her eyes shown bright and wide with consternation. She shook her head in attempt to regain her composure and finally managed to finish her sentence, “May I help you?”
            Molly stood up tall with the posture of a straight-backed businessman, “How much is the porcelain doll in the window, Ma’am?”
             “$37.42,” the woman replied.
            The mother and daughter’s eyes opened wide in disbelief.  Mrs. Arnold hesitated, “Are you sure this is what you want, my dear?” she asked her daughter, her intuition once again warning her to leave the store empty handed.
            “Of course, Mother. From the moment I saw her, it was as if she had to belong to me,” the girl sounded certain, unnaturally so, and though her mother felt just as certainly that this was a terrible idea, she nodded to the little girl, still refusing to deny what she wanted so badly. Molly smiled and handed the shopkeeper her purse full of change, “This is all I have, exactly $37.42.”
             The shopkeeper counted the money to double check the amount. Amazed at the coincidences of the resemblance and cost, the shopkeeper wrapped the doll and placed her in a box. When Mrs. Arnold opened the trunk of the car to put the box inside, Molly screamed in terror, “NO! You can’t put her in there. She might get broken. She won’t be able to see in the dark! She has to sit with me!” she demanded in an authoritative tone. Molly was successful in her argument and entered into the car with the box in her lap. During the ride home, the child took the lid off of the box and starred the doll in the eyes, flattening down its dress with her free hand, and making sure that every detail was in its correct place. Once home, the doll was taken to Molly’s bedroom. The little girl was ecstatic because she could trade clothes with the doll and dress it up, since it was exactly her size.            
            Molly played with her doll in her bedroom for the rest of the day. She found matching outfits for them, and matched her makeup exactly to the doll’s. For brunch, Molly and her doll joined Mrs. Arnold on the back patio in matching party dresses to sip Cool-Aid and eat her favorite snickerdoodle cookies. Mrs. Arnold was becoming slightly less anxious about the resemblance at seeing her daughter’s happiness, but she still felt uneasy about those unnatural blue-green eyes. She would swear that when she looked at them they were starring into her soul – as if they could actually see her. Meanwhile, Molly was having the time of her life, playing “house” and pretending that she and the doll were really twin sisters separated at birth who had found each other after years of feeling like they were missing a part of themselves. In all actuality, Molly did feel this way. The moment she had seen the doll, she felt that it was meant to be in her life – like the doll was made for her. They were made for one another.
            That night, after Mrs. Arnold had tucked her little girl tightly into bed, she went to her bedroom to get ready for bed herself. Her husband wasn’t going to be home that night because he was on a business trip, so she planned on relaxing and reading a book curled up under the blankets. Before she turned on the light in the bedroom, Mrs. Arnold thought she saw movement out of the corner of her eye but disregarded it as only the cat. But, when she turned the light on, Molly was standing in front of a mirror staring into it, unblinking. In the next second, she realized that it was not Molly, but the porcelain doll and laughed it off as her daughter trying to scare her. She picked the doll back up and carried it back into her daughter’s room, quietly so as not to wake her. Then she went to the kitchen to grab herself a cup of hot tea and get her book off of the table and returned to her bedroom. She put her most comfortable nightgown on and turned on her bedside lamp before shutting off the room light.
            With her back to the bed, she felt a shiver go straight up her spine. She turned around back to the bed cautiously, and saw her daughter tucked in under the covers of her bed with her eyes shut. Surprised, Mrs. Arnold went to kiss her, but as her lips touched Molly's forehead, she realized it was cold and hard. With goose bumps on her skin, Mrs. Arnold picked the doll back up and went to Molly’s bedroom, angry that her daughter would continue to play tricks on her. Upon entering the bedroom, Mrs. Arnold turned on the light and soon realized that her daughter was not in the bed. With the doll still tucked in her arms, she yelled for Molly, but there was no answer. She began frantically searching the house but could not find her daughter anywhere. She went back into the Molly’s room, but she was still not there. She then picked up the phone and called the police to report her missing. She didn't know what else to do.
            The police were there within the hour, and made a preliminary search of the house, while a detective asked Mrs. Arnold questions about hiding places and if there was any reason her daughter would run away. Mrs. Arnold shook her head, saying that she had never been able to deny Molly anything she wanted, so she could think of no reason for her to be upset. The policemen, who had been searching the house, returned with no answer. But, they found it peculiar that the woman had two matching life-sized dolls and that the second was lying in the little girl’s bed. Mrs. Arnold looked at the doll still in her arms and frantically ran back into her daughter’s bedroom. Lying in the bed was the image of her daughter, but made of porcelain, as was the doll in her arms. But where was her little girl?
            In her mother’s arms Molly felt safe, but she could not seem to make a sound no matter how hard she tried. Her lips just would not part. Her mouth felt dry. She tried to blink her eyes, but they were frozen in place. She had an itch on her nose, but it was impossible to scratch it because she could not move her hand to scratch it. As her mother turned away from her bed with a sob, Molly caught a glance of her twin doll laying in her bed underneath her favorite Beauty and the Beast comforter. All of the sudden, a grin spread across the doll’s face from temple to temple as if maliciously laughing at the little girl’s ironic fate. Then the doll swung its legs over the edge of the bed, and grabbed Molly out of her mother’s arms. Mrs. Arnold took both the doll and Molly into her embrace, holding them tightly. She kissed the doll on the forehead and left Molly lying carelessly on the floor as she ran downstairs to tell the police she had found her daughter. Molly wanted to cry out, but no tears would form. She could not follow her mother or even protest, when she was left behind.

            The next morning Mrs. Arnold packed Molly into the doll box and placed her in the trunk of the car. The doll made no objection and happily rode along in the car. In the trunk Molly wanted to scream out in the darkness. She was afraid of the dark and dreadfully afraid that she would never see her mother again. When they reached the toy store, Mrs. Arnold and the doll walked hand in hand, Molly still trapped in between cardboard and tissue paper. The shopkeeper almost fainted when she saw the pair walk back into the shop and returned the porcelain girl. Shivers ran through the woman as she looked at the walking doll who smiled up at her, an innocently insidious smile. Molly was taken out of the box and put on display in the window, where she watched her mother drive away and her imposter wink back at her through the rearview window. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mortals and Missions

Ok starting off with awesome news I learned yesterday. They're making The Mortal Instruments into a TV series!
Here's the original article: Mortal Instruments will Live Again...as a TV Series
Here's the article Cassandra Clare refers to on Tumblr: Mortal Instruments to Return as TV Series


Anyways....I'm finally starting to settle in to my new job as a Teen Librarian! It's been a wild ride so far, but I'm really enjoying it. I still have a lot to learn, and it will probably be a while or so before I am completely comfortable with all of my duties.

We had a department meeting today, and we are working on creating personal mission statements. We have two lists of words to pick from: 3 verbs, 3 values.
I chose: 
Verbs:                                   Values
1. create                                 1. respect
2. illuminate                           2. wisdom
3. discover                             3. justice

Then you put the two together....which doesn't really work with the ones I chose. So I had to improvise a little. I came up with: 

  • foster creativity
  • inspire respect
  • pursue wisdom
This would make my professional statement: 
I will foster creativity, inspire respect, and encourage the pursuit of wisdom among library patrons and colleagues. 

Then we're supposed to work on goals, objectives, and actions that help us achieve our missions. 

I ran with this a little and wrote a few "goals" down. Then, I will fine tune it all and make it work in the outline. 

I want to.....

  • create relationships among teens and staff
  • learn everyone's names
  • create programs that foster creativity and allow teens and patrons to pursue their interests
  • inspire respect toward fellow teens, me, and other adults no matter who they may be or how they may identify themselves by creating relationships
  • nurture relationships among different groups so they might realize that those they may label as different from themselves can also be exceptional individuals

So that's what I'm currently working on. Still trying to get my apartment cleaned, but somehow I'm still catching up on sleep. Eventually I will have energy again!

TTFN my friends :)

Currently listening to:
 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Teen Books: My To-Read List

So since I'm taking on a Teen Position, I'm going to need to (and possibly have a little time to) catch up on my reading. My usual choice is YA books, so I shouldn't be too terribly far behind. But I read some reviews today and thought it would be a good idea to start a reading list.

Anna Corey - Blackbird
Ally Condie - Atlantia
Kat Ellis - Blackfin Sky
Jessie Ann Foley - Carnival at Bray
Adam Gallardo - Zomburbia
Alena Graedon - The Word Exchange
Coleen Gleason - Clockwork Scarab
Lev Grossman - The Magician's King / The Magician's Land
Avery Hastings - Feuds
Donna Hosie - The Devil's Intern
Julie Kawaga - Talon
A.S. King - Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
Natalie Parker - Beware the Wild
Rainbow Rowell - Fangirl / Eleanor and Park / Landline

I'm currently reading Holly Black and Cassandra Clare's Iron Trial as well as Libba Bray's The Diviners.

Librarian on the move

I've given my two weeks notice and packed up my desk. Today I did my very last storytime.I am returning to Greenwood Public Library where nearly three years ago I interned while completing my master's degree, where I've accepted a new full-time position as the Teen Librarian!

What craziness is this, you ask. Well, three weeks ago I saw the position posting through an IU list-serve. I decided it would be worth applying, though I hadn't applied to many openings since getting the job at Hussey-Mayfield. I was very happy there, but working 25 hours there and  part-time as a Starbucks shift manager was starting to get overwhelming. Physically and emotionally working a minimum of 50 hours a week was taking its toll. I was tired and knew I needed some kind of change.

As every children's librarian who loves her coworkers, patrons, and city does, I hoped that change could be that I would eventually move to a full time position at Hussey-Mayfield. But that hope continued to look grim, so I went for it. I applied for the position.

I checked my email unhealthily often, nearly every hour, hoping for some form of reply. Two days later, a Friday, I received a response back asking for an interview that coming Monday. The interview went well, and two days later - exactly two weeks ago today - I accepted the position.

Since then, everything has been such a blur. I sent an email asking for an impromptu Tween Council meeting, so I could tell them face-to-face. I informed my storytimes. My positions at the library and at Starbucks are posted so I can be replaced. My desk is packed.

It's all so bittersweet. I am more than ready for a full time job at one location, where I can put my heart and soul in one job instead of being spread all over the place. But I am most definitely going to miss both of my jobs. The patrons are wonderful. I'll miss the adrenaline that comes from a peak rush when we're trying to beat our records. I'll miss watching the babies faces when I start the hand movements for Zoom, Zoom, Zoom - We're going to the moon. I'll miss knowing exactly who I'm going to see in the drive-thru at 5 am Sunday morning, when they ask what our Bold Pick of the day is at the speaker. I'll miss my Tween Council. I'll miss making drinks. Mostly I'll miss my coworkers. They're family. They've taken care of me, given me advice, taught me both career lessons and life lessons. They've made me laugh, made me cry, made me angry, and most often made my day better. They've dealt with my crazy schedule, my sleepiness, and of course my silliness. I can't thank you all enough.

I am super-excited for the chance to work with Teens. I get to read books I love, continue to be silly and geeky, make a fool out of myself. I get to be at a library I already adore with some amazing people. I will have a little more free time on my hands. Be able to visit family and friends. Have a night out now and then.
So here I go. Watch out world. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy 34th Birthday Harry Potter! Happy 49th Birthday JK Rowling!

Today is Harry Potter's 34th birthday and Jo Rowling's 49th. Last week was Daniel Radcliffe's 25th birthday, and the week before was my 26th.

I started this blog three years ago after seeing the final Harry Potter movie in theaters. Much has changed since then, yet Harry is still and will remain an important fixture in my life.

As a youth services librarian, I get to watch as the Harry Potter series continues to fascinate children (and adults). One year ago today I was lucky enough to host a birthday party for Harry at the library, complete with classes and butterbeer cupcakes! It was so much fun!


The Great Hall

 Sorting

 Defense Against the Dark Arts


Teachers, Prefects, and Dobby

Again, it amazes me how much Harry Potter continues to influence generations as they read the books, watch the movies, and take in the culture around them. An article I read yesterday discussed the impact the series has made on our culture; stereotypes, prejudices, self-awareness. You should check it out: Harry Potter Reduces Prejudice

This isn't the only study that's been conducted regarding Harry Potter, and it won't be the last. Musicals have been made; universities teach entire courses; Fanfiction.net has over 600,000 stories (not to mention nearly 30,000 crossovers). There are books written on its Christian symbolism and its politics. There are cookbooks, spell books, party books, knitting books, music books, and even science books.

Rowling teased us recently with a short snippet by Rita Skeeter on the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, which I (and many, many others) hope means we'll be getting more than a peak at the grown Potters and Weasleys. And today I watched a video about real Quidditch teams across the world!


I believe that it's safe to say, Harry won't be abandoning us anytime soon. I plan to embrace my childhood for as long as possible.





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tween Booklist

I've searched and searched, but discovered that there aren't very many Booklists out there for good Tween books. 

Tweens at my library are considered 4th and 5th graders with high reading levels but who want to read (or whose parents want them to read) cleaner books with low content. Teen books often have drugs, alcohol, and sex as main parts of the plot, but Tween books only have those as minor side points. Maybe mom is an alcoholic, but it will have very little to do with the story. Or perhaps Janie has a new boyfriend, but (appropriately since they're twelve) the most they might do is kiss and hold hands. In other words, Tween books keep it PG.

 So my Tween Council at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library and I came up with a booklist of books that are not only appropriate for Tweens but also great stories!

Recommended
Reading
from our
Tween Council




Title
Location
Chasing Vermeer (Series)
1.        Chasing Vermeer
2.        The Wright 3
3.        The Calder Game
TWEEN J FIC BALLIETT
Starcatchers (Series)
1.        Peter and the Starcatchers
2.        Peter and the Shadow Thieves
3.        Peter and the Secret Rundoon
4.        Peter and the Sword of Mercy
TWEEN J FIC BARRY
The Penderwicks (Series)
1.        The Penderwicks
2.        The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
3.        The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
TWEEN J FIC BIRDSALL
Mr. Terupt (Series)
1.        Because of Mr. Terupt
2.        Mr. Terupt Falls Again
TWEEN J FIC BUYEA
The Last Dragon Chronicles (Series)
1.        The Fire Within
2.        Icefire
3.        Fire Star
4.        The Fire Eternal
5.        Dark Fire
6.        Fire World
7.        Fire Ascending
TWEEN J FIC D'LACEY
Out of my Mind
TWEEN J FIC DRAPER
The City of Ember (Series)
1.        The City of Ember
2.        The People of Sparks
3.        The Prophet of Yonwood
4.        The Diamond of Darkhold
TWEEN J FIC DUPRAU
Conspiracy 365 (Series)
       1-12. January-December
       13. Revenge
TWEEN J FIC LORD
Belle Teal
TWEEN J FIC MARTIN
Every Soul a Star
TWEEN J FIC MASS
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June
TWEEN J FIC NAYLOR
Middle School (Series)                          
1.        The Worst Years of My Life
2.        Get Me Out of Here
3.        My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar
TWEEN J FIC PATTERSON

Summer of the Gypsy Moths
TWEEN J FIC PENNYPACKER
Rebel McKenzie
TWEEN J FIC RANSOM
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Series)
1.        The Lightning Thief
2.        The Sea of Monsters
3.        The Titan’s Curse
4.        The Battle of the Labyrinth
5.        The Last Olympian
TWEEN J FIC RIORDAN
Heroes of Olympus (Series)
1.        The Lost Hero
2.        The Son of Neptune
3.        The Mark of Athena
TWEEN J FIC RIORDAN
A Series of Unfortunate Events (Series)
1.        The Bad Beginning
2.        The Reptile Room
3.        The Wide Window
4.        The Miserable Mill
5.        The Austere Academy
6.        The Ersatz Elevator
7.        The Vile Village
8.        The Hostile Hospital
9.        The Carnivorous Carnival
10.     The Slippery Slope
11.     The Grim Grotto
12.     The Penultimate Peril
13.     The End
TWEEN J FIC SNICKET