All month I have had a number of posts stewing in my brain yet I managed to not write any of them until now – so this is a super long blog post.
January was a culmination of several events for me. I have finally finished my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment allowing me to teach in the TAFE system. I used to teach at TAFE 10 years ago when I was not required to have a qualification beyond Train the Trainer. I found the teaching rather harrowing as there were times I was being handed the lesson plan 10 minutes before the class itself. With this certificate I feel much more prepared – now to pick up some casual hours!
I completed a 10 thousand word assessment for university. Even as I sit here all I can think is that there is so much more I wanted to write. I could have easily added another 5 K. I’ve since met with my supervisors who are trying to convince me to move from a Masters program to a Doctorate program. They keep saying “doctorate” as though it is a forgone conclusion but for me it is a much harder decision. I’m loving the study but I am finding the whole parenting/studying/working balance difficult. As much as I would love to be a Doctor of Rrrrrromance in libraries I may just settle to be a Mistress of Rrrrromance in libraries instead.
I managed to get slammed by an anonymous blogger called Annoyed Librarian over at Library Journal. There seems to be a badge of honour amongst a few librarian bloggers such as @ScrewyDecimal and @Catagator who have also been slammed. I felt spesh. Am I the only antipodean to merit this treatment *preen*? The slamming came while I was in the midst of my 10K assessment and TAFE resubmissions. As much as I wanted to get in there and comment again I was a very good student and focused on my assessments. In brief, the blogger made a number of derogatory comments about housebound romance readers to which I questioned her professionalism. In the slamming, she questioned public librarians and readers’ advisors professionalism and how she was “happy to have a little fun goading romance readers and writers”. And here is the irony. My aforementioned 10K assessment is about the marginalisation of ordinary culture by cultural institutions – namely libraries/librarians marginalising romance fiction: Romance fiction and its authors and readers. I came across the first post in searching for more current examples of librarians showing derision towards the readers of the most highly read fiction genre. Not only had I found more evidence for my paper but by her responding in the form of another blog rather than a simple reply she gave me even more material. Just as I was thinking that perhaps the library situation wasn’t all that bad she gave me plenty of fodder that was instantly added to my research.
By the time I had a moment to make my own comment a number of people had already made enough comments rejecting her blog stance against public librarians so I happily did not leave my own. But here’s the thing: when her blog was first pubished I had a number of people contact me – some through public tweets and others through email and Twitter DMs in support of my comments, which I appreciated. But the comments and discussion outside of the official website will not remain part of a digital record. The comments dismissing the blogger for not having the courage to write under her own name, the comments dismissing Library Journal as a credible opinion source in the industry due to their validating a”library troll”, and the incredulity that there were still readers of the blog, are not part of an official record. Researchers in 100 years will be going to the industry stalwart, Library Journal, but how they will connect to the conversation that is happening in other online forums about their articles, particularly discussions held elsewhere as most librarians are hesitant to post comments on LJ as they know they will be the next librarian to be ridiculed? What sort of legacy of information will allow for these informal (yet illuminating) conversation to be found. I’ve been told that there is research into this question but I have become the lazy researcher at this stage of January and I haven’t searched for more information. If I find some links I will post them on a later blog.
Since I finished writing my papers 10 days ago I have chilled out with my kids, I’ve watched lots of TV – reruns of Coupling, Scrubs, Friends, Big Bang Theory and Ben Stiller movies. I love Hank Azaria in Along came Polly saying “Rueben, look me in the eyeball” and the extreme sports corporate Bryan Brown. After 366 books in 2012, I have begun 2013 in fine form and I have read only 2 books The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville which was lovely and A Basic Renovation by Sandra Antonelli which was fab fab fab and I will be writing a separate blog post for next week. My family and I spent a lovely week in Wollombi in the Hunter Valley at my sister-in-law’s farm. We swam in the dam daily, we watched kangaroos grazing, we played lots of Wii and generally did the holiday pleaser of nothing much.
Coming up, I am going to be on a romance panel on Valentine’s Day with Isolde Martyn and Jane Austen Society journal editor Joanna Penglase to discuss 200 years and the romance focus of Pride and Prejudice. I’m really excited to be involved in such an event seeing the pretty much universal appeal of the book. I’m pretty sure I have been asked along to bring in the contemporary romance tie-in. Though I liked Pride and Prejudice when I first read it I have not been part of the fandom. I have not reread it (but plan to before the event) and I don’t think much of Colin Firth. My husband really wanted to give our oldest son the middle name of D’Arcy, after his great-g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather D’Arcy Wentworth, to which I objected as I wasn’t all that chuffed at naming my son after a highwayman despite the fact that he came good upon coming to the colony of New South Wales as the second fleet’s doctor and as a free settler (oh – the irony as my son tells me he would have loved to have D’Arcy as his name). In my research for this panel I discovered the Lizzie Bennet Diaries just to discover my favouritest ever Darcy. I have become obsessed with this vlog and transmedia fiction. I follow the characters on twitter, I read Jane’s Tumblr and Lydia is totally understood. And the whole “Socially Awkward Darcy” meme is fun. And most importantly, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries have given me that jolt in my stomach. That feeling that romance readers get when they come across a couple that you know should be together, and despite the fact that I know there is a happy ever after, the anticipation that only a good adaptation and dramatisation can affect, that feeling that perhaps these two will not get past Regis’s point of ritual death. I do love the well retold romance.