cygnoir.net

Today I am thankful for our kittens, Crivens and Criminy, on their first birthday! I guess I can’t call them “kittens” much longer. 😭 I am looking forward to catching up on much-needed sleep. Hoping for no nightmares tonight.

Today I am grateful for the healing power of pho. 🍲 My headache is almost all gone! I am looking forward to my Library Takeout shift tomorrow, because I really miss in-person interaction with my coworkers and our patrons.

Today I am thankful for showing myself love and respect by setting boundaries. (Shout out to @theinfophile!) I am looking forward to a brisk walk tomorrow morning before my workday begins.

The Bottlebrush Brothers.

photo of tabby kittens back-to-back

A katydid, perhaps? Any entomologists around? (I would use iNaturalist for this, but after being told I wasn’t using it correctly I’m hesitant to go back.)

Book Review: Luster by Raven Leilani

Luster

Luster by Raven Leilani
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Bookshop.org · Public Library · Goodreads
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Borrowed

I’m going to preface this book review by stating outright that I am not very good at writing book reviews. But I want to get better, so I’m practicing.

When my hold on “Luster” appeared yesterday morning, I almost put it off, but I’m glad that I didn’t because I devoured it in just two sittings! I enjoyed falling into the twentysomething malaise of Edie, the protagonist, although I hated everyone around her as they consistently wallpapered over her personality with their own needs and desires. But that was intentional, of course, because the author is a magnificent writer. The prose was surprising and beautiful and so, so funny, although not in the ways I expected. I could say more about how deft a treatment of racism and classism this was, but I want you to read it already.

A little shocked by how excited I was to pick up a prescription from a pharmacy last night. I promise not to take the boring stuff for granted ever again!

An unbidden memory this morning: I was once in a relationship with someone who regularly complained that I walked too loudly.

In case you need to hear this: Never settle for someone with such disdain for your body that they hate how it sounds for you to move through space.

I finished everything I needed to get done before my time off from work … and promptly fell asleep for three hours. 😴 I must really need this break.

Criminy upside-down = hastily-assembled cat from a box of cat parts.

What's going on in Portland?

I’m getting this question a lot. The answer is that it depends on where you look. So look in the right places.

You may be in the habit of relying on national news agencies to learn what’s going on. I get it. But if we want to know what’s really happening, we must look to the local reporters and organizers who are really here and who are really doing the work.

Edited to add: I used to have a PDX News list on Twitter until I understood that compiling this information publicly could potentially put folks in danger. But here’s a list of freelance journalists in Portland and their CashApp/Venmo/PayPal handles. Pay them for their work if you can afford to do so.

And if you are resisting this information, ask yourself why.

There are many reasons why I love Second Life, and here’s another one: STÖMOL is a feature-length sci-fi machinima filmed in Second Life. 🤩

Greetings from Library Takeout! 👋 📚❣️

📚 Real talk: I’m not going to finish this library book in 52 minutes. Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill” is so well-written and so anxiety-inducing to read.

Franchesca Ramsey’s video “5 Tips for Being an Ally” was linked to from Rachel Cargle’s #DoTheWork 30-day challenge. Today I realize that I am very anxious about the future mistakes I will make in learning how to do this work, but that anxiety will not stop me.

Some days are just plain demoralizing. So tonight I’m writing letters to voters in Texas, asking them to vote in November. Want to join me? Sign up with Vote Forward.

Criminy shows you his new favorite chair.

You know me: can’t go too long without ink tests. 🖋 Here are some of my current faves on Tomoe River paper.

Today I learned about the violent and racist origins of American policing from this episode of Throughline. If you are at all interested in history, give the Throughline podcast a listen. I’m consistently impressed with their level of research.

The now of June 2020

Hello, friends! Before I dig into the news of the past few months, I will start with some housekeeping. Going forward, I will post my content to cygnoir.net and syndicate it elsewhere. Some follow-up notes:

  • Facebook and Instagram prevent people from easily syndicating their own content. You won’t see cygnoir.net posts there anymore.
  • You will still see cygnoir.net posts on Mastodon, Micro.blog, Tumblr, and Twitter.
  • If you follow cygnoir.net by email, you may want to unsubscribe, because you’ll be getting a lot more email from this site! (WordPress.com doesn’t allow me to limit email notifications to only long-form posts like this one.)
  • A personal news reader is the easiest way to follow many sites, including cygnoir.net, on your own terms. I recommend NewsBlur.

If you want to know more about why I’m making the switch, read the IndieWeb overview of POSSE, which stands for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.

And now onto the update …

About three months after the COVID-19 pandemic closure of the library building and the transition to remote work, the senior managers and I returned to the building to prepare for part-time onsite work again. And now, with the help of staggered schedules, physical distancing, face coverings, and sanitizing protocols, most of our team is working onsite for roughly half of their week, and working from home the rest of the time. We rolled out our “Library Takeout” service last week, enabling our patrons to make appointments to get their holds in a curbside pickup model. To write it out like that makes it seem so easy, but it has required months of many people brainstorming, planning, and testing to get to this stage. And we have so much more work to do.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a structure and process nerd. I enjoy setting up rules, templates, and procedures because I find it challenging to keep myself motivated when I don’t know what is expected of me. I like knowing the rules because I like knowing when it is important to follow them … and when it is important not to.

The pandemic, then, has precipitated some upheaval in my brainmeats. The rules are made, and then the rules change, sometimes within a week or even a few days. This level of change adds a whole other layer of complexity to communication: in the midst of communicating with my team about a rule change, the rules change again, rendering the initial communication invalid.

And then, on May 25th, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, and a whole bunch of white people woke up all at once. (Why now? I highly recommend the “Why Now, White People?” episode of Code Switch.) And even though I was at a different place on my personal journey of understanding systemic racism, I had a reckoning too. For years, I have avoided speaking about anything “too political” online, avoiding subjects that might cause confrontation with friends, family members, or even strangers. I used my white privilege as a shield to protect me from discomfort. I excused myself from the fight. I opted out because I could.

Can you relate? Can you recall a time when a friend made a racist comment and you did not speak up because you were afraid of hurting their feelings? Or because you were too tired, or felt like you didn’t know what to say, or because you were afraid that you’d make a mistake? I can. And while I am embarrassed to admit that to you, all the embarrassment and guilt that we white people feel now, that all well-intentioned white people have ever felt, doesn’t matter at all. Action matters. And we start with educating ourselves and then getting to work, and doing the work every day for the rest of our lives.

I started my own education by listening to Black activists, which is how I found this shared document of anti-racism resources for white people, which lists books, articles, videos, podcasts, films/television series, and organizations. A few of the books were already on my holds list at the library, so I started with the first one available to check out: So You Want to Talk about Race (public library). Ijeoma Oluo’s book is an excellent primer on systemic racism, well-researched and written in a straightforward way. It is a great place to start.

Loyalty Bookstore, a Black-owned independent bookseller in the DC area, has created an excellent list of anti-racist reading recommendations. I dearly hope that your local public library is sharing lists of anti-racist reading recommendations as well, especially e-books that can be accessed while library buildings are still closed. (Use the LibraryExtension browser add-on if you want to see library holdings on Amazon and Goodreads.) And if your local public library isn’t, well … I have something to say about that.

In fact, I have a lot to say about the pandemic, public libraries, and equity, enough for a whole other post I’ve already started to draft. Damn, it feels good to be writing again.

That’s it from my corner of the world today. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Dismantle white supremacy.

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash.

📚 Read: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book should be required reading for all white Americans trying to educate ourselves about systemic racism. It is not an easy read, nor should it be.

Today two patrons thanked us for flying the Pride flag. 🏳️‍🌈 I hope our LGBTQIA+ patrons and staff feel welcome at our library. And I know that I have more work to do to ensure that everyone truly IS welcome.

Today two patrons thanked us for flying the Pride flag. 🏳️‍🌈 I hope our LGBTQIA+ patrons and staff feel welcome at our library. And I know that I have more work to do to ensure that everyone truly IS welcome.

There is so much we must do to dismantle white supremacy. But there are so many ways to help! If you’re thinking, “I need to educate myself first,” then have I got a resource for you! Your library card is one tool in this fight. Ask me how to use it!

There is so much we must do to dismantle white supremacy. But there are so many ways to help! If you’re thinking, “I need to educate myself first,” then have I got a resource for you! Your library card is one tool in this fight. Ask me how to use it!

An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍

I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.