Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Nook

The nook was in the stairwell when I bought the house, and nothing that I put in it seemed to fill it properly. Eventually I asked Lisa Snellings to make me a statue to go in the nook, and she did. She came out to the house one Guy Fawkes day about eight years ago and installed it. It had a motion sensor, so that when something moved nearby, the jester would move, jerking a harlequin up so that as the angel turned her head they'd miss each other, and then there was a frog who would raise an umbrella, and a rat who just watched...

It looked wonderful. I think the cats wore out the motion sensor, though. They'd set it off and then the statue would move and then the cats would dart up and downstairs some more: it never stopped. The statue barely stopped moving until one day it stopped for good. I kept meaning to get it off to Lisa Snellings to repair, but never quite got around to it.

Then my son Mike and his friends turned up marginally the worse for wear one night last month, and some of the friends were, um, a bit rumbunctuous, which meant that a statue that had sat in its nook for years and years was suddenly face down on the stairs. Miraculously, it was unharmed (Holly wisely stopped them from trying to put it back in the niche), and I moved it, carefully, into my bedroom for safe-keeping.

I have no idea why I thought this would be a good idea.

A small horde of drunk and apologetic twenty-one year olds knocking it out of its nook somehow inflicted no damage on it at all. One entirely sober author in his forties, on the other hand, wearing boots, taking one step backwards in his bedroom without looking where he was going, and suddenly, following a loud crunching sound, that frog was no longer going to wave his umbrella without medical assistance.

So I finally sent the statue back to Lisa Snellings and asked her if she'd please just make it all better.

She sent me an e-mail this morning letting me know she's starting to fix the statue today, and will be documenting it on her journal, and I promised to send people over to look at it.

You can see Lisa and the statue at (click on the photo for a larger image).

And follow the first of her posts about restoring it (and the Bill Hicks Foundation for Wildlife) at


You know, I love librarians. I really love librarians. I love librarians when they crusade not to be stereotyped as librarians. I love librarians when they're just doing those magic things that librarians do. I love librarians when they're the only person in a ghost town looking after thousands of books. I love the ALA and am proud to be on one of their posters.

On the other hand, I feel the love diminishing a tad when I read an article by the president-elect of the ALA, and find myself unable to decide whether it's mostly that a) he's simply a very, very bad writer, or b) he lacks any skills of a diplomatic nature, or it's just c) he really believes that statements like "Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts" are somehow going to disabuse people who keep blogs, journals and such from believing or repeating the calumny that "Michael Gorman is an idiot" (someone apparently said this on a blog, he tells us, expecting us to feel an outrage on his behalf I somehow wasn't able to muster). (Surely, if you're upset that someone called you an idiot, the wisest course of action would be not to write an odd screed that will itself convince many people who haven't heard of you before reading it that this is in fact the case.)

There are a great many wise and sensible librarians out there, lots of whom have been keeping blogs as long as there have been blogs around, and all of whom understand that the people who can and do read and write and comment on what they read and write are probably not the enemy. Can some of you take your president-elect aside and suggest to him that articles like don't put him, or the profession, in the best possible light? And tell that there are some fine blogs out there, too.

(thanks to

A blog I'm currently hugely enjoying is -- you always wanted your comics fact checked, didn't you?

And I've just read an article that articulated the difference between English smiles and American smiles, and I realised I knew exactly what they were talking about, and had done for ages without knowing it...,,1-523-1491935-523,00.html

Finally, an excellent article by Michael Dirda on H.P. Lovecraft and the Library of America edition of his work, that illuminates why some of us love Lovecraft in spite of the occasional lumps of clotted adjectival froth that can turn up from time to time in the prose:
He actually competed in an ice-cream eating contest and was reportedly offered the editorship of a periodical called the Magazine of Fun, we learn. I now want to write a story about the H. P. Lovecraft Magazine of Fun.