This post is going to be slightly more personal than some of my other posts but I was reading another blog and it gave me a hook I was looking for. Captain Awkward is a fantastic advice site where much of what’s said boils down to trust yourself, be good to yourself and have a strong Team You. The post linked above is a tricky one about a guy who’s not having a lot of luck dating because he has some issues that he’s bringing into it. Warning for misogyny in his comments but the reason I’m linking isn’t for him. I’m making this connection because in the comments, the Awkward Army and the Captain speak of how important it is to go out and do what you want, be around people that you want to like and that you enjoy. Someone even points out how this isn’t too different from finding a way to do what you love whether its volunteering or working.
This is where I come in, for the past year and at the moment, I’m in the midst of a difficult job search. I’m preparing to move back to the East Coast, where I’ll have more family support as I work. Something that I have been doing in this year and while attending my program was doing my best to be a part of activities that reflect what I hope to do as a librarian.
This past weekend I volunteered with Kids Read Comics, which puts together a small con for kids to talk to artists, make their own comics and be a part of the vibrant world of comics. I at first wasn’t certain how much I would be able to participate since that weekend I was working Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In the end I was able to pick up an artist on Friday night and volunteer for a little over three hours on Sunday. Kids Read Comics lifted up a strange weekend for me as I connected with artists, fellow librarians and was simply among people doing what they loved. The strange weekend was due to the fact that I lost power on Thursday and Friday and the poor artist’s bus was an hour late and she got to see rather more of Ann Arbor than anticipated.
I have a few memories of Friday and Sunday that reminded me why I want to work as a youth librarian and help with organizations like Kids Read Comics. The first was the fact that when I picked up the artist, she was amazed that I was able to figure out who she was, there were no pictures on her website. The simple answer was of all the people getting off the bus and looking for someone, she seemed the most like someone I’d be friends with. She had a fun shirt and her hair was dyed a beautiful color, which to me read as ah creative person and I was right.
On Sunday, the main way I helped out was by manning two artists booths while they went off and ate and enjoyed themselves. While I was sitting there, I had the pleasure of helping all the little kids searching for clues for a game going on and two memorable conversations. The first was with an older woman, she proudly told me she was 72 and that her grandson read manga and comics. We got to talking about what is manga and how comics have changed. It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic she was about what her grandson was reading and later at the con, I saw her sitting and talking with an artist. She even grinned at me then and told me that she went and found an artist to talk to. The second conversation was with a quite shy teenager who was carrying around her sketchpad, but who opened up in time. It was wonderful to see her taking the risk of being there with her work and approaching artists. It felt like those of us there might have been able to show her that she’s not alone or unusual, but instead part of a living community. That at least was how I felt as I talked to artists, hauled stuff and reveled at being in a great library with people who cared. Everyone I talked to was interested and wanted to share what they were doing and learn what everyone else was doing.
It turns out a common thing for artists to do is to make a swap of art, which made me smile. I’m a writer and among my friends, a common birthday gift is I’ll write you a story. There’s a great generosity among creative people and it was a pleasure to help however I could that day.
To return to Captain Awkward and where I began, as I’ve struggled with my job search, the times I’ve put myself out there to be where I want to work have always been wonderful. It’s such a simple truth but one that’s easy to forget. Even if your search for X,Y and Z isn’t working, still go and be with people you like and where you want to be. Then in time, the right job or the right person will find you because you’re in a good place.