We're so excited to hear from Cassie Marketos this week. Cassie is both a wonderful writer and member of Uncommon. Her previous dispatch, What could happen in a minute?, was a favorite and we've been eager to share something from her again. Enjoy!
I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. This seems like a funny thing to say when — by most accounts — I’m actually already an adult. I'm twenty-eight years old. I have my own apartment, a savings account, and a reasonable job history. I've had some time to think about getting things right, but I have always been, and continue to be, supremely disinterested in the questions: What do you want to do? What is your dream career?
Honestly? I don’t know.
There’s no one specific thing. In fact, career-wise, I’m happy getting by while doing just about anything. My Dad would call this unfocused. On my more optimistic days, I consider it “open minded.”
Rather than a specific type of job I’d like to have, there’s a certain type of life I’d like to live: one that’s inconsistently scheduled and consistently varied. One with the space to cook dinner for my friends on a Monday night, occasional gestative silences, and the freedom to work weekends instead of weekdays, travel, or even switch cities, entirely, in the winter. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work at all. I love to work, but I crave day-to-day variety and diversity of commitment.
So, what do I want to do? Anything, honestly. Most anything is fine.
There are a lot of jobs out there that enable the kind of life that I hope to live, and I don’t much mind doing any of them. Right now, I’m a customer service specialist by night and a world traveler by day. I’ve been from Paris to Bangkok to Costa Rica and back again, all while fielding late night queries about website functionality and credit card issues. I’m glad to be able to live the life that I do and, as a result, I’m great at doing the work that supports it — but, still, that job could be any job.
In the end, I’m not counting on a career to make me happy. Being able to see the world, meet new people, have some say in how I structure my day — those are the things that I wake up and live for.
That’s what makes me who I am. — Cassie
Last week's dispatch asked, Do you have a favorite library memory?
I have always enjoyed the quiet peace of any library, all libraries. Even as a child at school, I found an almost-churchlike feeling of space and peace in such places. I'm hard-pressed to pick one favorite library memory, but enjoying a hot cup of tea on the seventh floor of Amsterdam's public library -- overlooking the city from its centre -- is certainly up there!
The bookmobile! That blessed bibliotheque on wheels the library system provided for county residents who were somewhat removed from any brick-and-mortar branches.<br><br>About a mile from my rural home was a crossroads. In one corner was a gravel lot in which sat a small grocery store with two gasoline pumps. Once a week in the summer (I believe it was on Tuesday) the bookmobile could be found parked beside the two newspaper boxes. Visitors entered a door at the front of this large bus of books, perused its collection, most of which were selections for patrons of my tender age, and, after a couple of minutes at the checkout desk, exited the rear door.<br><br>Mother made certain I never missed snagging my weekly armload of books, and the memories of those times are some of my most vivid and my happiest.
I was too young to recount a specific moment, at this prompt I am flooded with a sense of a space, a dank smell of basement books, the crinkle of laminated covers, of the friendly and rotund librarian. My mom used to take my younger brother and I to story time hours at Peabody Library. Librarians read us a few children's books, and there was always a themed craft to go along with the week's selection. <br><br>I distinctly remember graduating from a children's library card only good for the collection in the basement with the children's stickers on the spine, on to an adult card, good for main library's entire collection upstairs. And I remember running laps around the park that surrounds the library in the summer rain during cross country practice in the weeks leading up to the start of the fall semester.
My favorite library memory must be studying during college in UCSD's Geisel Library, AKA the spaceship. Something about the architecture of the building and its interior, with so many tucked away spaces, made me enjoy my time there even more. I would go for 8 or 10-hour stretches to study for exams sometimes and it was always an interesting experience. I won't soon forget that place or the many memories I have tied up in its environs.
When I was a kid, we used to go to the Richardson Public Library and check out a stack of children's books to read. My favorites were always the Dorrie books by Patricia Coombs. ("Dorrie and the Blue Witch", "Dorrie and the Witch Doctor", "Dorrie and the Screebit Ghost"...) There were a dozen of them at least, and they were all about a little witch named Dorrie and her mother (the big witch) and her black cat, Gink. Being born on Halloween, I was always a witchy little girl and loved these stories. And it's no coincidence that I have a fifteen-year-old black cat named Gink. :) <br><br>For many years, I quit going to the library. I wanted to own all my books. But finally I realized I can't own them all, and I discovered the joys of the library once again. I now visit my local branch weekly to check out books, movies, TV shows, and audio books, and I love it. Beyond the money-saving aspects and the positive community experience, these days I'm also drawn to the delayed gratification of putting something on hold and waiting for my turn to enjoy it. (I'm currently #19 on the list for Game of Thrones Season 3!)
As a kid I read a lot of books. One of the librarians, who knew me from school as her son was in my class, let me have the adult allowance of 6 books rather than the normal children's allowance of 3. I got books out on a lot of different topics. One time I got a book out on double entry book-keeping. It was vaguely interesting at the time. I didn't realize how useful it would be until I started supporting finance software when a knowledge of the subject proved very useful!
My life has been shaped by library experiences, all worthy contenders for favorite memories. Would it be the elementary school librarian who wondered if I visited our library so often just to get out of class? (I was a little proud that my pace of a book every day or two would raise suspicions). How about visiting the amazing libraries in the Chicago suburbs as a young newlywed, checking out fiction, CDs, and cookbooks with wild abandon and zero damage to our tiny income? Or as a mom, sharing library love with our son and watching his progress from picture books to fat chapter books he'd devour in record time? But if I had to pick one, I think it would be getting up early on Saturday mornings to run errands with my mom. I knew she'd always manage to fit in a trip to the library if I accompanied her. I'd check out a stack of books, and when we got home I'd dive into my brown velour bean bag and escape into a different world. I found myself in books—they let me try on new identities, experience adventures far beyond my own bravery, dream about who I could become, and develop a kinship with words so strong that they grew into my life's work.
When you were growing up, what was your dream job?