Happy Birthday, Miss Nelle

Instant information is not for me.  I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it.

Harper Lee

I am not like Harper Lee.  Instant information is for me.  I learn from it and remember what I learn.  Another way I’m not like Harper Lee is that I’ve never published a novel.  I’ve never even written one.  If I do write one and manage to get it published, I bet I’ll publish more than one, again unlike Harper Lee.

Don’t get me wrong, I remember loving To Kill a Mockingbird.  But why has Harper Lee not published another novel? Maybe her debut and only novel was a fluke.  Maybe it was a novel written and exposed at a perfect time.  Maybe it was a piece of shit.  I’ll have to reread it some time.  And maybe research why Harper Lee never published another novel.  Guess how I will do that research?  Search library stacks?  Nope.  Search Google.  Instant information.

I feel, though, that there is something nice about searching library stacks.  The smell.  The feel of the texture of the paper and the bindings and the covers.  The thought that before those books made it into those stacks, they had to pass a test. No, they had to pass many tests.  A writer who knew she may only have one shot at this spent years crafting and re-crafting and self doubting and sacrificing to get those words onto some paper.  An editor, an agent, a publisher all had to decide those words on that paper were worth sacrificing their time and doubting and sacrificing.  Then many readers chose to read those words.  Enough so that librarians chose those books to put in their stacks.  So every word you find when you search those stacks has value. Not just anyone can put those words there.  Unlike my Google search, Harper Lee’s library stack search finds pre-vetted information.

It would be interesting to explore the relative merits and drawbacks to both ways of searching.  But not tonight. I am on deadline to publish these un-vetted words…

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