Why I’m Not a Librarian

I’ve been reading more lately.  And thinking a lot about books lately.  This is not an entirely unusual state of affairs, because any writer worth their salt reads as much as they possibly can.  It is simply not possible to be a writer unless you read constantly.

But I’ve been even more engrossed in books lately, due to having started a companion site devoted to books.  Trust me, this is not a bad state of affairs.  Next to writing, reading is my most favorite activity.

However, all this reading and pondering the world of books and authors has also had me thinking about another question: since I love books so much, why do I feel so compelled to write them?  I mean, wouldn’t my life be about 1,000 times less stressful if I was satisfied to limit my love for books to reading them?

This query is akin to the secretary question, which is, why couldn’t I have been happy being a secretary?  (And please, I mean absolutely no disrespect to secretaries).  Why couldn’t I have been satisfied having a stable, nine-to-five job?  Why do I feel compelled to make my living as a free-lance writer?

Good questions, all.  Too bad I don’t have the answers.

Partial blame goes to my father, the late Lewis Jesse Rains, a lifelong small business owner who was fiercely independent until the day he died.  He drilled that independence into the heads of his four daughters, repeatedly telling us not to take the easy way out, that having one’s own business was the only way to go.  Of course, he didn’t really expect his daughters, as females, to create their own businesses, he expected our husbands to.    And he died broke, after his beloved printing business went bankrupt.

Guess that is what you would call a mixed message. 

Sometimes I think I should have paid more attention to the dark side of his example.  But the truth of the matter is that I’ve tried working for other people.  In recent history, I even held down a part-time job for something like two whole years.  But I’m not good at working for other people.  I resent having to be at work at a certain time.  It always happened that I’d just be gaining steam on a writing project when it was time for me to leave for work.  And after awhile that resentment built to where I’d get careless and sloppy on the job.

So it really is best that I work for myself.  And since the only thing I really know how to do well is write, I guess you’re stuck with me. 

Though its probably not too late to go back to school to become a librarian.

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Roy Burkhead
Roy Burkhead

Hi Charlotte: Enjoyed your entry. I feel the constant pull between the desire to write and the need/joy to read. I try to always be reading something. I hear fables about those who can read multiple books at a time. Not me. I’m a one book kind of guy. Just finished reading a screenplay (part of studying the art of dialogue). And tonight, I began reading a biography of Hemingway. Enjoyed reading about your pop. My dad, too, ran his own small business, and I spent all of my afternoons during high school working in it until time to go… Read more »


As a former librarian, how could I not comment? 😉 It’s a great thing to be able to do what you want, to have the talent and the willpower to make it happen, to create the life you want to have, which you have done. Just imagine those people who have day jobs AND write, go out and work 40 hours+, coming home to pound out their frustrations, venting their creativity on a keyboard. When I did have such a job (more like a 40 – 50 hours a week, none of it spent reading books), I couldn’t have possibly… Read more »