Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It says: “live people ignore the strange and unusual.”

I myself am…strange and unusual. My propensity for oddness and, some might say, questionable behavior, interests, and inclinations, began in the summer of 1984. I’m told I was a precious two year old, except one of my aunts was certainly frightened of me. You see, I used to growl at her. Nobody else. Just her, always her, never anything but...the growl. If she came within a certain range of where I was standing, sitting, or being held, I would emit a deep throaty growl. It is my theory that whatever caused this little quirk is also what is responsible for me blazing my trail through the darker side of the trees.

I was born and raised in a small town in the extreme northwestern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan known as the Copper Country. I could do the ‘hands thing' if you ever bump into me face to face, but for now, you’ll have to wait with bated breath. An isolated rural life, particularly in an environment that has a rich and colorful history, tends to be fertile ground for the imagination. From a young age I’ve been a make believer. Trees that tell you where to find buried bones, secret portals to other worlds through the red security light on the lamppost at the end of my street, Freddy Krueger (complete with a red convertible!) living in the abandoned copper mill site beyond the cedar trees by my house, and the Devil’s brother jumping in my dad’s underwear on the clothesline are just a few of the yarns I used to spin for myself and others.

Along with ‘playing pretend’ and storytelling, I fell deeply madly in love with reading. The stranger the better. The more the scarier. The strict librarian at my school wouldn’t let me check out the scary books when I was in grade school without a permission slip from home. Thanks be to my hippie mom for happily signing the slip.

Years later, I still feel a lot like that same little girl. I still growl a little. I still walk on that dark side a smidge. As a children’s librarian with the DC Public Library system, I still have the same love of books, reading, and sharing stories. I hope to contribute to this blog by reviewing books you may have heard of and those that are easily borrowed from your local library. Beyond that, I hope to come up with some obscure titles that you may need to scour the used book shops, second-hand book sites, or your uncle’s basement (tell him its not good to keep his books there) to find. Despite the fact that this blog has a specific target audience, I think we can all benefit from it. Can’t all of us use a little dash of strangeness? Don’t we all get in the mood for a good scare?

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