Monday, August 6, 2018

2018 Summer Library Series: Two Libraries by Lane Falcon

How fast the summer flies once its wings catch wind! Flowers bloomed, grass died, sprinklers worked or broke, and hopefully, you have read books in your window, by the lake, or from various lawn chairs. Amidst all of this, the 2018 Summer Library Series got lost in July--but, thankfully, August has rediscovered it, and the series will resume and run through September.  

Every week, writers will share library memories from their childhoods. This week, poet Lane Falcon remembers two times, twenty years apart, in which she found herself in the library. I hope you'll find yourself in your own library very soon.


Two Libraries 


Lane Falcon

Lane Falcon, high-school era
I admit, the library didn’t figure largely into my life until I was pregnant with my daughter Cecilia, and alone, in New York City. As a child, my fondest memory of the library happened in high school, in Palos Park, Illinois, when I earned a detention for performing a back walkover behind the shelves, egged on by a daring friend, whom I later lost touch with.

The principal couldn’t help but crack a smile when he listed the offense. I’d been reported by my English teacher, Ms. Such and Such, who I didn’t realize had a view of my acrobatics behind the shelves from the table where she sat.

This teacher never did like me, or so it seemed— complimenting my poinsettia tights and writing me up for wearing too-short shorts once in the same class—but in retrospect she was probably not too far off from where I am today: Thirty-Something and Frustrated.

The principal said he had never given a detention for doing back flips in the library, but he gave it to me anyways. I was no longer afraid of being yelled at by that point, but felt relieved that he hadn’t scorned me for being a show-off or a jackass--the edge of delinquency excusable in a young girl in too short a skirt with big orange flowers splashed across her legs.

Lane Falcon
Some twenty years later, I was living in New York City, and the library appeared with pregnancy. Though I was making nearly six figures at the time, didn’t own a car and had minimal bills, I was still convinced that I'd go broke with a child, would no longer enjoy the luxury of regular manicures and pedicures, and would resort to dyeing my own hair (which, I swear, stress was sucking the color from). I had been living in a state of three-new-books-a-month-delivered-from-Amazon-to-my-office cush that, along with cabs to work and daily excursions for mocha chip soy Frappuccinos with an extra shot of espresso, I could no longer take for granted. So I turned to my local library for answers.

The library is located across from the Dykeman subway stop, and up until the week I was due, I’d visit at least once a week after work, pee in the soiled-smelling bathroom, pick out a few books, pee again and then rush the five blocks home so I could pee again. I remember a few of the books I checked out during that time. The Stand by Stephen King, some book about rich yuppie parents having sleazy hook-ups in Prospect Heights, good ole’ Harlan Cobens, Kristin Hannahs probably…most embarrassingly of all, I even remember reading The Lucky One by Nicolas Sparks. In my third trimester, I hit some kind of stride, accepting the platforms— the public library, the subway— where pregnancy grounded me. That was one of the happiest times of my life.


Lane Falcon and her daughter Ceci,
photo used with permission
Today's library writer:

Lane Falcon lives in Alexandria, VA with her two young children. She has an MFA in Poetry from Smith. Her poems have been published in The American Poetry JournalThe Cortland Review, OmniversePankSixfold, and more. She is at work finishing a collection. She works in communications and fundraising.


Enjoy more library reflections from writers who have contributed to this summer and summers past: