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Black River
Four starred reviews for this debut that will turn readers' hearts inside out.
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Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

Created: 01/08/16

Replies: 6

Posted Jan. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

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Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

Wesley reflects that the riot lasted a mere 36 hours, but that for him the effects have lasted more than 20 years. Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?


Posted Jan. 11, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

Yes I have. Somehow I manage to make the most of my situation and weather the bad and embrace the good no matter how short lived. When life gives you lemons make lemonade.


Posted Jan. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannewny

Join Date: 01/10/16

Posts: 20

RE: Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

Yes I did. What happened was completely out of my control. There was no choice other than to try and make the best of it.


Posted Jan. 14, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 23

RE: Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

I'm not sure we can always make lemonade or the 'best' of it when bad things happen to us. Sometimes we can only survive for the sake of the others around us. We can't deny the tragedy of uncontrolled events in our lives, but we can struggle to find a pathway to tomorrow. I think to some extent Wes is a broken man trying to find a crutch to keep him going. Not unlike many of us who have wounds and lose of loved ones.


Posted Jan. 14, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rorya

Join Date: 09/18/13

Posts: 10

RE: Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

Before I decided I wanted to work in libraries, be they school or public (although my career goal is to wind up at Lied Library at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, one of two libraries in Southern Nevada I would live in if I could, the other being the Boulder City Library in Boulder City), I was in journalism in a minor fashion.

I had written movie reviews for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Teentime pages, found in the back of their now-defunct weekend Showtime section, and kept on writing movie reviews also for various websites, and then reached The Signal, the exclusive newspaper of the Santa Clarita Valley, 30 minutes north of Los Angeles. I started out as an intern, transcribing reporters' tapes, finding interesting entertainment articles off the AP newswire for the paper's weekend Escape section, and learning whatever I could from the reporters there.

A few months after I started, John Boston, the 30-year veteran of the newspaper, asked me to join him as associate editor of the Escape section, which he was taking over. I wrote columns for that section, including a series called "From My Netflix Queue," and attempts at humor writing, such as one from the perspective of an orangutan who served as the inspiration for King Louie in Walt Disney's "The Jungle Book," who thought they were going to use his voice, too, and thought he was going to become famous from that.

The then-owners of The Signal were ruthless. John Boston was the soul of that newspaper, after such stalwarts as the Newhalls, who originally owned the paper, had left years before, and they wouldn't pay him what he was worth. So he decided that it was time to leave, and I became the interim editor of Escape for five issues, until they found someone new to take it over.

The only reason I don't get so easily flustered when the day becomes hectic in the elementary school library I work in is because those five weeks were the most stressful I had ever experienced. I had fun putting the section together, editing columns from contributors, but those deadlines. Oh, those deadlines. They're made of barbed wire, stealthily-hidden explosives, and that Barney "I Love You, You Love Me" song running on a loop. The only relief I got in the job was mining the AP newswire for more unique articles, entertainment and otherwise for the Escape section, something interesting to elevate the section.

I fell into the biggest pit of hell in that job when I was editing my own piece about trying to find meaning in the Santa Clarita Valley, which is mainly known for many TV shows filming there, such as "NCIS," which is based out of Santa Clarita Studios in Valencia, and the fact that if you want to do anything interesting there, you have either Six Flags Magic Mountain or you leave for the day and go to Anaheim, Burbank, Van Nuys, Ventura, or even Palmdale, which, to me, is the only true desert in Southern California.

I sat there for three hours, trying to pick out exactly what I could salvage from that piece. It felt too long, so let's start there. I cut a few lines in each paragraph, replacing them with shorter thoughts. But it still didn't feel right. Was it the valley itself that didn't inspire meaning, or was it that I couldn't make meaning out of what I was trying to define? But the deadline was screaming in my ear. I had to let it go to press.

After a new editor was hired, and turned out to have a total lack of imagination, I decided to leave The Signal. I half-heartedly wrote a few more "From My Netflix Queue" columns from home and then quit entirely. No more journalism industry for me. No more potential ulcer farms. Being an editor, being involved in a newspaper that deeply for five weeks was more than enough, and even though I received some nice e-mails from readers who enjoyed what I was doing, no more for me.

I think that did impact my future for good because I then began thinking of what I really loved in my life, and libraries are one of the peaks on that mountain of a list. I guess it was bound to happen that I would end up working in a school, as my dad's been teaching for 30 years. Genetic inevitability, though I didn't know it was twined that tightly within me. Yet here I am, and it makes sense. Being an elementary school library aide feels right. I don't have any doubts in this job like I had when considering other careers.

But nothing, absolutely nothing, can compare with that stress. It was a quiet newsroom most of the time, but those deadlines screaming in your head can get to you.


Posted Jan. 15, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 279

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RE: Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

Thanks for that, roryr. Would you have bypassed those stressful months if you could have, though? I tend to think that I wouldn't trade the bad times I've had for anything, as I'm very content with who/where I am in my life. Omitting an event like that would doubtless mean I wouldn't have wound up here. Hope that makes sense!

:::-)::


Posted Jan. 15, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rorya

Join Date: 09/18/13

Posts: 10

RE: Have you had unexpected events in your life that drastically impacted your future for good or for bad?

You're welcome.

As I write this, I'm at work, sitting at my check-in/check-out desk, looking around at an empty library. The 5th grade class of the day has come and gone quickly because the 3rd grade is performing a concert on stage in the cafeteria and they had to get there. This is the peace in between that I crave and sometimes get, like today. I love those moments when a library feels like it's regrouping, breathing a bit, and getting ready for the next classes, ready for them to get the books they want. That's what it's all about for me, along with helping teachers as they need it in getting books related to whatever they're teaching. One 5th grade teacher, after the social studies unit on colonial times that she's teaching, has presidents next. I'm enormously passionate about presidential history, so I'm excited for that unit. And I know where all the presidential biographies and other books related to the presidents are.

I mention all this because I thought about your question while I was shelving the books the 5th grade class returned. I don't think I would have had all this without going through those stressful months. And I don't think I would have bypassed those months, nor would I want to. Because without those, I wouldn't be here.

When I wrote a little bit at a time for the Sun-Sentinel, I wanted to become a full-time film critic. One day, my editor invited me and my parents to tour the newsroom in Fort Lauderdale, and one of my proudest moments, besides also having the honor of meeting the fashion columnist Sherri Winston, was sitting at the desk of film critic Todd Anthony. I wanted to be in that chair permanently, and I told my editor so. I was so sure that that's where I wanted to be.

If I bypassed those stressful months at The Signal, I wouldn't have realized how tired I was getting of reviewing movies after I left. It became the same hamster-wheel feeling: Hollywood's embarrassments released in January, big blockbusters for the summer, and the industry desperate for Oscar glory in the fall (although it seems that Hollywood is gradually changing, what with the new Star Wars movie released last month, and perhaps they might spread out the Oscar contenders during the year, because for film critics I still know, there was a glut of movies they didn't have the chance to see because the studios lumped them all together to try to get something out of it), and DVD reviewing wasn't as fun anymore either.

If I bypassed those stressful months, who knows? MAYBE I would still be in journalism in some capacity, although with the industry tanking as it has, I'm glad I'm not. You might have read the hullabaloo nationally about the sale of the Las Vegas Review-Journal to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and the shady dealings that accompanied it. When I read it, I thought about those beleaguered reporters in that newsroom, not sure who was in charge, worried if they'd still have a job. I sympathize with them. And I didn't want anything like that to happen to me.

As low as the salary is in my new job, it's at least here, it's stable, it's always needed. But more than that, I'm doing it for two reasons: One, I want these students to see and know all the resources of a library, that they're always available to them, and that there's so much for them to explore. At this point in their lives, what they know is their school, their friends, and where they live and what they do during the weekends, and their routines on schooldays, etc. But it's all based in one area. Books can take them further and show them the wider world, what they can experience as they grow up, what would be available to them if they're interested in this or that.

The second reason is a selfish one: I need a job in the future. As can be gleaned from the first paragraph of my previous reply, I don't want to retire in this school district. I want to get to Lied Library. And the best way of hopefully securing that job in the future, besides gaining this institutional experience right now, is to get these kids reading and hopefully enjoying reading. And even if they don't read as often (though I do try to help make it more and more often), I want them to know that the library is always there for them for whenever they want it.

I agree with your thought, kimk. It makes perfect sense. Better than I knew then that journalism was not for me rather than still struggling through it, thinking I might get somewhere in it, when that would never be guaranteed. Plus, with the exception of the reasonable deadlines for the book reviews here, I don't do well with daily deadlines like that. I'm glad I found that out, too.


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