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Learning, Thinking, And Questioning

I was scheduled from 9 PM to 6 AM. The library was being re-carpeted. My job that night was to be in the building and make sure that the carpet-layers didn’t spend all their time reading Jane Austen and Stephenie Meyer.

I had never been so excited to go to “work.” I figured that I would let everyone leave, then throw a kettlebell around or do some bodyweight conditioning.

But I was lured away by a book, just like I am every time there are books around.

I sat at the desk and read while the carpeters tore up the floor and banged on things. The smell of industrial-strength glue filled the air. They turned on a radio and a few of them sang along.

The book I was reading prompted more ideas and more questions. I grabbed another book to verify what I was reading. When I took a break it was to go watch the moon come over the mountains.

The carpet guys finished at about two in the morning. I barely noticed them leave. When my relief came at 6, I had about 30 books on the desk around me and a few more on the floor.  About half of them were open. I had filled up 75% of a notebook with doodles and questions, my own little piece of performance art that could be called “More curious than tired.”

“Go get some sleep,” said the other librarian. And all I could think was: But I’m not finished yet. I have voluntary insomnia.

The sun always comes up. The clock keeps on ticking. My hairline keeps receding and  one day I’ll be dead. But from this day until that one, this is all the motivation I need to stay excited and happy:

Learning never has to end. We’re not finished yet.


PS: Speaking of learning, I’ve got a few spots left for the workshop Adam Glass and I are teaching in Salt Lake City on July 31! It’s going to wrap up with a massive BBQ and a strongman performance. Details here.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave June 24, 2010, 5:36 am

    I clearly remember throughout my early teen years hanging out in the Reference stacks at closing–hoping I would be “locked-in” for the night. The thought of spending the night–alone–with all those books…

    Actually, I think “Sleep-overs in the Stacks” would be a fantastic fundraiser. Hmmm…..

    • Josh Hanagarne June 24, 2010, 2:09 pm

      I agree. Hurry and do it before I steal the idea.

  • Laura Cococcia June 24, 2010, 5:50 am

    Hey friend – I’m with you. Learning is life-long…as much as I can do to shape my life as a classroom, I do. Includes travel, classes, talking to people, and of course, reading. Of course, not all of this is perfectly done all the time, but when I go in with that attitude, the curiosity just builds momentum.

    Just my two cents. Got The Knot and am diving into it next week when I go to Ecuador!!l

    • Josh Hanagarne June 24, 2010, 2:08 pm

      Glad to hear it. Tell Ecuador I say “orale!”

  • Todd June 24, 2010, 6:17 am

    Oh good, I’m not the only one that does this sort of thing–It begins with something that I want/need to do. Then I am distracted by something shiny. My friend at church calls it a squirrel moment (from the movie “Up”). Then before I know it, hours have passed as I delve into a given topic. Typically this has something to do with guns, cars, or our blog.

    BTW, that I looked to see if I could make it for your class with Adam. I just can’t get away in July. If you do it again later in the year, keep us posted.

    • Josh Hanagarne June 24, 2010, 2:08 pm

      There are lots of shiny things out there, but I really don’t have trouble focusing unless there are books around.

  • Ana June 26, 2010, 11:20 am

    That happens to me all the time.

    But I really have a problem concetrating if I’m not doing something I like. My mom is always saying I get myself distracted even with the nothing (because I can even be distracted for hours, just thinking).

    And it happens to me not being able to sleep if I still haven’t read the entire book. Or the whole collection…
    As soon as I finish reading it I’ll sleep as a rock but, until then, just let me read.