Monday, June 13, 2011

Data Obscura

by Laura Bickle

I adore exotic facts. I get to explore a lot of them through my writing: spontaneous human combustion, Tarot, astrology, dark matter, elementals, things that glow in the dark. Research is the thing I love most about writing. I have permission to explore all kinds of topics, chase ideas down rabbit holes.

But I also get to do that when I'm not writing. When I'm not writing, I'm working behind the information desk at a library. I get an endless succession of really neat questions:

"I'm traveling to Costa Rica. Can you find me a travel guide?"

"My son is doing a report on backyard birds. What do you have that explains robins to a second-grader?"

"I need to find a way to compare digital camera ratings and prices."

"Do you have any resources about elder care?"

"I'm doing a paper on mythology. What can you tell me about Pele?"

"I need twenty books about Hawaii for my preschool class. Lots of things with pictures."

"I'd like to learn about Chinese painting."

"I'm looking for a map of bike paths in the city."

"Do you know who wrote and illustrated Y: THE LAST MAN?"

"Where can I find instructions about washing machine repair?"

"My mother is learning English. Do you have any classes that would help her?"

"I'm doing a paper on feminism in Europe. Can you tell me who the major figures were?"

"Where are your Justin Bieber books?"

"I need some books on Braille."

"What's the second book in the Redwall series?"

"Where can I take a class on embroidery?"

"I need to find out about network security."

"Can you help me with studying for the MCAT?"

"I want to learn Mandarin."

"I'm trying to locate original films in which Harry Houdini starred."

It's always something different. I learn something new every day through these questions, and I'm grateful for the chance to keep chasing down answers.



  1. And now you got me looking up some of these things! Agh, i'm such an info-geek!

  2. This is going to be a bad week for you, Sullivan. And now I totally want to learn Mandarin...

  3. I'm not sure which terrifies me more -- that you knew all the answers to those questions...or that you now know all the answers to those questions.

    ~backs away slowly while planning a Trivia cage match between Jeffe and Laura~

  4. I constantly thank God and the universe for the internet! Makes it so much easier to look these things up! And I can spend hours browsing from one article to the next, just love it! (ok sometimes I also grumble at how much time it sucked from my schedule ;-p) I love tidbits and trivia too! :-D

  5. Hee...what, no teasing about having to locate Justin Bieber books? ;-)

  6. @Laura: Am I an ignorant piggy for not knowing who Justin Bieber is? *runs off to google this JB*

  7. NOOOOO! Don't, Sullivan! NOOOOOO!

  8. And the poor piggy falls victim to curiosity. I thought it was supposed to kill cats -

    I hadn't thought about the coolness of learning all kinds of information while working in a library. I'm feeling a little envious now.

  9. And look - Sullivan never came back. He fell into the Bieber Black Hole. Should we send a rescue party?

  10. Yes! We must mount a rescue party to save Sullivan!