By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
If you didn’t know, we keep office space at the Olive Hill branch of the Carter County Public Library – 120 Comet Drive, up on the hill, on the third floor. If you need to talk to me, you can sometimes find me there on Mondays, writing, and on Wednesdays in the afternoon. Or we can schedule a time to meet up there. That second is probably the better option, because I’m rarely in the office long even when I’m there.
Lately I’ve taken to doing a lot of writing from inside area restaurants while I nurse multiple cups of coffee and have a bite to eat. I’m currently writing this while waiting for my MVP Breakfast at Huddle House. Last week’s football coverage was written at Sweet Life, over a cup of Goose Bridle coffee and a chocolate chip cannoli. Walker’s is another favorite writing spot, either for a full meal or a slice of pie and cup of coffee.
It’s nice to have the library available because it can be hard to write at home. Even with a nice, dedicated space, there are distractions that you can’t ignore. A dog that needs to go out to pee. A toddler that needs your attention for any of 100 possible things, from diaper changes to empty cups to broken toys – all equally important to him. All the household chores you think you could or should be doing instead. The television playing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme for the 5 trillionth time.
It can be hard to concentrate. It’s why a lot of my writing at home takes place at night, while everyone else is in bed.
But even though I need a distraction-free space, sometimes the library can be too quiet. After years of writing in busy newsrooms, and in tech-industry cubicle farms, I sometimes need a little hustle and bustle around me. Not anyone who needs my attention, but some background noise that isn’t music or the radio, both of which can suck me in and demand my attention.
I find that snippets of overheard conversation can be interesting too. Not the whole story. No eavesdropping. But phrases you can’t help but hear, that stick with you because they are compelling even out of context. I’ve had a few of those inspire pieces, and sometimes write down things I hear in case I want to use them in something in the future. (I rarely do.)
It’s a habit, I’ve learned, that I share with librarian Matt Parsons – who writes songs and poetry when he isn’t busy running a farm and a library. Which brings me to another thing locating our offices in the library has brought to us; the kind of pleasant workplace banter that you don’t get when you work from home and your officemates include two surly cats, a flatulent bulldog, a rowdy puppy, and a tiny tyrant in need of a diaper change and a nap.
Needless to say, I won’t be bringing anyone into that circus for a while.
But if you ever need to meet, we can schedule time to meet at either branch, during library hours, and in Olive Hill outside library hours by appointment.
You can also drop things off at either branch for us, and the kind library staff will make sure it gets to us when I stop in.
You can read recent copies and find back-issues of the paper at both the Grayson and Olive Hill branches of the Carter County Public Library too. Stop in and check us out!
Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org