When I was studying English and Literature at the Community College, I was convinced I wanted to do nothing else but read, write, and talk about books for the rest of my life. I wanted to teach, interact with others who shared the same passion.  I found an intense connection with literary theory and enjoyed the exercise of pulling stories apart from many different perspectives. It taught me a valuable lesson-I could listen to an idea, let it roll around in my head, understand it, even apply it, but not have to adopt it as indisputable fact.  That is a powerful feeling and an idea I wish more people understood.

Since I needed to absorb every ounce of information I could, I never discarded textbooks. I wrote notes in the margins and transferred those notes into journals, thinking that this would all come in handy once I began teaching.

My time at the University of Utah sucked out my desire to be an academic. I hated the pretense of it. My experience had been that you went to class to learn, not show off what you already knew. I struggled to adapt to that sort of classroom experience and soon grew tired of it.  Gone was the idea of teaching at the Jr. college level or any teaching at all. I couldn’t see myself sitting through graduate course work, where I was supposed to be impressed by the ramblings of my fellow students as they tried to enter the academic conversations, which in all honesty seemed to be about debunking others, not contributing more information.

Lucky for me, I found the library.

The collector in me still could not discard those text books. They sit on a book shelf across from where I type this blog. They are like tattoos in that they remind me of specific things, and they are difficult to remove. My library school books share the same space. Both are certainly completely irrelevant to any current academic study, but I like to pretend they have value beyond the personal.

About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

2 responses to “Collecting”

  1. Aaron Kammerman says :

    I like your first paragraph. I need to practice that skill more often. For me, the hard part is removing the judgment in my heart as I do this. Not that judgment is bad, but when it is coupled with animosity. . .

    • fenster020 says :

      Exactly! The entire time you explore or listen to, engage in new ideas or thoughts, you cannot help judge and evaluate things. Keeping that animosity out of the equation takes a great deal of patience and self discipline. What I find frustrating is when someone deliberately places themselves in an environment where new ideas, different ways of thinking, someplace like school, then complains about how awful the ideas are.

      I imagine how much better our world could be if most of us could really look at others, entertain for the briefest of moments that they may have better or more interesting ways of doing things, seeing the world. Even if we decide they don’t we might understand each other a bit better, be more patient, more tolerant, less quick to anger or hatred.

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