What follows is a repost from January 2011. It’s one of my rants. And it’s worse than I remembered it. It’s an example of what happens when I write instead of withdrawing to a funk hole to get over it. (If you don’t know what in the world I’m talking about, see the previous post.)
Last night I began a post about the proposed cuts to library funding now before the Texas Legislature. A 99% reduction to state funding to school libraries. Elimination of state funding for public library TexShare databases. Elimination of funding for K-12 data bases. Elimination of state funding for direct aid to public libraries.
I was a librarian when the Legislature–headed by pro-education Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock–put a chunk of money into school libraries. K-12 databases. A state-wide union catalog. A system of public school interlibrary loan. Later came the Loan Star Libraries program–the first time funds flowed directly from the State of Texas to individual public libraries. That money paid for summer reading programs, new books and media, conference registrations…Now it’s all on the table…Cities, counties, school districts are facing deep cuts of their own…Many won’t be able to pick up the increased costs…There’s talk of $25 million a year for ten years for a Formula 1 racetrack…
By paragraph five, I’d written myself into a tizzy. I saved and rummaged through the files for something without emotional significance.
I found the lie, lay, lay lecture. I wrote it for fun, as an offering to my paralegal study group. I posted it.
Tonight I began a post about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement that the U. S. Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis or gender or sexual orientation: The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, applied to former slaves, and so the word person as it is used there does not refer to women. The first clause reads as follows:
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
As I wrote about the logical conclusion that the Constitution does not prohibit depriving women of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, and that it does not prohibit denying women the equal protection of the laws…And wondered whether the Justice would, if push came to shove, follow the precedent set in 1971, when a unanimous Court held that the 14th Amendment does apply to women…I became a little testy. A little cross. A little agitated.
In other words, I’d written myself into another tizzy.
But I don’t have another ready-made piece suitable for posting. So I’m telling the truth about the process.
I learned a long time ago not to write when angry, irritated, agitated, tizzied. The result is never worth reading. The meaning comes through, but so do several other things, none of them impressive.
A critic–I think it was Ellen Moers, but since I read the comment in 1982, I can’t say for sure–compared Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte in the following way:
Austen is detached. She doesn’t betray her emotions in her fiction. She doesn’t intrude into her characters’ points of view.
Bronte doesn’t contain herself so well. When Jane Eyre, for example, speaks about the differences in the lives of men and women, her voice veers off–suddenly it’s Charlotte Bronte’s voice we hear, not Jane’s, and it’s Charlotte’s anger. And the anger poses a distraction.
Again, it’s been thirty years since I read that assessment, but I think it’s true. The principle applies to other types of writing as well.
Anger addles the brain. Words pour out in tangles. To the writer, the result sounds high-minded and righteously indignant when it’s really over-wrought and poorly reasoned and sometimes downright silly.
The tizzy-laden paragraphs above are longer than I intended. I got started and didn’t stop. At least one of them should have a violin playing in the background.
Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me.
If you care to read more about the library situation, links to articles appear below. Be sure to read the one from the Guardian.
And did you see the story about the community in England that checked out every single book in the library to protest impending cuts? Amazing.
Times are hard, and we can’t have everything we want. But surely libraries are as important as racetracks and pro football.
And no matter what anyone says, I think women are persons.
- Texline 265: Proposed Budget Demolishes Statewide Library Programs | Texas Library Association (txla.org)
- Brown Proposes Eliminating All State Funding for California Public Libraries (libraryjournal.com)
- Save Our Texas Libraries! | Texas Library Association (txla.org)
- ALA | School Library Media Center: Quotable Facts (ala.org)
- Brown’s proposed budget eliminates state funding for public libraries (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Library campaigners plan court action over closures (guardian.co.uk)