Ben Watson and the Return of Answers! (Part Ten: LIBRARIES)

Why yes, Ben. That IS my Flux Capacitor hoodie.

This photo proves how much I really, really like Benjamin James Watson. Because I cannot help but stare at it and think:

(A) It's beyond time to re-dye my blue streaks.


(B) Why haven't made that appointment for new contacts?

But enough of my vanity. I want to talk about my friend for a moment, and how AWESOME he is. If you aren't familiar with Ben, he's the author of the hilarious picture book in my hands, The Boy Who Went Ape. (His father — the very talented Richard Jesse Watson — did the illustrations!) It's about a troublesome boy, a troublesome chimp, and a teacher named . . .


Words cannot express how much I love this name.

I recently picked this up from my library to share with Coraline, Jane, and Jayne. We were delighted to discover that it was just as warm and funny as Ben! As I checked it out, the head librarian remarked that she's read it at several storytimes, and that it always gets a GREAT response from the kids. So if any of you have little ones (or even if you don't), I hope you look for it!

Ben's blog is one of my favorites. It's on a brief hiatus, so I hope this post encourages him to return sooner. Of course, I am not just saying that because he just-so-happened to dub me:

The HBM Connoisseur and Writer of Good Words

That is PURE COINCIDENCE, you guys.

He didn't sway me to his side by complimenting me in the most generous, kind way possible or by posting pictures of my two favorite men in the universe, Jarrod and Mr. Darcy.

Of course not.

Since I mentioned his name, I'm allowed to post one. This is his, "I hope Lizzy will love me after she reads this letter" face.

Sir Ben also dubbed my pal Jim Di Bartolo The Gentle Bad-Ass Bohemian Warrior Daddy, which is pretty much the most perfect dubbing ever. Thanks for being so cool, Ben! And thank you, internet,* for introducing me to yet another wonderful friend.

So speaking of libraries, kind of, this is the perfect time to dive back into my questions. Oh! You forgot about my questions? Those things you asked me LAST JULY? Cough. Coughchokewheezehackhack.

[Stephanie hangs head in shame.]

I only have a few left, so I'll try to knock them out by the end of this month. Which means I'd better learn the art of brevity.


He's forlorn, because Lizzy is telling him she did NOT like his letter!

Natalie asked, but surely no longer remembers asking:

What was your favorite part of being a librarian?

Definitely the librarians themselves. They were the smartest, coolest, most interesting people I've ever worked with! I was very sad to say goodbye to them.

Even though, er, I still see them several times a week, now from the other side of the desk.

Librarians are unique, because they're curious about everything and, therefore, can hold intelligent conversations about any topic. They can answer any question. They keep up with current world events, national events, and local events. And for being book nerds (I'm allowed to say this, being one myself), they're oddly popular, as judged by the insane number of regulars that stop by just to chat, and by the homemade cookies and cards and flowers gifted to them every week.

I LOVE librarians.

So he decides to call me! And I cheer him up, and we make plans for Friday night. What? You didn't know Mr. Darcy had a cell phone? Mr. Darcy has EVERYTHING.

Sarah asked, but also surely no longer remembers asking:

Why did you decide to be a librarian (before you started writing full time)?

It was a fluke! I'd worked for several years as a bookseller, and when my husband and I moved here to North Carolina, I tried to get a job in the local bookstores first. No one was hiring, so I got stuck in a really terrible retail job elsewhere. After only two weeks, I was desperate to get out, so I checked my county's job listings. I was thinking, I dunno, secretary! Or park cleanup! ANYTHING but my horrid retail job.

But there was a page position open at the main public library (for those not in the business, the page is the person who actually works the hardest, the person who shelves all those darn books), so . . . I went for it. I was ecstatic and incredibly surprised when I got it. I'm not sure why, but it hadn't crossed my mind before then to work in a library. I suppose I thought I'd need a library science degree. (Another note: Many libraries DO require the degree, although usually not for paging.)

I worked as a page for a while, then moved into a children's librarian position, and finally ended my career as a regular librarian. The children's gig was fun, doing storytimes and ordering books and such, but a LOT of work — including work I had to take home — and it took away from my writing time. So even though my first love is children's literature, I was much happier as a just-plain-librarian.

Because that position allowed me the time to finish Anna.

And, therefore, that position allowed me to bow back out of the library.

Lizzy, in GOB from Arrested Development voice: "I've made a huge mistake."

Have a fabulous day, everyone! (Why don't you visit your library?)

*For regular blog readers, the lowercase spelling indicates THE WINNER of recent my Internet/internet poll.


  1. Huzzah! I've been consecutively being the first worshiper commenting on newest post!!! ;D

    Yes, yes, I've linked Ben's blog on mine too long time ago and have commented on some of his postings. Indeed, he's so kind and funny! (But frankly I wonder why his blog hasn't been updated in FOREVER?!). Ah and I remember he dubbed you!

    Anyway, I (kinda) understand how it feels to be librarian. Not that I was one. But I used to work in a bookshop back in college, and guess what? I just LOVED it. Period. That feeling of being surrounded by books, tons of them... well, that was heaven!

    Yep I know some people (say, my err.. friends?) might think being trapped by piles of books everyday is extremely geeky. But heck, I don't care, they're just too tacky to notice that geeky is the new sexy!

    So, HAIL LIBRARIANS all around the world!!!

  2. Those P&P pictures have made my day. Also, I'm about to go to the library :)

  3. I need to redye the pink streaks... they look all faded... twitter DYE party!

  4. why this blog post was one of my favorites:

    1.the picture of Darcy making his "I hope Lizzy will love me after she reads this letter" face is so deliciously sad and beautiful it makes me want to cry.

    2. Darcy with vulnerable, love sick eyes. Gives me hope.

    3. Darcy on a cell phone and your caption, "Mr. Darcy has EVERYTHING."

    4.Lizzy and Gob's fusion of two great, great moments in history.

    love it!

  5. HA, I don't even remember asking that question! But I'm so glad you answered it. Awesome.

  6. love mr darcy! you look cute in that pic - very....smart :)

  7. Stephanie, thanks for nudging Benito, and for the generous comments about our "Ape" book. It was, I guess, an autobiographical book for both of us. Funny, I was just doing a post called "the Mysterious Whereabouts of Ben..."on my blog... Your postings are great.

  8. Steph, you are too adorable. And that Ben Watson guy, yeah, he's okay too.

    So, I'm pretty sure that some day when Ben is back in PT that you must visit us because a movie girl like you MUST experience a good film at our Rose Theater.

  9. Agreed with Jolie, Steph. It used to be a brothel I believe, a long time ago. Really cool, right up your alley. Not the brothel thing, but the really cool old fashioned theater thing. I think you'd like Port Townsend too. In fact, I think when your book comes out you should do a Seattle/Portland signing tour. Between Martha, Jaime, Jolie, and the Di-Bartolo/Taylor gang, you'd have all the connections you'd ever need for a killer tour. This should happen.

    Your nudging worked too steph, I, uh, think you are really cool is back online. You are so wonderful and I deeply appreciate this. REALLY (times a billion) made my day yesterday and still today. And your writing is incredible. Thank you!!

    Laughed at the Mr. Darcy calling Steph thing too. Classic. See how happy he looks. You must have said something real witty there. Good work. Keep it up. It must not be easy juggling all those HBM's.

    You are awesome. Truly.

  10. I loved the happy cell phone pic. LOL

    And I've got to keep this brief because I'm off to the library for story time in just a few minutes. Our head librarian actually does story time and the children's section, but it's because she likes it.

  11. Yay more answers and pictures of Mr. Darcy! (And I like your glasses. Very cute.)

    Thanks for answering the question that--you're right--I only vaguely remember asking.

    I would comment more, but I've got to go to work now...at the library!

    You have a fabulous day, too :D

  12. And you have an award on my blog, if you want it.

  13. So turns out my husband kind of looks like GOB, and will sometimes do the voice and. it. kills. me.

    Other than that, I just adore you. That's all.

  14. Begy — "They're just too tacky to notice that geeky is the new sexy!" = LOVE THIS. And Ben just updated his blog!

    Mariah — *library high five!*

    Jamie — As long as it is a d-y-e party, and not the other kind ;)

    Mimilee — Tee hee! Thank you!

    Natalie — I rock with punctuality. Except the total opposite of rock.

    Shelli — Aw, thanks! :)

    Richard — Thank you so, so much. Your book is WONDERFUL, and I'm thrilled to see Ben back online!

    Jolie — With a name like "Rose Theater" I *have* to love it. Wistful sigh.

    Ben — MY EVIL PLAN WORKED! YOU'RE BACK!!!!!!!!!!! MWAH-HA-HA! Aw, shucks, I can't keep that up today. I'm just happy to see you here :)

    Myrna — *library high five!* And THANK YOU. I'm so honored by the award! I shall come to collect...

    Sarah — YES. Another *library high five!* Sorry it took me a while to answer. We can pretend it was because I am arranging a very elaborate dinner party with you and Mr. Darcy both in attendance.

    Kiersten — For some reason, I almost typed Kristen. What's up with that? And Hot Stuff does a GOB voice? DUDE.