Saturday, February 05, 2011


My imagination is quite child-like, and it manifests itself in strange and unusual ways. From the time I was quite small, I would come up with games and routines that would stave off boredom, or that were inspired by books or movies. The fact that I can be somewhat OCD simply intensifies those tendencies. These games I play with myself are mostly private, weird little things that I've rarely if ever shared with anyone else.

When I was a kid and would play house with other girls, I would create detailed backstories in my head, usually centering on great poverty as evinced in books by Louisa May Alcott, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and Sara Crewe's ordeals in A Little Princess. My "children" and I would carefully gather wood for heat and cooking; we would be poor but honorable, doing whatever we must to survive hardship and deprivation. I'm still drawn to stories like that: a recent read was Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas.

The game that has had the most lasting effect on my life, however, is one I like to call The Jane Moffat Project. In one of the Moffat books by Eleanor Estes, Jane decides to read all the books in the library, so she starts with A and begins to read her way through. Even as a kid, this idea appealed to me, and every so often, I would take a stab at The Jane Moffat Project. I never got very far, because I would be seduced away from the books I "should" read by the books I "wanted" to read. Eventually I would have to admit that I had gone off the wagon, and for a while I would put the project out of my mind.

The most recent iteration of the JMP began this year when I decided I would attempt to read all the books in the library at the school where I work. I didn't get very far at all. Well, maybe I did, because I took a multi-pronged approach to the project. In addition to starting at the A section of the chapter books, I started at the first shelf of non-fiction, and would also read a few picture/story books with whatever classes I subbed or aided in. And of course, after so many years of reading, I had already read many of the books in the school's collection.

I'll never know whether I could have done it, because I've been informed that I'm being transferred to another school in the county. I am deeply saddened by this, because I have grown to love where I've been and have come to feel that I've been an asset to the school. I just don't know if I have the heart to go through the process yet again of getting to know my co-workers and creating a niche for myself. People have tried to console me by reminding me that I'm lucky I still have a job at all. Well, yeah, I know that, but it doesn't make it easier to reconcile myself to reality after I've come to know most of the students by name and made some friends. I don't know if I can put myself out there again.

On the other hand, there are two local libraries (one on-post, one off) nearby. Perhaps Jane Moffat will lead me to another tilt at this particular windmill. Reading has always gotten me through tough times. I will tuck my Nook, well-stocked as it is with nearly 700 books, into my purse and rely on it to ease the transition. I could do a mini-Moffatt simply by reading all the books I've downloaded. Alternatively, there's always graduate school.