I always have a little twingey feeling during ALA(American Library Association) Midwinter time. For two great years, I was on the YALSA Selected Audiobooks Committee. A super cool group of librarians and I spent all of our spare minutes listening to audiobooks that were sent to us by publishers, and we spent the rest of our minutes emailing each other about what we heard. During Midwinter, we'd gather for hours and hours of meetings to choose our favorites and create the final list. It was so much fun! I was asked to continue my journey, both on that committee and then on the Odyssey Committee, which is the one that selects the winners of best audiobooks(not a list, but specific winners). But I turned both of those offers down. One of the reasons was financial because being on the committees means you have to travel to both Midwinter and Annual (usually on your own dime). Another reason was the massive time commitment. But the final reason was that my line of work was getting muddied. Was it cool for me to be judging other authors' works now that I was an author? Did I have certain feelings, for or against, certain authors for various reasons? (Believe me, librarians have those feelings, too.) And what if, just what if, one of my books became eligible in some way? Then what? So I stopped doing committee work. Only now I'm in an even muddier place in my life. I'm not actually working at a library. I will have galleys of books available at ALA Midwinter. So what am I more of now? An author or a librarian?
I will face that same identity crises again this summer, when my family is planning on attending ALA Annual in New Orleans. We're paying out of pocket, but I'm also hoping to have a few good promotional activities in which I can participate. At the very least, I'll be able to sign autographs and move table to table in the YA Author Coffee Klatch. And the real reasons to go extend beyond me; we will certainly pick up oodles of books for Romy, who can watch as authors and illustrators autograph them. Plus, it's New Orleans. We're already priming Romy with some great music.
But where do I fit in? If I'm not working as a librarian, am I a librarian? If I'm an author, but one few people have heard of, am I really an Author? I feel like I need to make peace with this in some way. That if the television show based on INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER doesn't happen, or if my new book gets poorly reviewed, or if I never do win any sort of major award, that doesn't make me less of an author. I never expected any job to eclipse my love for being a librarian, but I have found one in author that affords me to do a job I didn't even know I wanted as much as I do: Stay-at-Home Mom. Labels, labels, labels. I hate to admit, but I'd love a shiny, round one someday. Maybe I can ask Romy to make me one.