Writer’s Block isn’t an absence if ideas. Its an absence of good ones.

I’ve tried two different topics for today’s post and neither works.  It might have to do with trying to write in a different place then normal.  Usually, I set at my little bar at home and type there.  Its a comfortable space facing a wall that allows me to concentrate on the words.  Today, tried writing at The Cleveland County Public Library.  I will not try this again.

As a person who loves books and loves reading, I think of libraries like churches or cathedrals.  They are holy ground that must be respected.  If you are in a library you should not only respect the ground and the books it holds, but you should also respect your fellow patrons.  Cell phones have killed this idea.

People somehow have convinced themselves that a cell phone conversation held in public at normal speaking volumes is a private conversation.  If you are going to speak in a normal voice that other people can hear while your are in public place, you have no right to expect privacy.

The other thing is, no one else cares about your crap.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and all other social media sites have convinced the public that others really give much of a damn about the details of their personal life.

Maybe I’m just disappointed that libraries are just places for parents to dump kids during summer afternoons for the free internet access (of course I was dumped in this library to read all day) and a place for homeless people to nap and eat.  Books and real knowledge don’t seem to matter to people anymore.

The Internet has made facts accessible, but it hasn’t made knowledge more ubiquitous.  That is what you get from actually reading.  You learn how to use facts and shape ideas by reading the good and the great do precisely those things.  Honestly, what good is a fact if you don’t use it to create an idea.

Once in high school we had a debate over which was real, a fact or a truth.  I finally came down on the side of truths being more real then facts.  Simple facts can change.  Most truths are those things that have been proven that can never change.  People often believe things that can’t be proven or unproven and that makes those things  faith not truth or fact and faith may be stronger then both of them.

Facts lead to ideas and ideas lead to truth.  That is the province of the artist and the scientist.  Truth.  That is why libraries, museums, theaters, and laboratories are important.  They are the places where facts are put together, taken apart, reassembled, questioned, and finally shaped into an idea.  Then the ideas are disassembled, reassembled, dissected, and formed into something.  Then process is repeated again and again until finally a truth emerges.  Then the artist, writer, musician, or scientist figures out a way to express that truth for everyone to see.

Sitting in this library I worry we are losing the places that teach us to respect that process and maybe more importantly respect each other.  That may be the thing that truly bothers me about cell phones in public.  It is the simple lack of respect for others.  That is the other thing public spaces are supposed to teach us.  When you are a kid your parents teach you to be quiet in a library because there are other people there.  You may not care about what they are doing, but you should respect their time and space while they are doing it mostly because you want the same courtesy.  Somewhere we have lost that simple idea.

On that Will McAvoyian note, I’ll sign off as the homeless guy snores to my right.

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