This is the single coolest thing that has ever happened to me. It’s better that an ISBN, a UPC, a SS#, a driver’s license–I don’t want to be casual about it. I don’t want to pretend it’s no big deal. And, yes, I am going to get it tattooed on my arm. Let me tell you why….
This unreal situation is unfolding where, after years of work as an artist, something I have made has taken up its bed and walked. No one is more strangely amazed than I, watching the thing articulate from a pill bug….
to a paperback…..
but! there is one amazing moment which lives beyond all other imagined glories—-getting my Library of Congress number. Did I say it was 2011921296? Anyway, back to the library.
The library is our one, great human institution. Which is to say that it, unlike many others, is humane. And yet it records the worst of us too. It is how we place our history in the hands of others, what say about ourselves when we stop speaking of ourselves and become prepositionless. Call me heavy handed, but it’s not a trifling thing. It’s how we know each other through the wall of death, goddmamit! It’s the LIBRARY!
There are 120 scripts on the wall of the new Library of Alexandria.The library of Alexandria was originally inspired by the Library at Nineveh. The letter “L” in hieroglyphs is a lion. This is also a lion:
Which brings me back to my tattoo. It is going to be some combination of the lion, the word library in various scripts, and my LOC number. I have only one point of indecision left: do I hold out for the call number? Or is the control number enough? The control number is the library’s way of saying, yes, know you exist. That’s very nice for you, here’s a number (Good morning 2011921296, did you sleep well?) and so forth.
The call number is what’s on the spine of a book that will actually be placed in the collection. For instance: PZ3.M498.Mo31 or PS2384.M6.Mo31 (my voice on the answering machine of any person who finds the associated novel first) is a call number.
Personally, I think it would be cooler to get a tattoo of the catalog number on my arm but I don’t have a call number yet. And what, (ack!) if I never do? What if I remain but a glimmer in a librarian’s eye? Should I snag the moment now with the LOC control number? Or train myself to patience. Wait and see if I am assigned one?
Hmmm……I think I’ll start with research…
Of heavens and angels and hell’s descent, I require only a library card.