By: Chris Anthony
“Dear, I can’t write, it’s all a fantasy: a kind of circling obsession.”
-Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica
Did I choose a Philip Larkin quote because I also want to be a librarian and work on my poetry at the same time? Well, yes (and hopefully be less of a curmudgeon), but I mainly chose the quote because I feel like most writers think they are not as good as everyone else—or as good as they could be. But, that is the appeal of writing, right: the challenge of being more than you thought?
Well, if the challenge is not for you, it is for me. My first big challenge was moving five hours to live in a city that rivals my hometown of Philadelphia, and I have certainly encountered more challenges over the last four years, but maybe we will save those for another post. So, when I started my internship with Gumberg, I knew I was going to have to adapt to a new form of working, just like I had to adapt to living in a new city. The challenge of creating something new, the challenge of learning about LibGuides and creating Research Guides that thousands of people could read—it is exciting—nerve-wracking—but exciting nonetheless. All that said, I certainly have my doubts. Will I live up to the position? Will the guides I create be truly helpful? Will I be a good librarian? Will I ever be one? That is the fantasy right now, these dreams and the self-doubt that comes with them. And those may appear now and then, but my drive to be something more constantly overrides them. Ever since I made the move to Pittsburgh, I have never let a challenge beat me. Set me back? Sure. But there was always room to move forward.
Despite what Larkin thought, he was a good poet. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, so the objectivity of his talent is canon. Unfortunately, Larkin turned down the Poet Laureate position in 1984 (though, Ted Hughes certainly made Britain proud). Maybe Larkin’s self-doubts were louder than his drive? It is hard to say. What I can say, though, is that I won’t turn down this internship.
So, I may have my doubts about this internship, but I am excited to prove them wrong. I am excited to learn about what goes into being a librarian. I am excited to grow as a learner, researcher, and writer. Most of all, I am excited to find that crossover between poet, librarian, and English teacher. It will be a challenge, but if it was not, I do not think I would be here.