The Mash-up Ambition.


I know that I’ve been showing you a lot of these mash-up pictures now. And while you were pretty charmed at first, I suspect some of you out there have been finding yourself thinking:

“You know, some of these are pretty shoddy.”

You think I don’t know these are shoddy!


But I’m afraid it’s required.

Hear me out.

I’m snapping off pictures, in glaring lighting, of books and, even worse, computer screens, all while I have just a few moments to do so. I’m editing on a phone, jumbled now with unfindable pictures, using the easiest to use, barely functional software. I need the constant reinforcement of finishing one of these pictures in half an hour or less.

But I could take much more careful pictures. I could spend the time to set everything up exactingly. I could master Photoshop, make my edges perfect, and color balance everything. I could insist the lighting and angles make real world sense. 

I could spend all day on one single picture and make something beautiful.

And you would be amazed.

Life is a Fountain would become an Internet phenomenon. It would go viral!

Magazines would come calling, TV shows. Celebrity parties! Cocktails with Bob Dylan! Fame would grab me by the scruff of the neck!

And then the lawsuits would commence. The Peanuts people might turn a blind eye, but whoever took that picture of a chicken is going to sue, and many, many more will follow.

My flash in the pan fame will fade, as it does, but the lawsuits will drag on. And what defense do I have? This is a very copyright protective culture.

I will soon be penniless.

So if Charlie Brown looks like he’s floating in space, or a chicken looks fake, let’s all just really work on our suspension of disbelief here.

My future depends upon it.


Hey, we’ve been doing these newsletters for a couple of weeks now, and you know where I’ve never sent you? I’ve never sent you to the Life is a Fountain Library Page.

It’s full of super fun stories about filing systems and depressed co-workers.

You could totally, theoretically check it out by pounding you keyboard in the vicinity of the link below:


The Boring Super Awesome Life is a Fountain Library Page!

From the moment I got a phone, a real phone, my effectiveness as a library employee has been on a roller coaster ride. There was a small dip at the start as I discussed phones incessantly with all my co-workers and texted them from six feet away. Then I, metaphorically, climbed quickly as I found podcasts and audiobooks and became one of the most quietly dedicated shelvers and materials processors the library has ever known. But, of course, what goes up must come down, and I have never known a quality shelver who stayed a quality shelver. Somehow we all get distracted. For the industrious types it’s usually by some niche library project they can obsess and stew over to their hearts content. For me the downfall was finding out that I could insert Peanuts characters into random pictures I took of my library.

What a thrilling, heedless fall it was! I plunged, hands in the air and a look of terrified ecstasy on my face. But that too had to level out finally. All those co-workers saying “You sure do like that phone, don’t you?” And all those library patrons saying “Ahem.”

“Oh.” I say startled. “Were you there long?”

“Just a few minutes really.”

“Do you want to see a picture of Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally, in the library?”


I’m not through the roller coaster of phone use yet. I’m still whizzing along, though it’s more level in its twisty way now. I’ve combined the two divergent elements. The other night I shelved every single one of our requests, three carts worth. It’s amazing how much one can get done quickly when one desperately applies oneself. Fortunately I had a reward; with no requests left to shelve there really wasn’t anything left for me to do except edit pictures.






“Ahem.” You say?





Want to see a picture of Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally, in the library?




















Oh, you’re still here? How nice.



Do you want to see one where she’s delighted about having asked the Children’s Librarian a question?








There was a very eighties book and movie involving some guy building a baseball field in his cornfield in the middle of an Iowa farm. It was done so that dead baseball players could play a game of ball again, or something like that. It featured an era defining line that I found notably irritating back in those days: 

If you build it they will come.


If you build it they will come.

If you build it they will come.

I guess the idea with that ubiquitous quote back then was to say, just go for it. If you make the commitment, put yourself out there, lay it all on the line, model, invest, fashion, manufacture, build, produce, labor, and create, then surely you will…


Well, actually that was never clear.

It was the eighties. I think it had something to do with money.