November is NaNo Month!

It’s NaNoWriMo season again!

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, run by a non-profit group aiming to help young, new, and aspiring writers to find their voice and learn to hone the craft of writing. It began in 1999, with a challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Hundreds of thousands of writers participate each year. Once you sign up and log in, your progress is tracked in real-time, and you can reach goals and earn reward stickers.

Hundreds of thousands of people will try and may actually succeed in completing the challenge, but does it really get you anywhere?  Mmm, depends on how good you are. Water for Elephants began its first draft as a NaNoWriMo project. It was picked up, sold more than four million copies, and in 2011 became a major motion picture. So yeah, dreams do happen.

I must make this perfectly clear: Dreams do happen, after LOTS AND LOTS OF EDITING. Please don’t send your finished first draft to any non-family member to read. Poor editing will kill your chances before you even think of your book cover. Edit, edit, edit. If you can’t pay for a professional editor, then check out some books and learn to do it yourself.

But have no fear!  Cheshire Public Library can help you with that as well. Join us once a month for Cat Tales, an open group for writers of anything, beginner to published, playing with a rough idea or finished draft in hand. Talk about the ins and outs, the how-tos, editing, publishing, development, and more. Read us something you’d like feedback on, or maybe try a writing prompt.  Subject doesn’t matter – Memoir, non-fiction, fiction, romance, science fiction, action-thriller, young adult (Who doesn’t love Hunger Games?) – we can talk about them all. Learn how to take that NaNoWriMo novel and beat it into shape.

Cat Tales has been meeting virtually during the pandemic, but will be returning to in-person meetings this winter. Check the calendar for the next meeting!

Don’t Want To Ask? A Quick Guide to Tough Topics!

research question pictureThe Dewey Decimal System is a mystery to many outside the world of libraries and publishing. When you need information on something you might not want everyone to know about, sometimes it can be hard to ask for help. I saw that a Sacramento library had created a bookmarks with the Dewey Decimal numbers for some hard to ask about topics for teens, and I thought it was brilliant. It inspired me to do my part to help people find the books they need on topics they might not want everyone to know they were looking for.

Legal difficulties, mental or physical health problems, self help resourcesbullying, relationship issues, and so on are things that you might want to research but might not want to stop and ask a librarian about, or know how to find via the digital catalog. So, I have looked at some of the tough topics, and some happy ones that people might not want to go public with quite yet, to help you find the books that you need. I have linked each of the listings below to the relevant search in the catalog to make placing holds or checking availability even easier.

All of these nonfiction materials are on the lower level, and if you are looking for books on these topics for teens or children they will be shelved in the children’s room with the same call numbers. If you cannot find it, don’t be afraid to ask or to place a hold for the materials with staff, or by yourself via the catalog. We have seen it all. Seriously, we do not judge you by the books you check out and are more than happy to help you find the resources you need.

researchIf you really don’t want anyone to know what you are checking out, there are a few additional assurances I can offer you. If you use the self check out machines, we will have no idea what you have checked out. Also, we won’t tell anyone what you have checked out unless you give them your card. Anything that you check out and return with no fines leaves your record completely. There is no way for us to see, or tell anyone else, your borrowing history. Don’t be afraid to research and find the answers you need!

More importantly, if you need help more urgently than research can offer, please take a moment and reach out for it. Some important help can be found over the internet or via the phone.  There are help hotlines for just about everything, when you do not know who to talk to for help, dialing 211 can connect you to local services you might need. This includes utility assistance, food, housing, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention (including suicide and abuse) and much more. The related 211 website also offers an eLibrary with specific information on a variety of topics.

Abortion ~ 363.46

Alzheimer’s ~ 616.831

Cancer ~  616.994

Hair Loss ~ 616.546

HIV / AIDS ~ 616.9792

Infertility – 616.692 or 618.39

Miscarriage ~ 618.392

Pregnancy ~ 618.2

Puberty ~ 613.043 or 612.66

Sexual Health ~ 613 or 306.7


Bipolar Disorder ~ 616.895

Bullying ~ 303.69

Child Abuse ~ 362.76

Depression ~ 616.8527

Domestic Violence ~ 362.82

Loss of a Child ~ 155.9

Loss of a Parent ~ 306.874 or 155.9

Mental Illness ~ 616.89

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ~ 616.8521

Sexual Abuse ~ 362.7

Substance Abuse ~ 362.29 or 616.86

Suicide ~ 362.28


Adoption ~ 362.734

Bankruptcy ~ 346.7307

Child Custody ~ 343.7301

Divorce ~ 306.89 or 346.7

Estate Planning and Living Will ~ 346.7305

Foreclosure ~ 346.73

Hospice Care ~ 362.1

Personal Finance ~ 332

Wedding Planning ~ 395.22


Find the Good

rosesI’m the first to admit that I am a skeptic. I’m always the one saying, “Yeah, but…” in any conversation. However, I have discovered skepticism is not synonymous with pessimism.

This was brought home to me when an acquaintance recently toured my gardens and did nothing but point out the weeds.

“Oh, look,” she exclaimed, her finger quivering as she pointed. “There’s a weed underneath that bush.”

I squinted. Sure enough, a weed was sprawling at the feet of a beautiful pink Knock-Out Rose.

She did this three more time during the tour. She never once mentioned the flowers.

After she left, I wondered what her life must be like since she seemed incapable of seeing anything but weeds. Skeptic though I am, I go through life looking at the roses.

Jacket.aspxIf you like the philosophy of looking at the flowers and not the weeds, I highly recommend the book Find the Good by Heather Lende. The book description says it all:

As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived. Now she’s distilled what she’s learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good. It’s that simple–and that hard.