Benson Memorial Library, Chattanooga Public Library, Chattanooga, TN, Libraries, Music, Portland, ME, The Beach Boys and Libraries, Titusville, PA

The Library Career Arc of Justin Hoenke As Told Through GIFS of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys and Their Overall Career Arc

It lines up! You’ve gotta trust me!

1964 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2008-2012/2013: Cape May (NJ) County Library and Portland (ME) Public Library. Little stuff. Teen Librarian. Neat little programs. The surfing songs version of librarianship. Very basic ideas that were creative and at the same time hinted at the fact that I had some bigger ideas up my sleeve. People seem to dig it.

The Beach Boys GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2013-2015: Chattanooga (TN) Public Library. Let’s do some neat stuff. Month long code camps (DEV DEV), sewing machines, 3D printers, maker and learning tables, one gigabit per second super fast internet, entire floors dedicated to creativity, thinking outside the box, and trying to reinvent the library. The PET SOUNDS and SMiLE of my library career. Like Brian Wilson, I was surrounded by some of the most creative and talented people I have ever met. The best of times. The most creative library experience ever.

The View Abc GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

2015-Present: Benson Memorial Library (Titusville, PA). Little stuff. Very focused to this tiny community. The equivalent of the bedroom tapes, SMILEY SMILE, FRIENDS, and other tiny little Beach Boys and Brian Wilson gems between 1967-1971. The songs don’t change the world, but if you hear them you like them and they bring you happiness. Good work. Out of the spotlight.

Beach Boys GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

A POSSIBLE FUTURE: A retreat. This stuff is wearing me down. I can’t please everyone and I do my best to make the experience a positive one for everyone, but the loud voices just keep getting louder. Do I want to use my time here on earth and my limited energy on battles? Do I have to change the world? I don’t. All that I have to do is take care of myself and my family and be myself. I can retreat. I don’t have to do this forever.

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Journal Excerpts, Life

June 26 and June 28 (afternoon thoughts)

(originally part of the THE WORK JOURNALS OF JUSTIN WILLIAM HOENKE, copied and edited for this post)

The idea of isolation has been in my mind a lot recently. It has been coming up here and there over the years but 2017 seems to be the year where it is all making the most sense. Being away in Maine in the middle of nowhere for about 10 days was glorious and perhaps the closest I will get to isolation in the near future. Let’s remember that my version of isolation still has me attached to my close family. I’m not all about complete isolation. Perhaps if my life had been different and I did not have a family I would be all about complete isolation, but for me for the rest of my days it is about my own version of isolation.

John Lennon’s ISOLATION is a great song. Heck, the whole 1970 PLASTIC ONO BAND album is great. Our friend Jeremiah recently loaned me a DVD on the making of the album. It is one of those “Classic Albums” series DVDs and I just watched it. Listening to the isolated parts of the songs renewed my interest in the album. The song ISOLATION, of course, really fits this time well. Let’s take a look at the lyrics:

People say we got it made.
Don’t they know we’re so afraid?
We’re afraid to be alone,
everybody got to have a home.
Just a boy and a little girl,
trying to change the whole wide world.
The world is just a little town,
everybody trying to put us down.
I don’t expect you to understand,
after you’ve caused so much pain.
But then again, you’re not to blame.
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane.
We’re afraid of everyone,
Afraid of the sun.
The sun will never disappear,
but the world may not have many years.

What I’ll call the “breakdown” part (bolded above) is what stands out to me. The big reason for my desire to have isolation is other humans. But I cannot blame them…they’re a part of a system that uses and manipulates them. I am trying my best to not be a part of that system by removing myself from it as much as possible. I fucking failed at this last week and I am reminding myself to get better. There will be ups and downs. The thing I have to remember is to always be on my best as a human being. Staying away from capitalism, consuming less sugar, and focusing more on the things that I can create in this world is the path forward. Family, Library, Self, Fidelia Hall, Music. These are the things that have the most worth to me. It seems silly to focus on anything but these things. We only have a limited amount of bandwidth in our heads.

Along with isolation, the phrase the wool has been pulled over your eyes”has popped into my mind recently. Part of the reason I have taken up journaling so much this past month is that I am trying to understand what the words and phrases that float in and out of my head mean and how they apply to my current life. 

“THE WOOL HAS BEEN PULLED OVER YOUR EYES” is a simple thought: most of what you’ve been told or taught is wrong. While I believe that not everything that is around us (the government, the super wealthy, companies, organizations, etc) is evil or corrupt, I must say that everyone’s guard should be up when they deal with one of these things. Ulterior motives are a real thing, and it seems like these days that everyone has them. People and organizations whose aim is to help others should not have to resort to using ulterior motives to accomplish a goal. We need a change.

I know I could issue a blanket statement like this right now: everyone is using ulterior motives to accomplish their goals and we don’t know the true meaning behind what everyone wants to achieve. Of course we don’t know every side of the story, but we can safely say that there are a good number of people and organizations out there that at the bottom of it all really don’t care or they only care about themselves.

What I think I’ve got buzzing around my head is this: think before you act and trust someone or something. Realizing that not everyone has good in their minds and hearts is a major way to level up in this world.

Social Media, Technology

Social Media, 2016

FACEBOOK

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Facebook has become one of the, if not THE, main form of communication. Sharing, messaging, and now live video are the way that we communicate with each other. It is our email, texting, and our own little website. I have ups and downs with Facebook myself. I recognize and respect how important it is, but at the same time have a strong dislike for the service. Sometimes I just don’t want everyone and everything to be in my life. Over this past year I’ve gone from around 1500 “friends” to 770. I want Facebook to be the space I share with the people that I really know, value, and need to have in my life. Gone are most if not all the librarians who I just know because we’re both librarians and gone are the fringe “I think we met once we should connect on Facebook” type of people. I need my net of close friends and family and this is where that happens.

TWITTER

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Twitter has become a news platform and I am happy to see it accepting that role. This is where anyone can go to share links, ideas, and real time events. Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter in 2015, seems to be the future of social media. There is an excitement around Twitter for me these days that I haven’t felt since I first joined the service back in 2008.

INSTAGRAM

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I’ve started and deleted about 5 Instagram accounts. I appreciate what it does and I love seeing beautiful photos that everyone posts, but I just don’t want another place to post my photos. My Facebook profile documents everything from 2005-Present and I also have about 20 years of photos in my Google Photos. Instagram just feels like another step that I should cut out. I do, however, recognize how neat it is for a business. As Haley and I start Fidelia Hall we have used Instagram to share the messages we are putting up on our sign in front of the building. It’s been really neat.

TUMBLR

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Yahoo seems to have sucked all of the fun out of Tumblr. I wasn’t very much into Tumblr in the first place, but I have really come to love how it brings together fringe and passionate groups of people. If you have an interest but you can’t fine a community around that interest…well, try Tumblr. For myself, I use it to “collect” things that make me happy.

MIITOMO

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Miitomo was the big thing for 3 days and then everyone forgot about it. I can’t blame them, as the experience of using Miitomo is kind of clunky at best. This is something that I hope Nintendo really works on (it has gotten better). I probably keep coming back to it because I love all things Nintendo, but I also really enjoy seeing some folks answers to the questions. I feel a close connection to these people and I look forward to reading what they have to say every day.

BLOG

I still believe in the power of blogs and blogging services like Medium. I love how they give everyone who decides to invest time in them a chance to develop their writing and share their ideas.

THINGS I MISS

I mostly miss Branch and Potluck, as I loved the communities that sprung up around those services. I found myself talking to different people and I think it was great for expanding my world view. I know that most of those teams are now at Facebook and I am curious to see what they can bring to the table there.

Family, Kids, Life, Things, Titusville, PA

A List of 47 Amazing Things

In the order that they come into my brain. Of course family and friends are amazing things, but for this list I’m going to think about little things that are not always mentioned. These are the things that I find amazing. I know you may disagree with some of these. That’s OK.

  1. Homemade Bread
  2. Day old Movie Popcorn
  3. Red Rose Tea with a little bit of sugar
  4. Writing professional emails and telling people that they’re awesome and that you appreciate what they do
  5. Going to dentist and having my teeth cleaned really well
  6. Doing 5-10 minutes of yoga with Haley in the morning
  7. Really average soft rock from the 70’s and 80’s
  8. Buying toys with Finn and Aero at Target
  9. Seeing the art that Haley creates
  10. The number three
  11. Music that inspires me
  12. Drinking water out of my S’well canteen
  13. New Zealand
  14. Wearing a nice shirt that makes you feel proud
  15. Prince outtakes and rarities
  16. Growing older and realizing that everyone else all around you is doing the same thing as you: making it all up as they go along and trying their best
  17. Balance
  18. Haley and her mom’s cooking
  19. Shelving, straitening, and shifting books in the library
  20. Pilot G-2 07 pens
  21. Glitch art GIFS
  22. Hockey
  23. Kickle Cubicle
  24. Amiibos
  25. Creativity
  26. Burger King every once in awhile
  27. Well made headphones
  28. Podcasts
  29. Pajamas
  30. Having a home that allows my family and I to spread out, relax, and express ourselves
  31. Forward motion
  32. The moment before you fall asleep
  33. Recycling bins
  34. Rearranging furniture every once in awhile
  35. Working with people who realize that I’m just trying to do my best
  36. Noticing the personalities of many different people and doing my personal best to understand who they are and what makes them happy
  37. People who enjoy their jobs but not take them too seriously
  38. Time away from work
  39. Paying bills
  40. Both the sunshine and the rain
  41. Snowfall that really covers the ground and creates a nice winter landscape
  42. Trees
  43. Really nice sticks
  44. The color pink
  45. Watching the amount and type of food that I put into my body but at the same time not completely cutting things out
  46. Creative and inspiring uses of technology
  47. Talking to someone that really cares about you
Libraries, Presentations

A SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR A LIBRARY CONFERENCE I’D LIKE TO ATTEND

7:00-9:00AM: Sleep in because you deserve it.

10:00AM: Eat Breakfast and Talk About Things

11:00AM: Stand up, talk to someone new, and ask someone to go for a walk with you.

11:30PM: FIRST SESSIONS. Choose from one of the following:

  • Let’s sit around a table and talk about books we love
  • Let’s play some video games/board games together
  • Let’s go outside and be nice/do nice things to/for random strangers

1:00PM: Lunch and Talk About Things. There will be a stand up comedian who will put on a really funny performance while we eat because laughing is great.

2:15PM: SECOND SESSIONS. Choose from one of the following:

  • Let’s sit around a circle and talk about what we can do every day to make our libraries better for people. Think about the small things!
  • If you like to make music, join us in a room where we all can play instruments and make music.
  • Meditate: We’re just going to sit in this room and meditate.

3:45 PM: Afternoon Tea/Coffee and some exercise

4:15 PM: We’ll invite a guest speaker to talk to us for a bit. 30 minutes tops. They will be awesome and funny and inspire.

5:00 PM: Everybody needs a little time away. Go get some dinner by yourself or with a group. We don’t have to babysit you the whole conference. Do what you want.

9:00 PM: We’ve organized a get together at a bar. Beer and liquor make people feel relaxed and then we all can talk more and take our crazy ideas even further.

12:00 AM: Dance Party. Let’s find a really great gay dance club and dance for awhile.

2:00 AM: The dance party may close up at this time and we are probably worn out from dancing a lot. Let’s go to a greasy spoon and get some breakfast food.

4:00 AM: Goodnight everyone. Go to bed. You deserve it.

THE NEXT DAY: No sessions, no meetings, nothing. You get to take the day off and sleep in. You deserve it.

Family, Kids

“Don’t ever give up on life. Life can be so beautiful, especially after you’ve spent a lot of time with it.” —YOKO ONO

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I am getting older. I like this. I feel more comfortable in my skin. My brain hurts less. The things that people say don’t affect me as much. I can do whatever the fuck I want with my life. I got this chicken suit for the holidays. I can wear it out in public if I want. I don’t care what you might say. It is a comfy and cozy chicken suit. In other news, I spent most of December 25-27 in pajamas. It was glorious.

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I think I have a natural tendency to lead people. I could use this power for evil but I will never do that. It is fun to be able to recognize this and move on. I think growing older is great because you start to understand what you can and can’t do while you’re in this world. I could start a cult! But I won’t ever do that. Could I run a marathon or go jogging? Not at all.

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I used to worry about becoming a cyborg as I got older. The feelings inside of me calmed down a bit and I was legitimately worried I was becoming a cyborg. I could finally listen to Weezer’s Pinkerton  without tearing up! This was very cool, but I was curious about what was going on!

I’m here to tell you that you don’t become a cyborg as you get older! You calm down and prioritize what gets you worked up. Pinkerton won’t make me cry anymore. Death still makes me cry, but it doesn’t tear me up for years and years. I remember when my Pap Pap Pleczynski died in 1995. I thought it was the end of the world. I missed him for so many years and wondered about what life would be like if he were still here. These days? It’s ok! His physical form left the earth years ago but I have these awesome memories and vibrations of him still around. He lives! We all kind of live forever if we have someone who remembers us.

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Being a Dad is fucking awesome. The first three years are kind of rough and really weird, but after that everything moves a lot easier. Don’t get me wrong….the first three years are awesome too!  I like seeing these two little men grow up and bloom into their own unique and weird and awesome personalities. They are surrounding themselves and filling their brains with the neat things the world gives to them. Everyone should have that same opportunity. I think that is something the world needs to work on giving to everyone.

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Being married/in a relationship is awesome. I like and love Haley a lot. She’s the best roommate/life partner/tag team partner/friend ever. We have our ups and downs but as we both get older we understand how to deal with those ups and downs better. Life is full of those ups and downs. In the end, we stick together because we dig hanging out with each other. Haley is really good at kissing too.

 

Family

Middle

Aero and I up on top of a rock. Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN.
Aero and I up on top of a rock. Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN.

My brain does not stop. I think about things a lot. My brain acts like a computer program. IF THIS THEN THAT. What comes next? Where do I stand? What do I do? Where do I go? I call this the blessing and the curse. I am thankful that I can always remain mindful about what’s going on around me but at the same time I want it to stop at certain points of the day. When I get this way I like to write. I’m thankful that I have this blog for this reason.

When I started this blog back in 2009 I had the idea to make this a place where I shared anything and everything that was in my mind. Somewhere along the line it became a blog all about library stuff. Last year it felt like it became a place where I only talked about the library stuff that I was part of these days. I’m traveling here! I’m traveling there! I am doing this! Things didn’t feel quite real and authentic to me. I wasn’t painting the full picture of who I was. 2015 has been one big quest to reclaim that authenticity in my writing and in my life. I can’t fully explain it but I’ll try.

I don’t feel that connected to the world. I imagine my family and I as part of the world, but maybe just floating on a hoverboard right out of the view of everyone else. We’re part of it all but at the same time kind of right over here just doing our own thing (on our hoverboard). Over the past five or so years of my life I have made a very strong attempt to get away from all of that and be part of the rest of the world. It has been a most interesting journey. There were times where I thought that it would all work out well. There were other times where I felt like I was this weird person that I did not know. All in all, things have been back and forth.

Gemini complex by SuryaAsura, found at http://suryaasura.deviantart.com/art/Gemini-complex-207617414
Gemini complex by SuryaAsura, found at http://suryaasura.deviantart.com/art/Gemini-complex-207617414

I buy into the whole “I am what my astrological sign says I am” and I am a Gemini. I feel this pull from one extreme to the other every day of my life. My wife Haley noticed that about me from the first day we met. She’s always told me to find the middle and to not be so extreme. We’ve been together 10 years now and I’ve always listened to her….and I think I’m getting closer to the middle. The middle is what I want it to be. I make up my own middle. Every step of my journey…from Pennsylvania to Washington to Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Maine to Tennessee and now back to Pennsylvania has helped me understand “my middle”. The cast of characters, my family and my friends, all along the way have helped me get to this place….and for that, I am eternally thankful. I can’t list everyone here but just know that if we’ve interacted over the past ten years in this journey of mine you’ve been a positive part of the whole thing. I thank you for that.

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When our family finally closes on the purchase of our house/church combo as our primary living space later this month/early next month, I will say that I believe have found the perfect physical representation of my middle. There’s something about owning this property that makes me feel very content and happy. I like the possibility that both the house and church offer my family. I am excited for my kids to tell the story that they lived in an old church. I am most excited to build a fence between the two properties that will act as a courtyard/portal between the two locations! It’ll be very fun and eye opening to build this with my family. It will be great to open up this property to our friends and family who want to visit and live with us and share moments together for a brief time.

All of this? Awesome and exciting.