Quantae res vitae placent, tanto beatior eris.‏

These words, although not in Latin, were said to me by my father when I was 8 years old. He was taking a nap and NASCAR was on TV. I asked him several times to change the channel because the cars were just going around and around in circles. It was boring, and besides, I wanted him to wake up and watch TV with me. He said to me half asleep, “Emmy, darling, the more things in life you like, the happier you will be.” He didn’t mean to make a philosophical statement, but I thought about it for the rest of my life.

I do believe that this is the secret to success in life, in business and in relationships. If you can find something to like about a person, product, service, work, or job, you will be more engaged in it. When people are engaged, they perform better and are happier. When they are happier, they attract others to them, and they in turn become more successful. People who want to believe are attracted to believers, people who want to be happy are attracted to happy people. It is my orientation to the world. 

Good artists and teachers show us how to find the beauty that is in things which we would otherwise overlook. Actively looking for beauty and meaning, or just looking for things to like (what is good about it), is sometimes hard, but it is my personal secret to happiness and teaching. 

Reflections in the Alley by Rene Wiley.

Beauty in a rain puddle. Good artists and teachers encourage people to look for the beautiful in the ordinary. This painting, Reflections in the Alley, is by Galveston artist, Rene Wiley.

I studied several years of Latin and ancient Greek in college and graduate school, along with a few years of graduate coursework English Literature, Art History, Medieval History and Philosophy. I also taught Latin and Art at a private Catholic school in Houston where I developed a curriculum for teaching Latin to elementary school students. In terms of literary interests, I especially like British novelists, the Catholic (and Anglo-Catholic) literary tradition founded in classics and philosophy. My three literary idols are Donna Tartt (The Secret History), J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter series) and Iris Murdoch. At one time, I was passionate about John Milton, and also the spiritual Contemptus Mundi traditions in Western literature (the only “correct” way to interpret Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as far as I am concerned). I also like early 20th century children’s fantasy illustrators (part of my book collection): Sidney Sime, Harry Clarke, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, Bernie Fuchs, and many others. History of printing, especially prints and illustration, have been long interests, along with anti-modernist art and design movements, like the  Pre-Raphaelites and Arts and Crafts Movement. I was a Curator for prints for several years for the Museum of Printing History. I have also worked as Data Standards Manager for the Museum of Fine Arts.

In addition to Classical Languages, I also studied computer programming languages–the now dead languages of C++, Perl, SQL and VB. Perl was the programming language of librarians, linguists and poets (“Perl poets”) before Java blew it away. Perl had its own geek following, especially among librarians. Unlike number crunching C++, Perl was designed to manipulate textual data. For me, Perl also came in very handy as a Systems Librarian, since large open platform library systems were written in Perl, and it was a requirement back in the day when we did it all ourselves. I’m still very much a web person, and often use inline HTML and JavaScript get work around the constraints of a CMS.

I have been a Librarian at Texas Southern University for eight years, where I get to wear many hats, have access to many wonderful scholarly databases, and get to interact with many inspiring students and faculty. I teach Information Literacy courses for the Library Learning Center and World Literature (the Classics) in the English Department. 

I live in Houston with my husband, two boys, two dogs and a cat. If you want to know more about me, you can always email me at elibrarian [at] hotmail [dot] com.

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