Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately


not irreplaceable

12 June 2009 Yesterday was my last day of work at my school, after 13 years, which was more odd than sad. I will miss sitting in my rocking chair reading Bark, George; How Squirrel Got his Stripes; Pete, Smartypants at School; The Lorax; The Viper; The Greatest Power; Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. My hardest moment came when Robbie came to say goodbye. See you next year! he […]

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>bourgeois rule about money

You’re not supposed to say how much money you make, but why not? The bosses don’t want us to know. The people with the big paychecks don’t want us to know. It is some kind of bourgeois rule. My new insurance premiums kicked in and my last paycheck was $527. For one month, 30 hours a week. Less than $5 an hour. I work in a school library, as an […]

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> Blanca has come to the library almost every morning this week asking for me to give her tag board from the supply room. She is in 3rd grade. Her teacher is new and she must not realize we aren’t supposed to give a child tag board every day, but I don’t care. Blanca is a girl who always knows what she is doing.¬†One day she needed it for picture […]

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>x marks the spot

My boss is building walls in the library. I will only say this: many things need doing right now at our school and building a windowless room in our beautiful, open library is not one of them. We’re having a fight. A fight that I, because of my subordinate position, am doomed to lose. The builders have come and put xs on the floor to show where the walls will […]

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>library helpers

Alberto and Juanita were my helpers today which means they stamp the due date in the book. One hands the other the book and the other stamps. They seemed to be playing store. Thank you for shopping at Lincoln Library, they said each time they handed a book to a child. They took all the bookmarks and created a display on the counter so each kid could choose the one […]

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>Trying Not to Preach

April is Poetry Month so yesterday I read poems to the third graders: Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams. I read the Red Wheel Barrow poem and I read the beginning of Sharon Creech’s novel, Love That Dog, about a boy who is forced to read the wheel barrow poem. Sometimes I look at the kids, sitting on the floor around me, and I think of the world we are […]

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>Yes, it was sad all right.

I was reading the preschoolers a book called My Dog, Toby when 4 year old Brennan interrupted to say that he had a dog one time but his father threw it out the back door and it died. He said, “That was sad, huh.” ps I don’t write about kids who are in my school now. The stories I use when I write about my school are from journals I’ve […]

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>they don’t deserve books

Today I bought two books at the library book sale: Sister Noon by Karen Joy Fowler and Tales of the Master Raceby Marcie Hershman. They were $3 each. The woman next to me said to her husband, “Three dollars for a paperback! That’s ridiculous. I can get them for nothing at the Senior Center.” Three lousy dollars for a whole book. Since when did people start thinking they shouldn’t pay […]

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