Looking Back at Summer 2022

A few days ago, on August 26, I celebrated my 38th birthday. I was 30 and pregnant with our second son when I decided to quit my previous path and look for another one, my own. These eight years have been as wondrous as I could ever imagine. I was afraid back then. To start anew in the darkness of the unknown. But thrilled and inspired at the same time. A book I read in the autumn of 2014 helped: a biography of Vivienne Westwood, where she tells how she decided to quit being a young schoolteacher and move to a trailer with her two boys without any salary to bravely find her new path in the dark. It was like jumping off a cliff, she writes. Not knowing where you will land. I trusted myself, trusted my decision and four years later I opened the Sea Library. I jumped and landed in a wonderland.

This summer marked a moment when I returned to a real job. It’s strange to say ‘real’ because I work for the National Library of Latvia. It still feels unreal to me, because I have never ever studied librarianship or worked in the field. I have just loved and cared for my wild sea beast. My job is to tell stories about libraries and librarians. I am an editor of a website called biblioteka.lv. To be paid is important. I had run out of all my savings during these years. To be paid for doing something that beautiful and mostly from the Sea Library, is a dream.

With me forever now, still raw and healing, dancing on my goosebumped writing hand, my three boys, my belief in the blue dog of dreams, my very own skin.

To mark this inspiring summer, five days ago I stepped into a tattoo salon on my way from the National Library to the train station. The same salon where I and my husband had matching smiling snail tattoos on our bellies 13 years ago. The same salon where I went 6 years ago to crown myself: I have a Basquiat’s crown on my upper arm to mark my decision to find and found my own kingdom. The same salon where I went 4 years ago to tattoo a bright red Keith Haring heart on my shoulder blade: it was a few days before I opened the Sea Library, a decision to trust strangers, to open up. The Sea Library has been all about love, after all.

Now I went to put three dancing Keith Haring dogs on my writing hand. I am running a Sea Library of dreams, I am working at the National Library of Latvia, I am writing two books about my journey (a memoir and a book for young readers together with Lewis Buzbee from San Francisco), but most importantly – I am living with my husband Emīls and my two boys Kristians and Niklāvs, in our old wooden house on a peninsula between river and sea. The decision I made when I was 30, to be with my family, to live away from the city, to find my own path, has been the best decision ever. Without that jump I wouldn’t be dancing now with my three loves, I wouldn’t have found the wonderful world of the sea.

This summer has been filled with recognition as well. I have told about my journey on Wild Women Press, I have been mentioned on the Literay Hub and written an essay for the Seaborne Magazine. A feature about the Sea Library has been published in one of the best news magazines in Latvia, IR, and a couple of days ago I was interviewed for a local podcast on books and reading, and my library, which will be online this autumn.

This summer I have also scanned all ISBN codes of Sea Library books (the ones who have codes) for an online catalogue, but also – started a self-made catalogue (of course) sea-ibrary.com with lots of love for each and every book in my collection. It is filled now with 113 books out of 660 and each day brings a new one, so you can follow the site and receive info about a book in the Sea Library each morning.

I have swam and I have read, I have eaten fragrant apples from our orchard and spent lovely and lazy and memorable holidays with my boys and my mum and with all my friends dear to me.

I am ready for autumn.

Yours,
Anna

The illustration with me looking through a rolled sailors bookmark by Laura Lukeviča was sent as a gift from her on my birthday

3 Comments

  1. Happy (belated) birthday, Anna. Thank you for creating the wonderful Sea Library and sharing your inspiring story. As a fellow lover of books, reading and libraries, I look forward to following your journeys. Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

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