“He took the triangle to a graphic artist, and the graphic artist produced a great visual aid for use in final argument. When it was finished, I had to admit it looked better than anything I could have done on butcher paper.”
—George R. Dekle, Sr., The Last Murder
The Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-1109
Dear Mr. Turner:
Thank you for removing the tacky laminated signs forbidding the poorest of Seattle’s citizens from accessing Central’s bathroom facilities for basic hygiene. Ever since I made that visually educated recommendation to you, offering to introduce healthy communications to our community while applying for a brute survival job on your staff, hoping to pull myself up from sleeping on dirty mats on dirty floors at Seattle City Hall, Seattle Center, and various compassionate churches throughout the greater Seattle area, the toilet facilities at the downtown branch have seemed ever so slightly more humane.
Not so with much of the rest of your staff’s graphic and oral communications.
Despite investing one hour of her time “listening” to me, your downtown branch manager Karen Spiel ignored all of my other suggestions to improve communications, more effectively spend your budget, and find better solutions for Seattle’s accelerating homelessness problem, leaving me to wonder why she disrespected my time by meeting with me at all-?
Following our tête-à-tête, her direct report, your Mixing Chamber manager Sarah __?__ and her staff became ever more rabidly enraged each and every time they “caught” me (!) applying for jobs (!) on the bank of state-funded job resource computers at the top of the escalator leading from the third to the fifth floors, offering ever-increasingly irrational reasons to deny me access to 3.5 hours of daily job-seeking rather than further limit that full-time, unpaid job to the only 90 minutes of computer time permitted to all library patrons, regardless of socioeconomic urgency.
Working elbow-to-elbow with passive consumers of gang-banging anal sex with multiple male subjects on one female object creates a hostile work environment for all of your library patrons, perhaps most especially for destitute, job-seeking rape and trafficking survivors.
Occasionally, children with clueless parents also wander through your hostile community library environment.
Instead of acknowledging the flaw in the library’s logic forbidding jobseekers from setting our own priorities and multitasking from the wide range of available production software to choose the best possible tools to accomplish the full-time job of job-seeking in less than half-time, your staff retaliated to my suggestions for improving their customer service skills by launching into volleys of complaint about their own jobs while continuing to deprive me of 21st century resources to use my educated skills and experiences to attract employers who might actually want to work toward solving complex problems across the disciplines of design, technology, psychology, and law afflicting our global, national, regional, and, oh, my, yes, very much, local communities:
By early June 2015, Patrice, a doughy white woman with unkempt blonde hair, disrupted my job-seeking at the job resource computers by again coming up behind me and raging, “THESE COMPUTERS ARE NOT FOR JOB RESEARCHING. THEY ARE FOR APPLYING FOR JOBS.”
“And how do you expect me to apply for jobs if I do not research jobs?” I queried, hoping to encourage her self-reflective learning to acquire my skills of logic and discernment.
“YOU DO YOUR JOB RESEARCHING AT THE 90-MINUTE COMPUTERS,” Patrice instead raged.
I calmly explained that I had already researched the particular job for which I was in the midst of applying, and now she had disrupted me while I was writing a cover letter to the potential employer. Patrice barreled forward with her irrational rage as if she had not heard me.
“These computers are for résumés, cover letters, and job applications ONLY!”
I repeated the observation that I had already made to multiple members of your uncommunicative at best, openly hostile Mixing Chamber staff at worst, that the “job resource” computers do not provide access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, thus are not equipped for updating the InDesign version of my résumé that I maintain for those employers who can’t find their way to either WordPress or LinkedIn, but she had disrupted me while I was in the midst of writing a cov—
“THEN USE THE 90-MINUTE COMPUTERS FOR DESIGNING YOUR RESUME!” Patrice broke in over the top of my technological expertise.
Updating my InDesign résumé on your 90-minute computers in your pornography pasture entails anywhere between 10–90 minutes of troubleshooting per day past software alerting me to communication difficulties between Seattle Public Library, Adobe, and Microsoft’s operating system and cloud service:
Microsoft’s operating system blames Adobe:
Adobe blames the library’s tech support:
And even the hardware in the so-called high-tech library in the so-called high-tech city of Seattle requires me to play Information Technology administrator before I can get to work on researching jobs, firms, and outputting my cover letters in an interactive, designed format that matches my résumé:
Patrice may not care what she looks like, but as a designer, I need to show my expertise to potential employers. I can’t just yappity-yap-yap insist on my expertise in a text form field, I have to actually provide it.
“Do you have a supervisor who might be able to help us resolve this conflict without shouting—“
“I’M NOT SHOUTING!” Patrice interjected.
“—over the top of me?” I queried, offering my duplex, interactive business card that I had earlier designed with the help of InDesign on the 90-minute computers, and printed using the state-funded WorkSource printing and photocopying facility in Belltown because the library’s printing fees are beyond my destitute budget.
As you should be able see – but may, as a passive consumer of imagery, take for granted – this one image demonstrates my expert proficiency with Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign:
Not to mention how these digital tools might translate to analogue space.
Thanks to my visually educated design skills, the cards fit ubiquitous credit card sizes to guarantee they can slip into any wallet, solving the design problems of my current lack of Magnani Pescia stock stolen by one of my traffickers or access to letterpress printing facilities sacrificed to an abusive octogenarian printer who wanted me, in my late thirties, to substitute for his deceased wife; doubling the thickness of machine-milled, wood-pulp office copy white to approximate business card stock on my destitute budget; and best of all, the suite of four cards include not only my contact information but together also form a healthy communications or conflict resolution model based on the structures of trauma and power, thus tools for resolving any conflict, as long as 1) the parties agree to respect the mediator, and 2) the mediator is healthy enough to listen to both sides, examine evidence, and make sound judgments, matching behaviors to an organization’s rules or civil law.
In theory, you wouldn’t even need a mediator, as long as both parties agree to Unplay the Shame and Blame Game.
The mark for Unplay, sans typography, looks like this:
Or, as one astute potential client observed, after unfolding and refolding my business card that included my optional job title – they change from card to card, indicating my flexibility filling multiple roles and cross-disciplinary depth and breadth – interaction designer, “So, your cards explain what you do to each person you give them to?”
Just as a business card should do, via visual form, written content, and in my case, because I like to exceed bare minimum expectations to show off my expertise to potential employers, interactive structure, all woking in synchronicity to communicate the same message.
(He was not prepared to give me his contact information during our brief, passing interaction. He carried no business card. So if he wants to better communicate with his intended audiences, he will need to follow up.)
For comparison’s sake, your mark for the library serving a mid-sized U.S. city looks something like this:
An identity for the city library that hopes to communicate to its global audience that Seattle thinks of itself as the center of the world, sharp darts of pain shooting out from the library to the northwest, the southwest, and the northeast, while hovering somewhere toward the southeast-?
I can almost watch the gears churn in some librarian’s head as s/he decided, “Oh, I know! A library is like the world in a book!”
And then worked very, very hard to very, very carefully draw, the best s/he knew how, an iconic representation of a globe and a book that ends up looking like some dorky bow tie on a badly dressed salesman arriving at your door to sell you a product you neither want nor need.
The gaping visual flaw in that librarian’s logic is that you forgot about all of the other libraries in the world, and what makes Seattle’s library different, special, uniquely Seattle? What are the responsibilities and goals of a community library? Who are Seattle library patrons, and further still, to which audience do you hope to expand or attract with the generic nerdy tie choking off the rest of your communications?
After placing yet another boundary on Patrice’s rampaging irrationality, I returned to my cover letter writing, expecting your staff to respect my job-seeking priorities.
Rather than scheduling a conflict resolution meeting with her supervisor, however, a few minutes later, Patrice stomped back to the workstation to again disrupt the library’s two-hour daily limit on my job-seeking, where I was still in the midst of my cover letter to the local offices of global architecture firm NBBJ, who successfully designed the way-finding signage at SEA-TAC, the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Seventh Avenue and Stewart, and with whom I could find many commonalities, while adding to their staff not just my breadth of skills across a wealth of design media, but also my depth of knowledge in human psychology missing from Seattle’s design and education communities, as I learned throughout my 2009–2012 post-graduate, post-Great Recession attempts to network into a job with a community healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a professional wage.
“The managers are all in a meeting, so do you want me to just give your card to my manager – or what?” Patrice snarled.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
If you were, you would not need my help.
Just healthy enough.
Of course I had not narcissistically presumed your Mixing Chamber manager might be available at my immediate demand, nor did I want to sacrifice my two-hour job-seeking time to performing your managers’ jobs for them, so I suggested, “Well, how about if you bring me your manager’s card, so we can schedule a time to resolve this conflict, and teach you some healthy communication skills?”
Instead, Patrice again glared at my computer screen, with a browser window open to nothing more than NBBJ’s site and my cover letter in Word, and repetitively raged, “NO RESEARCHING FIRMS ON THESE COMPUTERS!”
“I have already explained to you that I am not researching firms, just as you ordered. I am writing a cover letter to this particular firm. Job applications are communication, between the firm and the job candidate,” I responded. Out of curiosity, since your tech support overlords assigned to the job resource computers seem to be unaware of the use of 21st century media as it applies to the job market, I also queried, “When is the last time you were looking for a job?”
“Not for awhile,” Patrice admitted, before boasting, “I’ve worked here for a looong time.”
“Okay,” I explained with equanimity, “So maybe you were able to land a job writing one generic cover letter and sending that out for every job you applied for, but that doesn’t work in the 21st century. Nowadays, employers expect you to research their firm, and write a cover letter specific to—“
“NO RESEARCHING FIRMS ON THESE COMPUTERS!” Patrice bellowed still a fourth time.
“Yes, I heard you the first time. You don’t need to shout. You’re in a library,” calmly, I hoped soothingly, “As I already explained to you, I am writing a cover letter to this particular firm, and now you have disrupted my cover-letter-writing by some 20 minutes. Could you please—“
“I DID NOT!” Patrice spun from her rampaging martyr position on the passive aggressive volvelle, a term I coined from the French for a spinning part in three-dimensional bookbinding, onward clockwise to denial, “I JUST GOT OUT HERE AT TWO O’CLOCK!”
In other words, in her hand, Patrice already held the key for unlocking her thinly repressed rage against her mother, misdirected toward impoverished, middle-aged, multiracial female library patrons under her abuse of power, and practicing healthy communication skills in resolving any conflict, whether internal or external, private or public, in domestic or foreign relations. Or you may play and pause at your leisure the 21st century digital version as you self-reflect on conflicts among your staff or with your external audience:
As Patrice raged yet another denial, I glanced at the clock in the corner of the job resource computer screen to verify my expert time management skills; it read 2:17, just three minutes shy of my guesstimate for how much time she had subtracted from my daily attempt toward attracting an audience healthy enough to respect my educated professional skills with a corresponding wage.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
In the opposite corner, your system timer rapidly counted down my daily two-hour limit on the rare days when those two hours of job-seeking were not disrupted by your staff’s irrational rampaging.
Before I gave up job-seeking at the downtown branch of Seattle Public Library for longer than 90 minutes per day.
“You can’t just look up Boeing to see what Boeing does,” Patrice spun on the passive aggressive volvelle from denial to avoid self-reflecting on her bad behavior to sneer sarcastically, before blaming me for her frustrations with her job and launching into a long-winded martyred complaint about another impoverished job-seeker she had successfully chased away from the state-funded job resource computers for committing – in Patrice’s mind – the grievous offense of shopping for clothes on the website of another global firm that happens to be headquartered in Seattle.
Since Patrice dresses like she might feel more comfortable working at a car wash or a laundromat than with a level of professionalism I expect from the downtown branch of an urban library, I can see why attire appropriate for interviews might not seem like job-seeking activity to her volatile judgment-making ability. Maybe that impoverished job-seeker was passively consuming leisure-time clothing imagery, or maybe she was a fashion designer, with potential employers expecting her to be conversant with market competition and able to describe what she offers that is new or different or sorely needed, or, like me the following month, applying for a visual designer job that Amazon added to its cloud services team after I met with their design manager to discuss a user experience design position, correlating their visual illiteracy with workplace abuses later described in a New York Times exposé of all the sexism and yelling coming from the so-called progressive city of Seattle-?
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
By curious coincidence, I am already intimately acquainted with Boeing’s executive management style structurally identical to Patrice’s top-down, dictatorial, passive aggressive communications, also identical in structure to the communications style of my adopted eighth cousin twice removed Ted, and everyone else in my abusive family, having been locked up for a month of my life without due process in what I used to think of as a democratic nation for my genealogy, my writing and critical thinking skills, and describing on the court record just one example of my Seattle job-networking experiences as the sole attendee, in a roomful of the city’s graphic designers, interior designers, web developers, architects, and business consultants, prepared to readily offer, from my university drawing studio classroom teaching experiences, an example of collaborative working skills, while a Boeing engineer wrapped up the 2010 conference session by plaintively asking what happens when dysfunctional executives do not listen to their educated design professionals.
Because that experience was so far removed from the job-seeking experiences of Idaho’s social workers and police personnel, an Idaho mental health court judge in 2014 irrationally decided my contribution to a design meeting in Seattle was a “grandiose delusion” after refusing to allow me to present evidence of the caliber of my design work or giving me an opportunity to meet with defense counsel prior to appearing in her courtroom shackled and chained, though I had made no threats to harm myself or anyone else, had only offered to introduce my graduate research on trauma and subsequent design of my simple-to-follow, four-point, healthy communications, conflict resolution model to their Department of Health and Welfare, later I reported to a suburban Boise police department crimes as serious as child abuse, elder abuse, labor trafficking, and victim/witness testimony relevant to a cold case sexual assault homicide:
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
My unjust incarceration in Idaho coincided with your selection of identity and rebranding firm Hornall Anderson in 2014. When they reviewed my online portfolio in 2010, the print version too “dangerous” for an Idaho court of law served as a mousepad in a pinch, after their infrared wireless mouse technology had difficulties making contact on the slick glass-topped surface of their conference room table:
Hornall Anderson’s human resources staffer seemed not at all afraid of my print portfolio mousepad that I had designed and built to attend the dysfunctional global ad industry’s Portfolio Night that year sponsored by Publicis.
The only negative feedback I received from the global branding firm that otherwise warmly praised my work and later failed to rebrand Seattle Public Library was, “Maybe you think too much.”
Or maybe your marketers needed to think more deeply about connecting with their local civic audience, in some ways maybe the same but probably in more ways quite a bit different from a British yeast-spreading crowd?
It is true, I am guilty of sacrificing some of my 90-minute daily job-seeking time to community service, though I must confess the motivation for my screenshots of this volunteer activity is not entirely altruistic.
Perhaps eventually my design analyses will lead me to an employer healthy enough to pay for my communications problem-solving skills:
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
The cost of passive aggressive communications from Idaho’s severely undereducated, dysfunctional mental juridical health system employees includes not just the $1,000 daily rate of Medicaid fraud preventing me from finding homicide and special victims detectives healthy enough to respect my request that they investigate the undereducated, visibly traumatized young mental health worker who docilely repeated my Micron engineer brother-in-law’s rampaging accusations that I was “psychotic” and “delusional” for speaking out against the patriarchal abuses within my extended Bundy clan after I observed one of my nephews readily identifying with the perspective of rapists and killers at their dinner table, as well as, following his same-sex role model, jeering at his high school peers for their unsuccessful attempts at suicide, but also the incalculable cost of multiple homicides when another of Idaho’s pharmaceutical test subjects returned to Moscow seven months later, killing three, an event that barely made passing mention in the local papers despite also critically wounding Seattle Office of Civil Rights lawyer Mike Chin, not to mention losing a decade of my graduate and post-graduate portfolio, personal papers that included analogue evidence relevant to a cold case sexual assault homicide, my beloved cat, and most of the rest of my possessions stolen through post-carceral trafficking experiences.
“I am really attuned to time, very good at setting priorities, and multitasking. Please give my card to your manager so we can all sit down together to brainstorm a healthier solution to this conflict,” I invited.
Patrice stomped away a second time, still grumbling her discontent with her interpretation of your executive management instruction on the use of 21st century media, job-seeking, and the responsibilities of community libraries. Rather than scheduling a conflict resolution meeting at a time amicable for all, or returning with her manager’s card so I could follow up with my own scheduling, a few minutes later my cover letter to NBBJ was again disrupted, this time by your short, white, pear-shaped greying brunette lesbian security guard, who popped into my peripheral vision and barked at me, “You have to limit these computers to job searching.”
I indicated the computer monitor, still displaying nothing more than NBBJ’s site and my cover letter clearly addressed to that firm. But your physically and mentally unfit library security guard with severely unresolved difficulties with power and control in relation to her mother shouted over the top of me every bit as irrational in her responses as Patrice. Worse, she further ramped up the library’s violence, going so far as to threaten my brute survival, and I quote, “If staff does not like the website you’re on, then you will lose access to the library computers for three days.”
I don’t much like Seattle Public Library’s text-heavy website with its hokey pale-blue bow tie paired with Times New Roman identity and layout designed for an earlier era when desktop monitors were much smaller either, but I’m not in a position to force you to better communicate with your external audience:
Compare with the identity that visually communicates when reduced to just a visual mark, without even the companion text, the library in the city it represents, and visually engaging home page of another urban library:
Once you get past New York Public Library’s splash screen begging for dollars disappeared in 2008 coincident with the year I successfully defended my MFA thesis research in critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo:
Or compare Seattle’s visually illiterate identity and failed rebrand against another urban library, where even Mayor Rahm Emanuel, despite establishing a class-biased and racist school-to-prison pipeline and actively encouraging police brutality, thanks to a design consultancy’s pro bono work still managed to pull it together for Chicago, one of the communities where I exhibited my written, designed, printed letterpress and pigment inkjet, and hand-bound thesis what does not, deliberately, readily communicate via screen media that globally fateful year:
The irrationality of your staff matches the irrationality of my extended Bundy clan, also enraged about all the time that I prioritized job-seeking under threat of eviction, where they would have preferred that I spend unlimited, on-demand hours fetching and serving for their household for less than a toilet paper budget, while forcing me to become indoctrinated into their Mormon worship, or the crime described by both the FBI and Washington’s Attorney General as modern day slavery, or labor trafficking.
“Why can’t you just listen?” your dumpy white security guard raged, identical in her demands for one-sided listening as the men born, adopted, or married into the Bundy clan, or what I describe as the two-year-old in footed pajamas argument, still rampaging his unresolved difficulties in relation to his abusive or neglectful mother with each encounter ever after without seeking trauma recovery and learning healthier conflict negotiation strategies, or dialogue skills that do not include force, threat, or coercion insisting on the one-sided “rightness” of any one perspective without hearing the other, once that unrecovered victim has acquired even the tiniest position of power, utterly oblivious to her circular illogic in depriving me of access to job-seeking when I was in the midst of job-seeking and already following all of your rules.
By then, your system clock’s two-hour daily max had pretty well petered out anyway, so rather than lose access to all of Seattle’s “public” library resources, I decided better to comply with your irrational Mixing Chamber staff and security guards actively contributing to mass shooter, serial killer, and sexual assault culture, and exacerbating the city’s homelessness problem, and return the unresolved conflict to your executive management attention.
Denied job-seeking access, on my way crossing the fifth floor to the elevators to the 10th floor Seattle Room hoping it might still be okay for a destitute citizen to access books for Pacific Northwest history and my personal genealogy research to reclaim not just my world class expertise in human psychology but also more deeply define my identity stolen from me by my abusive family and the abusive State of Idaho, still I paused in hopes of better introducing myself to your security guard, repairing the conflict, and beginning our relationship anew while she waited for the staff elevator.
“What is your name?” I asked cordially.
She glared up at me.
“My name is Jana, what is yours?” I tried again.
“I don’t have to give you my name,” she snapped between gritted teeth, “I am Badge Number Four.”
Because I had no behavior to change to follow your Mixing Chamber staff’s ever-changing rules regarding the “correct” use of the state-funded job resource computers, and many times observed many other patrons violating those rules with no staff intervention whatsoever, I continued to try to sneak in some job-seeking time whenever Sarah or her passive aggressive crew occupied themselves with stalking the perimeter of your pornographic free-for-all.
By early November 2015, just days after Mayor Ed Murray declared Seattle’s homelessness crisis a federal emergency, and whined for more federal money to randomly splatter up against the wall of this visually illiterate city’s disdain for its dire poor, your burly, anonymous black male security guard disrupted my writing a research proposal as required for a job application for a job advertised on USAjobs.gov, the federal government’s jobs database, by coming up behind me and informing me that he was responding to your Mixing Chamber staff’s complaints that I was again “abusing” the job resource computers.
In my efforts to comply with your Mixing Chamber staff’s irrational commands that job-seekers refrain from even peeking at potential employers’ websites while writing cover letters to those firms, the only software I had open that afternoon was Word, and the only document I had open was my single file containing the job description, my notes from books I’d checked out from Seattle Public Library applicable to my research proposal for the job, and my research proposal – sort of an extended cover letter – writing as required by the job application that your security guard had disrupted.
Crammed awkwardly at the workstation between monitor and keyboard, I also balanced my hand-bound journal open to the page spread where I had earlier drafted notes for my research proposal that the potential employer required of its job applicants. Pace the opinions of your mentally unstable staff, 90 minutes per day is inadequate time for trouble-shooting the library’s hardware and software to acquire access to shelter, hygiene, food, phone, and healthcare resources essential for brute survival on a trafficking survivor’s budget, let alone pressing ever onward with the full-time job of job-seeking in the face of phenomenal obstacles.
It’s not that the high-tech city of Seattle does not offer other computer facilities. It’s that the hardware, software, and illogical staff or patrons there too frequently disrupt job-seeking, almost as if Seattle’s poverty surveillance clerks hope to forbid the poor from demonstrating our 21st century skills to potential employers in hopes of acquiring living wage jobs:
— jana brubaker (@6other) April 26, 2017
I paused in writing my proposal for the job requiring my writing and critical thinking skills, partially turned on the high stool that Rem Koolhaas so thoughtfully provided before the job resource computer to meet another of your security guards face-to-face, briefly explained your Mixing Chamber staff’s long, documented history of disrupting my job seeking, demonstrated for yet another of your undereducated thugs that I was, indeed, job seeking by clicking on the link within my opened Word document to the job description, which opened a browser window to the United States federal government’s jobs database, explained that the job application deadline was that evening, thus I did not have time for further disruptions from Seattle Public Lib—
Rather than review the evidence before his own eyes, your illiterate black male bouncer interrupted me mid-sentence to bellow, “I’VE ONLY BEEN TALKING TO YOU FOR THREE MINUTES! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING FOR AN HOUR!”
Had he been any better educated to negotiate conflict between hard-working patrons and your mentally unstable Mixing Chamber staff, assessing technology, words, and pictures, your Security-R-Us beefcake could have reassured Sarah that meta-data attached to my Word file proved my job-seeking activity that afternoon.
Or he could have just listened to my perspective to gain a better understanding of my priorities, experiences, job skills, and career goals, sharply revised after realizing how desperately the mental juridical health field needs my trauma-educated, visually literate help.
Believe it or not, when you’re unemployed, there’s nothing you want more than to receive a living wage in exchange for your education and hard work.
Like grown ups used to do prior to the Great Recession prompting – or maybe only accelerating? – global madness.
The longer you’re unemployed, the more you want to find an employer healthy enough to respect the breadth and depth of your ever-increasing skills with a living wage.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
With my two-hour-per-day job-seeking clock and the job application’s deadline both rapidly ticking away, next I pulled out my iPhone, opened the camera app, slid to video, and tried to visually document the remainder of that afternoon’s interactions with your incompetent, hostile employees, whereupon your burly security guard only threatened to evict me from the “public” library altogether if I provided audiovisual evidence of his unprofessionalism. Rules for civil engagement for Seattle “Public” Library security guards and Mixing Chamber staffers are apparently less stringent than for the city’s police force. Unfortunately, my iPhone camera did what it frequently does when protecting myself under the provisions of RCW 9.73.030, and the area of the screen that Apple’s UX design team designated as the big, red start button neglected to register the touch of my finger. I encourage you to pull your own camera archives and together with Karen Spiel more closely supervise your staff’s abusive behaviors instead of necessarily assuming your homeless patrons are the folks behaving badly in your facility.
Next I approached the Mixing Chamber staff desk, noting the same employee who initially forbid my job-seeking on the job resource computers again parked in her complacent position, her face scrunched in its perpetual sneer of malcontent.
Overriding an earlier promise and hearty handshake I’d extracted from her Assistant Manager Jason Davis that your staffers would refrain from disrupting my daily allotment of two hours of job-seeking at the library by coming up behind me and raging at me, his supervisor Sarah shared her objections to my post-carceral 21st century job-seeking strategy:
“You’re posting to your blog, and looking at websites,” her tone apoplectic, as if she had just accused me of fondling young children.
Since I had no web browser open while I was working that day, with that accusation she made clear to me that she remembered our earlier encounter, albeit her perspective is different from mine. Rather than reward my change in behavior attempting to comply with her irrational commands to avoid using the internet as a job-seeking tool, however, in textbook passive aggressive fashion, Sarah vented her retaliatory rage to my earlier recommendations to you for improving customer service and more responsibly spending your budget, “YOU’RE NOT FOLLOWING OUR PROGRAM!”
I responded that I was working on a job application deadline, and thus I did not have time to bring your staff up to speed on 21st century technology as it applies to the job marketplace that evening.
Sarah sneered at my description of my behavior that afternoon, writing a research proposal as required by a job application, rolled her eyes, curled her upper lip ever higher and tighter toward her nostrils, and directed me to another bank of computers that she described as “Word machines” disconnected from the internet, located on another level of your 11-story library, as if she hoped to prevent me from communicating with potential employers, dismissing my pressing concerns about meeting the job application deadline on the east coast before the end of their calendar day, but not until after first sharing her own high opinion of herself, sneering her disdain for a trafficking survivor fleeing the abuses of the Bundy clan and a totalitarian state, as if she had overcome the hurdle of being shackled and chained for her job-seeking efforts and felt like she was competing with me in the job marketplace, “I know how to find a job.”
As you can see, on the seventh floor of the so-called high-tech library, I found a computer disconnected from the internet typewriter desperately overdue for some tech support, where each X inside a red circle inside a blue square across the lower left corner of this screenshot corresponds to a redundant alert window popping into the direct center of the screen to warn me of an operation canceled due to the restrictions library tech support placed on either my cardmember login (less likely) or (more likely) the codependent software and utilities installed on the machine really really really want to be connected to the internet, despite my compliance with Sarah’s invitation to complete my job application on the “Word machines” Seattle Pubic Library’s typewriters, opening only Word, not even Excel or PowerPoint, refraining from even attempting to search for a web browser, respecting Sarah’s authority over her precious “job-seeking machines” for whatever tasks Sarah deemed to qualify as job-seeking, using whatever software Sarah approved for job-seeking or however Sarah decided to define job-seeking or applying for whatever jobs met with Sarah’s condescending and discriminatory approval for Seattle’s poverty class, on any given day of any given week mismanaging the Mixing Chamber computers under her passive aggressive command and actively exacerbating Seattle’s homelessness problem:
In the so-called high-tech city of Seattle.
Comparatively, at the state job-seeking facilities in a one-horse town in rural eastern Oregon, their staff readily welcomed a computer literate traveler to borrow their tools for eight hours a day if brute survival tasks like laundry and seeking shelter safer than the unwanted attentions of a chain-smoking methamphetamine and “anti”-psychotic addict had not interfered with my career goals during office hours, generously provided a landline telephone in a private office for a job interview I scheduled in the midst of fleeing human trafficking, and complimented my professionalism.
If rural eastern Oregon could have also supplied a safe roof overhead, I might not have returned to Seattle, as familiar as I am with this city’s passive aggressive communicators in hopes of finding even one employer healthy enough to return a professional wage in exchange for their employees’ learning healthy communications, thus dramatically increasing any budget because of course not listening to your customers’ real needs is costly for both them and you.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
As I tried to edit my writing to the concision required by the job application, your redundant error alert continued to disrupt my work as persistently as your abusive staffers:
After editing to the best of my ability around your frenetic error windows popping into view to obstruct my work, I crept back downstairs to the Mixing Chamber, carefully wedged my body between pornographers, and prayed your mentally unstable staff would not alert to my job-seeking presence. Next I pasted text into my InDesign-ed stationery, included an image from my painting portfolio that visually communicates my ability to listen to the multiple shades of grey between black and white extremes of value better than the application’s 1,000 word limit, exported as an interactive PDF with live links to evidence further validating my expertise, proofed my work in the amateur version of Acrobat to get a fairly close approximation of how it might look on the receiving end, and finally uploaded my application to the potential employer’s server, which required me to have open the employer’s website (!), in fact, I worked with multiple windows open to a range of job-seeking software all at the same time (!), including multiple tabs open in one browser window (!), my multitasking, expert time management behavior that your staff vociferously forbids job-seekers from performing on the state-funded job resource computers, with just nine-and-one-half minutes to spare on my daily max at the 90-minute computers and thus limiting my ability to meet the potential employer’s deadline, despite your abusive employees doing everything in their power to maintain mass shooter, serial killer culture and increase homelessness in Seattle.
This is what “abusing” the job resource computers looks like to your passive aggressive Mixing Chamber staff and illiterate bouncers:
Believe it or not, Mr. Turner, it takes even someone with my writing and critical thinking skills longer than one hour to write a cogent research proposal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
I would have liked the opportunity to have edited my proposal – required by the job application – to still further concision, but for the continual disruptions from your dysfunctional computers and staff.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
Sarah, in her limited experience, might personally feel that a homeless woman is not qualified for a one-year, temporary position with the team that gets kind of frowny pants on folks who do not uphold the values outlined in our Constitution, but after my experience being locked up without access to competent counsel or fair trial for the very skills the Supreme Court seeks in its fellows because, like Sarah, Idaho’s mental juridical health system clerks are too dull-witted to use Google to ascertain the difference between global historic reality and delusion, protracting my search for “office environments that reward initiative, collegiality, discretion, and sound judgment,” yet still building my cv by providing witness testimony of a cold case sexual assault homicide to Seattle Police Department two years before and again to detectives in Idaho six months before prosecutors in Arizona extradited one suspect from Nevada and a full year before federal agents again jockeyed with my extended clan in Oregon with Idaho sending its pharmaceutical test subjects barreling across the border and harming Washingtonians, I think my qualifications are easily competitive with prosecutors and defenders throughout the American West.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
Further, the Court does not require a J.D. for its fellows, any old grad rag will do, including my humble MFA, as long as the job candidates are highly motivated and creative and possess excellent writing skills. As I learned from researching the position on your 90-minute computers before attempting to write my research proposal on the two-hour job resource computers, one of their former Fellows directs policy, research, and analysis at a diaper bank for impoverished children, which tells me at least some of the Justices concern themselves with the problem of poverty.
But maybe Sarah prefers a community ripe with mass shooters, serial killers, and drug addicts over graphic designers, writers, and artists?
Does Sarah fantasize of being gang-raped on her way home from work one evening?
And if Sarah’s answer to that rhetorical question is no, then it is in Sarah’s personal best interest – not to mention in the best interests of this community – to do everything in her personal power to provide me with the tools that I need to acquire access to employers healthy enough to want to design and build healthier solutions to those communication problems, and save her sneering derision for her private sessions before her mirror in the mornings or afternoons with her psychotherapist.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
What is your plan for Badge Number Four and her anonymous cohort protecting Seattle Public Library patrons against the unthinkable, or inevitable, gun-wielding assassin also stomping like an emotional two-year-old in footed pajamas and insisting on the “rightness” of his perspective before your staff get an opportunity to quadruple-down on acquiring my listening skills?
You might think, with my MFA, I am better qualified for the internship with the Court’s curatorial office, but if you notice their compensation package does not offer more than changing the urine-soaked bedsheets of a Micron engineer’s elderly mother, even after he raged at me to stop providing care for her, so if our nation does not value art and history enough to pay curators a living wage, even while you ragers visibly, desperately need my trauma recovery and healthy communication skills, I surrender to the law.
When you were a small boy, Mr. Turner, did you dream of growing up to be the head librarian at an institution in a mid-sized city in a nation that incarcerates and tortures artists, feminists, people of color, homosexuals, and intellectuals on the basis of nothing more than our socioeconomic status coincident with bad behaviors between Wall Street and the other Washington?
Or would you do me a favor and assign the task of writing, in not more than one hour, independent research proposals for the Court’s annual fellowship to Sarah and your buff black male security guard who, like Badge Number Four or everyone who feels ashamed of their behavior and does not want their boss to know about it, also refused to give me his name? Maybe they could upload their results to the internet someplace where citizens concerned about democracy’s rapid slide into fascism might review their job skills?
Sarah does not have to post her efforts to her own blog if she does not feel comfortable with WordPress or maintaining other Content Management Systems. Maybe she could scan in her typewritten text before uploading that image file on Pinterest or Flickr or your preferred social medium for Seattleites to review our “public” library services?
Sarah’s job overseeing the state-funded job resource computers is to help impoverished job-seekers acquire jobs. How Sarah goes about performing her job is by forbidding access to the internet for jobseekers with more education, experience, and skills than Sarah, while paradoxically sneering at Washingtonians more impoverished than her own level of relative socioeconomic comfort.
Maybe you could reassure Sarah that I am not competing with her for her job? I am not interested in playing in her sandbox, pitching sand in the eyes of other emotional toddlers. While I think that everyone interfacing with the dire poor should be trauma-educated, and all chronological adults should unpack their childhood bags in drawing studio and/or therapy rather than hauling their dysfunctional familial baggage into the workplace, I am batting a thousand in a whole other ballpark while subsisting on nothing more than a SNAP budget in ongoing criminally violent environments exacerbated by criminally negligent social services providers.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
Reminiscent of my 2012 encounter with Sarah Sorensen, the severely traumatized white female Domestic Violence Victim Support Services Volunteer Supervisor then employed by Seattle Police Department, visibly overwhelmed with the duties of her job and all the software at her disposal, visually illiterate, openly sharing her derision for the multiracial, impoverished artist and designer she was paid to serve while surrealistically interviewing me for any biases I might hide, both Sarahs together inspired my naming of Sarah Syndrome, or The Book of Sarah for the Gnostic gospels compendium to the psychiatric industry’s DSM bible.
Throughout her high-speed running trauma monologue that Sarah substituted as a spiel to get volunteers all pumped and excited about walking into crime scenes more likely to cause harm to officers than any other, only without her paycheck, she shared her remarkably high opinion of herself as someone who could “empathize” with the poor, since she herself had once been on food stamps for three months, sotto voce. But when another potential domestic violence volunteer raised the question of employment and volunteer paychecks, Sarah Sorensen whipped into a scornful frenzy only a few years into the Great Recession:
“I mean I can understand if they have been out of work for a little while, but what have they been doing for three years??” she snarled, all-too-swiftly telling her trauma monologue about her experience with poverty while spinning onward from victim to abuser without pausing to first discover the self-awareness necessary to make the leap out of that vicious circle to survivor.
I can remember in the early years of the Great Recession listening to a story on NPR about a man in Russia who had been out of work for ten years, and I thought, one of any of these tens of thousands of employers is going to have to hire me, because I don’t have a way of surviving that long without an income. To my ears, the NPR reporters responded compassionately to his suffering, not with the sneering derision of Seattle’s two Sarahs, the same sneering derision shared by the racist schizophrenic Seattleites elected to their school board in 2011, her campaign manager brother of a former Washington state legislator and current King County Councilmember, and her dueling home-schooled campaign manager one semester shy of an AA degree from a regional community college, all too mentally disabled to respect my visually educated expertise with our contractually obligated wage while blatantly using patchwork pieces of my work to get their candidate elected.
In post-Great Recession United States of America, it looks like it was faster for the Russians to come to me than for me to find even one employer healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
In 2011, Seattle voters elected to place the future of their children’s education in the hands of a retired math teacher by whose own admission, I discovered during the course of my design research sessions preparatory to identity and rebranding her campaign collateral, could not teach math, could not maintain her own budget, and instead of being ready to articulate her plans for improving Seattle Public Schools, bounced up and down in her chair, anxiously screeching, “I need a sign! I need a sign! I need a sign!”
Quickie little lesson in semiotics hoping to better educate my dysfunctional client and her two undereducated campaign managers, applying my graduate research to real world problems just like educated adults are supposed to do, one screen from my longer design strategy mapping out a business plan for identifying the problems in Seattle schools by analyzing the relationships between brands profiting from changes in education policy subsequent to the massacre at Columbine High School and 9/11, and designing solutions from the outermost margins, when students choose homicide and/or suicide in lieu of graduation:
Or you may prefer watching my stop-motion graphic brand analysis of the complexities between inside and outside, public and private, technology and education, whereupon I gave up networking into design jobs within Seattle’s dysfunctional education community, having observed too many of Seattle’s teachers and parents telling their trauma monologues, unprepared to engage in mutually respectful dialogue, their behavior answering my initial question about why my former students had arrived at university suffering so much trauma, yet poorly equipped with coping skills, which we then got to work on resolving in drawing studio as they began to acquire tools for visual communication:
By 2014, despite “anti-bullying” legislation co-sponsored by the one campaign manager’s state legislator brother that might as well have been cut-and-pasted from equally ineffective laws passed in other states, global news outlet Al Jazeera documents the rug-sweeping experience of one Seattle Public Schools student anally raped by another who readily acknowledges “I did not pay attention to her [needs, wants, protests] that much,” with parents who invested $50,000 in a treatment center pill dispensary nowhere near as effective as learning the vocabulary and grammar of visual communications in analogue media toward helping their daughter speak the unspeakable to an empathetic, listening audience, and thereby recover from her traumatic experience, before giving up on Seattle’s willingness to prosecute and/or better educate rapists and moving out of state.
By 2015, coincident with your abusive staff denying me access to job-seeking tools, and your marketing team failing to persuade your public audience of the value of visual literacy, without benefitting from my visually educated labor Seattle school teachers were still wrestling with signs on sticks instead of first identifying their external audience, and the Washington Supreme Court sanctioned the legislature $100,000 per day for failing to adequately fund the state’s system of education.
When a state fails to adequately fund education, or that education focuses on STEMs to the exclusion of blooms, you wind up with employees like Sarah and Badge Number Four and most of the clerks staffing the neighboring state’s mental juridical health system, and the social workers I’ve encountered upon my return to Seattle, unable to think beyond checking check boxes on bubble-sheet tests, their enormously fragile egos pouting or dissolving into rage whenever their authority is questioned or they encounter biographies different from their own.
As long as Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Library employ victim/abusers, instead of healthy, ego-invested survivors, neither department will ever solve the city’s “domestic” violence, homelessness, or your correlative problem with visual literacy.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
One of my accomplishments over the last decade when I’m not applying for jobs through a barrage of visually illiterate ladies oftentimes younger, less educated than me, and too severely traumatized to treat people in positions less powerful than their own with what I consider to be basic human dignity, I analyzed the domestic violence communications model that I first observed at Seattle Police Department headquarters, identified its major flaws – the Duluth model places victims and abusers in opposite camps or opposing poles rather than recognizing the pattern of abusive behavior common to victims/abusers as they whirl through their trauma monologue patterning themselves after their same-sex role models limited in their conflict negotiation strategies to either pouting (repressing their anger, typically feminine) or raging (inappropriately expressing anger, typically masculine) – and designed Unplay, a conflict resolution model that is fail-proof because it is based on the structures of trauma and power rather than the false dichotomies between male and female, white and black, or any other difference.
All I asked of Seattle Police Department in 2012 was a safe roof overhead in exchange for my domestic violence volunteer service.
From my perspective, it took the City of Seattle three full years to hairball up a miserly roof, but your poverty industrial complex workers either missed the adjective “safe,” or your definition of safety does not match mine. Either way that roof expires in August, which means I’m asking this community to grow exponentially and hustle up with an employer and colleagues healthy enough to reciprocate my respect faster than you have been able to provide just a roof and intermittent wifi, continually disrupted by one housemate’s foul-mouthed insults and rampaging threats of bodily harm.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough to want to actually get to work on self-awareness by unpacking your childhood bags, even if you’re not entirely sure where to begin.
One of the things I learned from the unexpected opportunity to further prove the accuracy of my MFA thesis argument on critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo – within the clinical environment of two psych facilities, one private, and one state-run, after Idaho police demonstrated their irrational fear of educated women, listening skills every bit as poor as your employees, and unfamiliarity with the internet as a tool not just for job-seeking but also fact-finding relevant to homicide investigations, with systemic communications so bungled throughout the neighboring state’s mental juridical health system that police investigating Moscow’s 2015 triple homicide were unaware of the state’s hospitality seven months prior to the psychotropic med-induced spree shooting, hence my psychoanalytic expert witness testimony answering the chief’s desperate plea to better understand motivation, there again going the extra mile, analyzing multiple data sets to prove my genealogy relationships to not just the Bunkerville Bundys but also infamous serial killer Ted Bundy – is that I asked for waaay too little in exchange for my labor better educated and more experienced than Ms. Sorensen’s in 2012.
Probably better educated in human psychology than many homicide detectives and definitely more than a battery of so-called mental health “professionals” earning taxpayer-funded paychecks throughout the American West.
Definitely better educated in the psychology of mass shooters than the FBI Behavioral Health Unit alumnus who provided his post-mortem analysis of the Virginia Tech shooter, for the reasons I explain in my comparison between Moscow’s 2007 and 2015 mass shooters.
Not a “grandiose delusion.” Just my evidence-proven biography, describing my professional skills like grown ups do in the process of seeking an employer healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Could Meridian Police Department have prevented the brutal death of the brother of a former Idaho state legislator if they had been healthy enough to respect my visually educated expertise, and immediately launched an investigation into the undereducated and inappropriate responses from one IDHW clerk, leading to a deeper and wider investigation of the state’s department?
That investigation will take longer, and the police detectives will first need to be better educated in human psychology, or the psychoanalytic theory upon which I based much of my MFA thesis research on trauma.
Would the FBI have been able to complete their investigation of Idaho’s mental juridical health system failures prior to Moscow’s 2015 triple homicide if they had returned my 2014 call to their Boise office that coincided with the anniversary of my wedding to my prosecutor ex-husband, son of ex-FBI parents?
Speaking from personal experience, who employed by the FBI might be qualified to differentiate between their everyday, on-the-job paranoia that spills over into their relationships with their children, and a healthy fear of monsters?
Good for low-level state bureaucrats to remember that federal bureaucrats are people too.
Maybe good if police departments and social workers across the nation could get started on their education in human psychology sometime prior to the next mass shooting or series of sexual assault killings-?
The gaps in communication between education, criminal justice, and social services unfortunately fall to community resources. Like libraries.
To hear Ann Rule tell her experiences working Seattle’s suicide hotline with my adopted eighth cousin twice removed, Ted Bundy was more empathetic than the city’s current generation of 911 operators, social workers, and the dysfunctional members of your library staff.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
Seattleites capable of performing basic maths and who care at least as much about their offspring as they do about themselves might want to learn from my expertise in trauma recovery, and work tout de suite to acquire my empathy building and listening skills.
Greedier Seattleites might try to bottle my expertise and sell it.
I cannot be bought.
I can, however, be hired. As long as you are healthy enough to treat me with respect.
Particularly in light of King County’s recent settlement agreement rather than defend Sheriff John Urquhart against alleged rape and Mayor Ed Murray’s defense of his alleged rape of adolescents when he was a younger man unrecovered from the domestic violence trauma of his childhood, with the yelling from the Mayor’s office comparable to Amazon’s workplace abuses, according to local news blog Crosscut, pace my Micron engineer brother-in-law’s rampaging about how WRONG WRONG WRONG I was about the sheer volume of victims of sexual abuse and/or sexual abusers I have encountered throughout my post-graduate, post-Great Recession job-seeking experiences confounding my ability to find employers healthy enough to respect my educated expertise.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough to want to get to work on unpacking your bags rather than hauling them into your workplaces and defeating the written goals of your organization, department, agency, or our Constitution.
Would that Sarah Syndrome was limited to just the Seattle Police Department Sarah and the Seattle Public Library Sarah, that the two Sarahs were the exceptions rather than the cultural rule, then Seattle might have solved its homelessness problem without that Gates Foundation blogger whining for my visually educated volunteer labor in 2012 for help solving that very problem long before I returned in 2015. Unfortunately for the health and well-being of our community, Sarah Syndrome typifies most folks paid to interact with the dire poor at all points of entry throughout Seattle’s convoluted poverty industrial complex, exponentially compounding the city’s narcissistic aggression problem.
For all I know, perhaps your Sarah is the same Sarah, jumping from job to job to job throughout city departments with very low expectations from hiring managers.
Next do you think you could get some help for your Sarah before she needlessly escalates the property tax bill for Seattle homeowners?
Did your rampaging staff deny me access to the job resource computers because they were overbooked, with other jobless patrons desperately waiting for job-seeking time, as Sarah’s supervisor, Regional Manager Karen Spiel had agonized, overburdened with impoverished jobseekers in the early years of the Great Recession, tentatively granting me permission that “it might be okay” for me to view, not potential employers’ interactive, real-time communications, but static screenshots of their websites (!) while seated before the Mixing Chamber job resource computers, but either failed to communicate her approval to Sarah or Sarah again failed to communicate that shift in policy to her staff, and how the librarians went about “solving” their design problem was to rage at jobless library patrons, until we finally gave up trying to access library machines for reconnecting with human beings hopefully healthier than your employees, while I tried to type-type-type and edit-edit-edit my research proposal required by the job application in the two-hour limit the job resource computers would have allowed before automatically logging out my account, technically obviating any need for you to budget for human labor to further reduce my job-seeking time, their paychecks made still more irrelevant by the industrial design of bar-stool-height chairs digging into the backs of jobseekers’ knees, leaving the legs of all but the tallest jobseekers dangling, with the end results of both infantilizing jobseekers and cutting off blood circulation to our extremities by the time we reach our daily allowable maximum-?
Without me, the bank of job resource computers was entirely empty that afternoon. As I pointed out to Sarah. To no light of self-awareness penetrating her unreceptive sneer of derision for the dire poor. As I found your job-seeking computers most afternoons by the time I could get through my morning appointments of toilet, daily workout, teeth-brushing, tea, journaling, showering, clothing changes – all at separate locations, separated by lengthy walk times, such is the severe dysfunction of Seattle’s poverty industrial complex, with separate transportation systems for elite engineers, ordinary Metro bus riders, and poverty wagons that may or may not deliver riders to their anticipated destinations, all clogging the roadways performing essentially the same goal, moving bodies from Point A to Point B, with varying levels of convenience and creature comfort, or separating those bodies by class. To say nothing of individual drivers in their narcissistic automobiles, raging their complaints about traffic, their level of rage accelerated far beyond reasonable to their suffering or inconvenience, as demonstrated by Seattle Police Department’s Sarah Sorensen. Seattle “Public” Library’s Sarah and her staffers had been so successful raging or sneering at other impoverished jobseekers that we sought job-seeking elsewhere. Or gave up job-seeking altogether.
Yet Mayor Murray, the Seattle City Council, and King County Executive Dow Constantine are still puzzled by February of this year as to why federal taxpayers do not want to donate anymore cash to help Seattle solve its narcissistic aggression problem-?
Meanwhile, six years after I explained to a Seattle School Board candidate that you need to start solving education problems at their outermost margins, Washington still sweeps its K-12 sexual assault data under the rug-?
On 07 July 2016, one day after I group-emailed my request to: 1) you, recommending some housecleaning to make it possible for homeless citizens to one day perhaps acquire living wage jobs; 2) Mike Chin asking for his support obtaining a nominal transportation budget for a trafficking survivor maybe via the Department of Justice funding awarded to the City of Seattle for the express purpose of supporting victims of human trafficking, because my criminally negligent trafficking team of case managed homeless housing providers were and still are miserably failing to do their jobs, providing me with a roof overhead and wifi, it is true, but otherwise leaving me stranded in Seattle’s far-flung suburbs without access to rudimentary healthcare, hygiene, job-networking opportunities, and perpetually disrupting my continuing education and job-seeking efforts with threats of eviction when I place boundaries on a criminally violent housemate still threatening me with bodily harm while rampaging dictatorial commands to perform household or yard work in violation of Seattle composting laws and outside the terms of our lease contract, or more trafficking, in violation of multiple Washington criminal and civil laws; and 3) Dr. Dorothy Teeter, heading up the Washington Healthcare Authority responsible for administrating Medicaid, or Apple Health, for impoverished Washingtonians, asking for her approval of my primary care provider’s referral to an out-of-network psychologist so I could continue to rely on her credentialed support rather than end up involuntarily incarcerated by low level bureaucrats every bit as undereducated and unprepared to resolve conflict or bare minimum maintain the boundaries set by their lease agreement, instead resorting to the same abusive tactics of coercion, threat, and force as their Idaho counterparts, your staff, and the Bundy clan, I happened to be sitting in your tenth floor reading room quietly reading a book when your staff disrupted that activity with their boisterous laughter and conversation.
I glanced up from my reading material to observe your anonymous burly black male security guard and Badge Number Four sharing a moment of joviality with Seattle Room staff.
Does Seattle Public Library now forbid reading, much as writing is a “crime” for which I was incarcerated in Idaho, and job-seeking provoked threats of eviction from your staff-?
If you have never personally been shackled and chained for placing boundaries on the amount of work you could perform for less than a toilet paper budget, you likely cannot empathize with my experience. But maybe you can look deeply into your ancestry, and, from the comfort of the position of power you have been able to attain, make decisions helping your employees learn to speak up instead of stomp down-?
I inhaled deeply, cradling in one palm a heart-shaped stone similar to what was for them an object of Meridian Police Department’s derision in my pocket when I asked for their help escaping human trafficking, what for me is a way of maintaining contact with the love of the earth Herself particularly important when familial relationships have miserably failed loving communications, to the count of 10, exhaling deliberately, carefully, and continued bravely reading, hoping your uniformed thugs would not recognize me if they saw me, or better still that they would not even see me, gasp, oh, no, call in the SWAT team, we’ve caught another critical thinker, yes, can you believe her audacity, actually reading in the “public” library-?!?
Perhaps Badge Number Four and her anonymous peer had only paused at the staff elevator on their way up to your 11th floor office for more professional training?
Maybe your definition of a clean house differs from mine-?
Either your employees utterly disrespect your leadership, or your pedagogy was ineffective.
By mid-October 2016, making my way back downtown to visit my dentist, I over-guesstimated public transit time, arrived early for my appointment, and decided to risk your employees’ wrath for more in-library research. First to the 10th floor because I had forgotten the Seattle Room is closed on Fridays, then to peruse your music collection, then back down to the third floor in search of literature in your fiction stacks.
Then the challenge of how to find a comfortable chair for curling up and reading a book in the so-called public library. Don’t feel bad. Three years on my graduate school campus, I could never find a comfortable chair for reading in another place of so-called scholarship there too, which is how I happened to be sitting in Seattle’s Living Room absorbed in literature until Badge Number Four again decided to implement the duties of her job with as little compassion as possible, rapping sharply with her baton on one of the plastic armchairs directly behind me in her efforts to rouse a homeless man who had drifted from staring aimlessly into space to the brief reprieve of sleep, while somehow miraculously managing to remain in an upright, seated position.
With your Mixing Chamber staffers forbidding the homeless access to job-seeking computers, what do you expect him to do after he uses up his 90 daily minutes of accessing resources essential for brute survival? How is he supposed to connect with potential employers? Stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign advertising his job skills?
When her first attempt failed to achieve her desired effect, Badge Number Four rapped a second time, more sharply, and again, on the back of his chair, on each side, on all sides, her rapping ringing, echoing loudly through the hard-surfaced, cavernous space that soars to your executive suite on the 11th floor.
Perhaps you overheard her commotion?
“Are you awake?” she sneered as one impoverished citizen blearily began to return to consciousness, followed by her bellowing, “NO SLEEPING IN THE LIBRARY.”
He startled back to full consciousness.
Another homeless man, unkempt, grimy, glassy-eyed, twitching from an overdose of “anti”-psychotics or methamphetamine or sleep deprivation or all of the above, the stereotype of what you envision when you think of the homeless, what most people expect, envision, fear when they think of homeless people, if they think of homeless people at all, the caricature of Homeless Man, let loose an abrupt laugh, a bark, a cruel guffaw that also bounced and echoed off all the hard surfaces throughout the space, bookshelves, glass windows, gleaming escalators.
“You see what you made me do?” Badge Number Four continued to berate her quarry, blaming her own bad behavior disrupting my enjoyment of the work of Nadine Gordimer, a Nobel Laureate in Literature (!) at the library (!), by bullying the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the weak, the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, “You’ve got all these people laughing at how loud I have to be to wake you up.” (Emphasis added.)
As if a comatose man controls the behavioral choices of your abusive staff.
No one laughed besides the visible psychotic.
That afternoon, Badge Number Four played her cruel humor to an audience suffering psychosis.
An audience of one.
Healthy people are not amused by abuse.
When I use the term psychosis, I mean it in the clinical sense used by psychologists worldwide, as compared and contrasted with a Micron engineer who uses “psychotic” to mean anyone who expresses an opinion that disagrees with his own, or Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals, who obligingly repeated the “diagnosis” offered by the Bundy clan when my publicly accessible biography differed from the personal life stories or the political or religious beliefs of Idaho’s female social workers who dutifully uphold the opinions of their abusive patriarchs or police personnel with Three-Percenters minting their résumés, rather than using Google to fact-check the difference between “delusion” and the reality of public record.
The psychotic laughs at abuse for two reasons: relief that he is not its current target, or early childhood training from abusive role models, forced to pretend to enjoy whatever activity a controlling parent dictated.
In my review of your library rules, I notice the closest rule that Badge Number Four concerned herself with enforcing does not actually forbid patrons from sleeping; rather, “Lying down or appearing to be sleeping…” (Emphasis added.)
Striding through that cluster of chairs, Badge Number Four barked at another of your library patrons with eyes closed, head nodding to whatever tune played through his earbuds, “Open your eyes!”
“I’m listening to music,” he protested her rude disruption of his musical interlude.
“Well, keep you eyes open,” she snarled, “So you don’t look like you’re sleeping to me.”
And that’s all that matters to Badge Number Four’s narcissistic perspective as she goes about cherry-picking the library’s rules she chooses to enforce, ignoring the rules she chooses to personally violate.
I put forth to you that many of your homeless patrons are more woke than most of your downtown staffers. Since sitting staring into space appears not so very different from sitting with eyes closed, maybe Badge Number Four could take more care to refrain from her own violations of the library rule higher in your hierarchy of rules: “Disruptive behavior, such as creating loud noises, loud talking…” by remembering there are better ways of resolving conflict than escalating violence-? From my reading selection she disrupted:
“Quarrels in discoteques were settled by the final curseword of guns. State violence under the old, past regime had habituated its victims to it. People had forgotten there was any other way.”
—Nadine Gordimer, The House Gun [Emphasis added.]
To add insult to injury, that instance of Badge Number Four’s derogatory abuse of Seattle’s most vulnerable citizens coincided with more banal graphic design littering one of your library’s upstairs hallways, promoting your hypocrisy as well as your in-house software technician’s inability to correctly identify narcissistic aggression before producing “solutions” for the city’s communications problem:
Here, maybe I can help. Your color selections have no connotative meaning, chosen at random, yet more evidence supporting my theory correlating visual illiteracy with abuse, so I’ve gone ahead and taken the liberty of changing your colors to black type against a white ground, your squares to octagons, and whipped out my red pen to make a handful of edits to your copy.
I’ll leave typography and page layout for when you are ready for more advanced lessons in design, although I’ve expanded the composition to give you a better view of the frame:
If you are not as experienced as I am reading upside down or backwards while proofing letterpress galleys, hold your mobile device before a mirror:
Shift your gaze from the reflection of the screen to your own eyes in the mirror.
Look deeply into your own eyes.
Who or what do you see?
With the exception of astronomical images courtesy NASA, and the shot of my 2010 design book forbidden from a court of law, this poster series includes just a small sampling from over a decade’s hard work either lost to trafficking theft or that I’ve created while homeless. To those Seattle NIMBYs struggling to connect the dots to acknowledge their socioeconomic comforts enjoyed on the backs of the poorest of the poor, I would say: I’m not ugly. You’re ugly. I do not understand why people would choose to live in Sarah’s visually deprived world.
If I recall correctly, you paired your amateur graphic design with an installation of black and white photographic portraits of homeless people from the 1980s in the gallery space opposite the elevators, as if at a loss for visually communicating homelessness right here, right now, in the 20-teens. Meanwhile, a return of my analogue portfolio would fill all of your hallways and available gallery spaces within the downtown branch:
Without writers, artists, and graphic designers, your library would be empty save staff as dysfunctional as your computers. Every book is written. Each text block is designed. Album covers, book jackets, wayfinding signage, branded coffee cups sold from the kiosk, the floors, the art on the walls, the picture books in the children’s section, the interface of your screens – all the work of designers, artists, and writers.
“Hi” is nowhere near enough. My work is not good enough to pay for, but it’s good enough to steal-? How about starting with an apology for this community’s narcissistic arrogance? As an emotionally mature adult, I do not give anyone permission to make me feel:
Just imagine, if you hung the print version of these posters in your Red Hall, the frame would all but disappear, with the white stop signs attracting the most visual attention in that context, so your middle-class staff and patrons unprepared to self-reflect and change their behavior can continue chattering at an audience of yourselves, while failing to solve your empathy problem for another decade or two:
Or if you also install mirrors throughout your hallway, they might catch the light and help your staffers pause long enough to learn how to begin actually repairing Seattle’s narcissistic aggression problem.
Or maybe #TheseKidsToday will snap selfies with their mobile devices beside my posters to hold up before the mirrors in the bathrooms on that level. And selfie again, posting their image production hashtagged #SeattleSoRich with more suggestions for solving the city’s narcissistic aggression problem.
Maybe if Badge Number Four rages at herself in one of those mirrors, eventually she may finally hear how much she likely sounds like her own mother, and that might prompt her to get to work unpacking her bags and choosing compassion, instead of marching onward, another generation abusing her power over impoverished library patrons?
Now, how are you going to attract a market audience of healthy employers to your fourth floor meeting rooms?
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
Your mega-corporate-brand-strategist Hornall Anderson played you like a song to the tune of $365,000 to miserably fail to communicate the value of visual literacy to your external audience of voluble, logocentric, property-owning citizens, with their trite, predictable complaints that you had not invested in substance, rather than mere style, and leaving you back-pedaling to rewrite a defense of the brand consultancy’s marketing efforts.
Thanks to public fundraising, your Library Foundation paid the paychecks of the young designer(s) who produced three potential logos that look as if they could have been crowdsourced for not more than $500, pace the opinion of the writers at Publishers Weekly. To the visually educated, however, their efforts communicate that Hornall Anderson’s designers likely caved to the art direction of Xanax-chugging, three-martini lunching account reps, rather than performing rudimentary design research to learn that the structure of Rem Koolhaas’s icon of postmodern architecture is based on a stack of books, not a superficial skin of futzy, decorative stained glass triangles and kites:
To save Seattle Public Library a ton of cash and global embarrassment, your predecessor might have clung to Bruce Mau’s trousers, begging, “Pleeease don’t leave yet! We don’t have a brand! Would you start first with our identity, then maybe help us with healthy communication better defining the library’s rules from the real needs of our real community, before you work outwards to those fancy schmancy removable Dewey Decimal floor tiles throughout the stacks, escalator panels, and wall text?”
In 2015, you also paid the wages of a digital press operator, four more designers, a writer/editor, an illustrator whose skills appear to be limited to importing a Photoshop file into Illustrator and clicking on Adobe’s “live trace” button, as well as wages for a binder in suburban Kent, where your $365,000 deposit was inadequate to afford the cost of living for Seattle commercial binderies:
The scything, if circular, logic of local alt-leftist-rag The Stranger’s written review sounds like he might be confusing Koolhaas with Gehry and the iridescent blue-paneled EMP with your central branch, describing it as the “sapphire downtown.” The wordsmith goes on to upbraid your accounting skills and calls for your executive head on his editorial pike, while reluctantly acknowledging this community may be long overdue for what he calls “a lot of cosmetic nonsense” for deeply reexamining the identity core to its living room and outlying neighborhoods:
“Considering that ‘the visual identity’ of the library hasn’t changed in 12 years (according [sic] internal documents), you could see how the logo might be due for a touch-up.”
Paradoxically, he complains about the emphasis indicated by “THOSE CAPS” within your group committee word salad of a proposed text-only mission statement, awaiting the public’s approval before the designers at Hornall Anderson set about the painstaking, oft-unappreciated work of typesetting, or branding and identity design decisions, without which your current team blatantly butchers the Bard:
Here, I’ll zoom in so my audience may more thoughtfully self-reflect on ascenders, descenders, and leading when making typeface and alignment decisions:
If you scrunch your letters any closer together, pretty soon we will no longer communicate with words. We will be reduced to just whapping! each other over the head with sticks instead. As Badge Number Four illustrates with her baton.
Your software technician had only two words to typeset.
Again, you do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
Speaking as both arguably the global expert in the psychology of serial killers and mass shooters and the artist/designer/writer who rebranded the visually illiterate, racist schizophrenic that Seattleites elected to their school board to make design decisions affecting their children’s education and thus the future of this community, may I suggest deeper digging for better answers to more of “the harder questions” unasked by the members of your board both before and after the visually illiterate communal hue and cry?
Dr. Teeter announced her resignation before her team managed to drum up qualified psychologists in the state of Washington willing to work for Medicaid wages.
I exchanged multiple voicemails with someone from Mike Chin’s office who sounded ever more anxiety-riddled and irrational each time he called, demanding that I answer questions that I had already answered in my initial outreach requesting civil rights investigation of the nonprofit corporation paid to provide social services, instead trafficking my labor under threat of bodily harm or eviction, if he could just point, click, and read instead of playing redundant rounds of phone tag. His tone on my voicemail sounded as if he is more accustomed to cross-examining hostile witnesses rather than establishing safety for a victim of state’s civil rights violations and trafficking survivor asking for his help. On my stack of follow up emails and job applications awaits response to his last message sometime prior to the 2016 Christian winter holiday while I was in the midst of law school application deadlines, snarling into my voicemail that, after providing multimedia evidence of the civil rights violations in process, still I “have to” have a telephone interview, while announcing at me just one time to make myself available at his convenience-! “Have to”-? After I had been asking for in-person appointment for the better part of a year-?! I didn’t even hear his voicemail until after the hour he had randomly decided I would pretend to be a piece of furniture to be rearranged by his beck and call. I don’t know what that means to you, but to me that means Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights is staffed with yet another batch of narcissistic Millennials desperately in need of my trauma-recovery and calendaring skills.
Reading the Seattle Times, it sounds like the Supreme Court sanctions against the legislature for failing to adequately educate Washington students may soon result in state government shutdown, deadlock resulting in no paychecks for the judiciary.
With Washington schools inadequately teaching civil communications or conflict resolution, that much more responsibility falls to other community resources. Like your library. Does your definition of cleaning house differ from mine, or did my email never make it to your inbox?
Or did you misunderstand my offer to teach healthy communication to mean that I would say nothing to risk offending some of your staffers?
Raging martyrs will always take offense to healthy boundaries.
Victim/abusers never want to self-reflect or change their behaviors.
Victim/abusers always try to breech the boundaries of basic human dignity.
What I mean by healthy communication is that your dysfunctional staffers need to repair their fragile egos and learn how to hear the perspective of others without lapsing into sarcasm or rage, violating the library’s own rules, and abusing their power over patrons most in need of your scant community resources.
Emotionally mature professionals are capable of listening to feedback and adjusting their behavior as needed to better align themselves with an organization’s goals, rather than responding with your Mixing Chamber staff’s retaliatory rage, and calling your illiterate bouncers to force their will forbidding me from job-seeking.
Returning to Karen’s tangled illogic barring the poorest of the poor from job-seeking at the state-funded job resource computers to arrive at her definition of “equity,” or equal access to resources for all regardless of socioeconomic urgency, what equity actually means is that your staff will need to stop bashing the poor over the head with their metaphoric bricks, and instead learn to lay those bricks as pavers beneath my feet so I may step up to your level of creature comfort.
At least Karen mentioned wanting to get from NO for your most impoverished citizens to yeses; that’s a good sign. But her follow up voicemail enthusing over a plan to simply relocate the state’s job resource computers to another room (!) in your library tells me either she hadn’t heard me say the problem isn’t the computers so much as her abusive staff, or she is struggling with maintaining boundaries of civility on your Mixing Chamber staff and security guards, as demonstrated yet again by Badge Number Four’s threat of eviction when yet another patron filmed your employees’ abuse of power after they denied a disabled transgender person access to private toilet facilities.
#BetterDesign of your job-seeking resources, as I suggested during my one-to-one meeting with Karen, attach unemployment or socioeconomic status to the patron, and thus the amount of library computer time available to the patron’s account, rather than restricting machines to discrete functions and impeding the patron’s ability to multitask brute survival priorities.
#BetterDesign begin thinking of both toilets and computers as tools intended to be used by human beings to accomplish goals or communicate with other human beings, rather than privileges to be hoisted on a pedestal, guarded against the poor, or revoked for attempting to multitask brute survival priorities.
Or, when I explained my experiences rebranding and identity for a candidate successfully elected to the school board on a budget far less than the corporate-backed incumbent and asked the three of you to search your networks for perhaps compassionate survival job opportunities, did you hear that as an offer to perform the work of an entire global branding and communications team for the budget of just an entry-level graphic designer, working only half-time-??
That’s not compassion.
That’s yet another example of Seattle’s narcissistic greed.
Thank you, Seattle Public Library, for adding still more evidence supporting my theory correlating visual illiteracy and abuse.
While the high end of your pay scale sounds a lot better than changing the urine-soaked bedsheets of a Micron engineer’s elderly mother for less than a toilet paper budget or the amount the Supreme Court compensates its curatorial interns, it’s also about what I was making before I finished college in 2001, while demanding far more skills. And without calculating the real cost of paying for a safe roof overhead in Seattle in 2017. Or the real time of performing the visually educated duties as listed in the job description.
According to my calculator, your part-time designer job demanding all of the skills that Sarah actively prohibited me from communicating to potential employers, at $25.93 per hour times maximum 32 hours per week times 52 weeks per year pays only $43,147.52 annual salary, while executing “across all digital, print and event channels” visual communications for “marketing campaigns, branding and guidelines, wayfinding and merchandising, internal communications” including “art files, graphic images, logos, and other related assets, in accordance with the Library’s brand guidelines”-?
You don’t have a brand.
You have a global embarrassment.
Your Human Resources Manager should have been aware of the library’s visual illiteracy before plagiarizing your Designer job description from an external source.
Your childish wish fantasies for your part-time Designer are more closely aligned with AIGA’s job description of Chief Design Officer, earning in 2014 dollars $104,500, “who sets the overall strategy, vision and direction of the design capability; is responsible for multiple categories of products and disciplines of design; is responsible for organizational development of design including innovation and design sourcing strategies; and ensures that design objectives are matched to strategic corporate intent” with the exception of “vendor and talent recruiting, development and leadership” needed to get the job done that your out-spoken community halted mid-stream.
According to a 2016 survey sponsored by AIGA and Google, the national design industry average pay across all industries and geographic locations was $67,424. Which means a designer paying a home mortgage in, say, Kansas, might make $24,276 more than you offer to offset the astronomical cost of housing in the Emerald City.
And even gauging by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics low rates published May 2016, a graphic designer in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region earned, on average, $29.05 per hour, or $60,420 annually.
By stating, “The Library supports the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to end institutionalized racism,” later screaming “THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY PROMOTES DIVERSITY AND PRACTICES INCLUSION,” and finally, redundantly pleading, “People of color are strongly urged to apply,” did you mean to say that your board members expect people of color to work harder and accomplish more in less time, while subsisting on less than even the regional, let alone national, average-?
To address the concerns shared by The Stranger, “why not engage the community by announcing that the library is looking for a new logo, and then hold a competition and have the demographic you’re trying to reach dream one up?”
First of all, a brand, or consistent, coherent, professional communications across all media channels isn’t merely a logo, and you did hold a competition. In the public sphere, that’s known as the RFP bidding process. You awarded the prize to Hornall Anderson. The homeless demographic this city’s millions are ostensibly trying to “lift” out of poverty can’t live on dreams. Landlords like rent.
Second, “There’s one library, it has many branches…” I respond with the same observation I shared with the Design Manager of Amazon’s cloud services, prompting him to return to his office and post a position for a Visual Designer: the library’s core identity does not say that visually.
“…and it performs one of the most vital tasks in any municipality: It archives and provides access to all the information we know, gratis.”
Third, while I applaud the description of the essential vitality of a community library, if access to archived “information” is its sole function, then you might as well shut your doors, distribute laptops, rooftops, and wifi to the poorest of the poor, and Sarah and her embittered crew can go do what she claims she does best: find a job.
And then the city of Seattle will have emergency shelter space in each of its community neighborhoods without Amazon having to devote multiple levels of high-end corporate office space to warehouse its underpaid warehouse staff too poor to be able to afford more than a dirty vinyl mat on a dirty floor.
If the writer at The Stranger spent a little less time self-medicating his childhood traumas with alcohol, or if his boss paid enough to hire a visually educated art and design critic, or if the state had better visually educated its populace, your local media might have been able to perform the basic math functions to realize no service is gratis under capitalism.
At a glance of her visually illiterate web collateral, they would have been able to readily identify retired math teacher Marty McLaren as a racist schizophrenic, and might have made wiser voting decisions in 2011. If we increase the visual literacy of the community as a whole, not only will the health of your communications improve, but the visual aesthetic of the community will also improve, a continual cause and effect feedback loop.
Returning to your job description, while I appreciate the library sharing so many of its judgments about how you like to think of yourselves, “Library staff is [sic] highly regarded by the public for their knowledge, quality of service and caring. [!?!] Staff members are committed to the Library’s organizational values of respect, [?!?] partnership, engagement, diversity and inclusion, [?!?] transparency and recognition,” in theory, maybe, but in practice, my experience, as a multiracial, destitute woman returning in 2015 on the outer margins of this hypocritical community, has been much the opposite of your written intentions.
Your actions match your badly designed pictures, rendering meaningless your pretty words.
Which, again, is not to say all of my interactions with all of your staff have been negative, and here I’ll follow good rhetorical practice and praise three examples of their praiseworthy behavior:
First, a tall but slender white male working at the University District branch won my undying admiration when he evicted a taller and swarthy Native and/or Latino male and his companion Latina, who brought their unresolved intimate conflicts into the computer section of that Carnegie library, arguing loudly, with every other word f*ck this and g*dd*mn that. Politely asking them to please resolve their conflict outside so the rest of us could continue working in peace only resulted in the male redirecting his foul-mouthed rage toward me. Fortunately, another male library patron also spoke up in support of my request, “You can’t talk to that woman like that.”
Which only provoked an enraged invitation to “prove” his masculinity outside.
Still more heroic, “Fighting isn’t what it means to be a man.”
I confess, I broke one or more library rules by literally applauding that patron’s nontraditional definition of masculinity; I like to reward the courage it takes to speak out against abusive behavior every chance I get.
Into that dynamic, your library staffer skillfully inserted his body, logged out the patrons violating all rules of common civility, “Okay, your account is disabled for the remainder of the day, out you go.”
No weapons. No blaming the victim of abusive behavior. Just upholding the rules of basic human dignity.
Not without more threats and name-calling b*tch directed my way from the discourteous couple, but your staffer never raised his voice and remained professional through the entire episode.
Compare/contrast with almost the exact same scenario another day in the Mixing Chamber, when one half of another dysfunctional couple flounced off and the remaining white male turned his f*cking this and f*cking that attentions toward me, left with less than one-half hour of my daily 90 minutes, before I surrendered the space to his verbal abuse, safely removed my Flash drive, logged out, and went in search of staff cloistered around their desk.
“What’s the problem?” one slight, youthful male staffer of perhaps Latino and/or Filipino heritage snarled instead of greeting me by asking how might he help me? And instead of coming to my aid or enforcing the library’s rules of not disrupting other patrons, he turned to a second approaching staffer, and piped up without giving me a chance to repeat the sequence of communication, sneering, “This patron is feeling like other patrons are bothering her.”
Given one f*cking this and f*cking that male patron was still audible from where I stood attempting to persuade your staff to do their jobs, his comment to me means you have insufficiently rid your staff of sexism, because of course foul-mouthed abuse is not my feeling, though his dismissive response is typical of men who do not respect the experiences of women. Pace the opinions of sexist men, I am not responsible for the abusive behavior of either your staff or your other patrons.
“Well, I didn’t hear it,” Sarah’s narcissistic, undereducated staffer snarled resentfully, glaring at me. And as long as a man with severe, unresolved difficulties in relation to his mother did not personally experience an experience, in his mind that experience didn’t happen.
Does that young male staffer need the attentions of an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or psychotherapeutic care to help him develop into an emotionally mature human being?
Jason skillfully avoided resolving both conflicts by offering me a seat at the job resource computers, and when I explained I can’t use those without staff coming up behind me and raging at me, and I can’t use the 90-minute computers downtown without being disrupted by your raging clientele, that was when Sarah’s Assistant Manager shook my hand and gave me his word that your staff would not again disrupt my job-seeking with their rage inappropriately misdirected at me.
Second, not all of your downtown security guards are as dysfunctional as Badge Number Four or her anonymous black male cohort.
David, a tall, white male with either towheaded blonde or prematurely white hair and who frequently stands at the door to the library, always greets your patrons warmly regardless of our socioeconomic status, as if he genuinely cares about welcoming everyone. I know his first name because we have introduced ourselves to each other. Like civilized human beings used to do before rage took over the world.
Because I have not had any direct interactions with her, I do not know the name of another black female security guard with high cheekbones and exquisite facial proportions, her hair usually worn in very polished corn row braids, but in many instances observing her interactions with other patrons, she always impresses me with her level of professionalism.
Compare/contrast with your black male security guard who threatened me with eviction for “abusing” the computers while I was in the midst of applying for a fellowship with the Supreme Court; another time I observed him unable to evict a disruptive, staggering Native male without first pausing to jeer at that patron’s unfortunate decision to self-medicate the pain of his early childhood abuse with alcohol.
Do you think it might be possible to better educate your staff to respond with compassion for that visibly evident adult symptom of childhood abuse, rather than engage in their racist jeering at racial stereotypes?
Third, your young, white, male staffer frequently assigned to the Seattle Room dresses as if he still takes pride in the profession of library science, and coordinates his wardrobe with his professionalism. His offer to set aside my Bundy research on an in-progress shelf with no fanfare, no complicated digital data collection, just my last name in pencil on a bookmark inserted in the book reminded me of my experiences designing and letterpress printing my books held in Special Collections in other libraries.
And not without humor.
“As long as you’re not looking for,” he paused delicately, noting the material without saying so directly, “Strategy.”
Well, actually, I have been reading somewhat for strategy – legal strategy, as well as noting the graphic design that successful Florida prosecutor Bob Dekle lauds as essential to presenting his case is not very well designed from my visually educated perspective, with gaps or disconnected circumstantial evidence at each of the three points of his triangle connecting the victim, transportation, and the giant question mark of the shadowy outline of the alleged perpetrator still unanswered the more I hear the multiple perspectives of the figures closest to that historic case that resulted in the execution of Ted Bundy.
As another example of my level of mature restraint, I appreciated your special collection librarian’s dark humor, but chose not to share that the only other person with my last name who might reserve Bundy literature might be my genetic brother, up from Oregon visiting Seattle, not looking for strategy, I hope, but maybe getting to better know our cousin Ted-?
#BetterDesign: in my ever-increasing experience, I note for your benefit a strong correlation between environmental design and human behavior, the design of our spaces affecting our communications and being affected by our actions. While I am visually educated enough to appreciate the postmodern design of your downtown Koolhaas space, your staff and many of your other patrons may not be, given Washington’s underfunding of its education over-emphasizing STEMs. One hallmark of postmodernity is dysfunction or dystopia, and I am wondering how much of your Mixing Chamber behaviors might be better modified by redesigning the space? Is art imitating life there, or life imitating art, human beings too often behaving as if roving through the levels of a first-person-shooter video game?
While I can intellectually appreciate Tony Oursler’s work adjacent to the escalators and audible from the job resource computers and the Mixing Chamber staff desk, I doubt he designs his work with the goal of healthy workplace communications. Your poor staff at that level are forced to listen to chattering and moaning somewhere between the ecstasy of orgasm and the wail of death, not just for my oft-interrupted maximum two hours but throughout their shifts. Maybe test my hypothesis by substituting the audio with music for a few weeks? Maybe classical piano one week? Does it have a soothing effect? Maybe jazz and blues from your collection another week? Maybe some hiphop and rap to increase worker productivity a third week? Or maybe try coordinating music selections with the ever-changing light filtering through the windows throughout any one day or the longer seasons as the earth revolves around the sun? If redesigning the audio achieves the desired result among staff and patrons, maybe get to work on repairing the hole in the drywall and changing the art installation a little more frequently-? You don’t have to go hog-wild purchasing or renting art on a monthly basis, but that piece dates from 2004.
Gentle reminder, it’s now 2017.
Just, please, no contests or expectations of free artist labor. Either commission or employ an artist at professional wages. Artists can’t afford to live on air in this community hostile to visual literacy.
Maybe still #BetterDesign Sarah and her staffers need to take more breaks outside the chaos of hard, shiny surfaces, machines, and dramatic overhead lighting?
While you might feel comfortable pretending Seattle is a city where everyone is getting adequate sleep, maybe rip a page from landscape design: if sleep is what your real community really needs, instead of forbidding the appearance of sleeping, maybe, much like observing how humans create organic trails through environments that do not always conform to a rigid grid of asphalt and sidewalks, #BetterDesign by converting the Mixing Chamber into a nap room? Many of the levels of stacks are loosely filled; it might encourage healthier behavior if all of your computer resources were scattered in cozier, more private work spaces throughout the books instead of corralled into one central, hard-surfaced, humming, keyboards chattering location.
If they had access to a nap room, Sarah and her team could be sure to get enough sleep before learning to make rational assessments about job-seeking, library resources, and the best tools for any given job. Maybe also find commonality with your homeless citizens booted out of shelter before dawn nine months of the year, with dirty mats on dirty floors unavailable until after dark, making for very long days of primarily pedestrian transportation either between resources or forbidden access to resources by passive aggressive, narcissistic staff violating your own rules for civil behavior-?
#BetterDesign: in my many hours exploring Koolhaas’s architecture searching in vain for seating and lighting comfortable for curling up and reading a book after your staff forbid job-seeking and while you and your global branding firm were simultaneously struggling to persuade your community of the urgent, long-overdue need for better communications design, I came across this display in a glass case documenting the history of Central’s architecture. If this community wants to communicate “there’s one library” unique to Seattle, already globally renowned thanks to community support for Rem Koolhaas, “it has many branches,” visually communicating a stack of books, discs, or pretty much any technology the engineers dream up next, here’s your logo supple enough to do all that, still legible while reducing to the size of a favicon or scaling up for a coherent community-wide building signage and wayfinding program. OMA already drew your mark for you:
Yes, the spaces between the lines matter as much as the horizontal lines themselves.
Yes, the arrangement of the lines in relation to each other matters as much as the length and width of each individual line.
Yes, the typography you select to pair with your mark matters as much as the mark, as does the placement of your wordmark in relation to the rest of your communications, in print, screen, and meatspace media. Maybe time to retire the Times New Roman and bring Seattle Public Library into 21st century visual reality?
Notice how the horizontal lines provide a welcoming foundation for democracy missing from that narcissistic, badly dressed bow tie?
To successfully identify an identity that works for all without forking out bank on an external branding team, your staff just needed to learn how to quiet their internal noise, to be more mindful, to listen to expertise outside their own, or simply to
long enough to pay attention.
It never ceases to amaze me how much this community rages about the inadequacies of its communication, but still refuses to pay up front for healthy communication.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
I can redraw your mark, but I suspect the elevation drawings will proportionately scale to your downtown branch, and you will save time and my visually educated labor if your predecessor contractually acquired OMA’s design files. I could be wrong. I have been wrong before. Just not in a very long time. I am happy to admit when I am wrong, to apologize, and change my behavior when I am wrong.
Right now I am mostly feeling tired of being right about the correlation between abuse and visual illiteracy.
Who on your team might be qualified to search your digital files for OMA’s original drawings? Your tech support staff who do not maintain your pornography pasture computers to production capacity?
Sarah, with her vast experience forcing her beloved typewriters on visually educated job-seekers?
Or, if your predecessor did not have the foresight to obtain original design files, then to whom will you delegate the task of calling up Mr. Koolhaas and asking nicely? Your visually illiterate Head of Marketing? The Program Manager you describe, in your plagiarized job description, as supervising your part-time Designer? Or maybe your Head of Security, ripe from his experience spanking his female staff for their birthdays? Is that what you meant by the “good sense of humor and common sense” you sought in your part-time Designer? Do library staff meet behind closed doors and cackle about all the ways they successfully abuse their power in any given week? Or are you setting higher expectations for your new hires than what you’ve currently got going on downtown?
Am I the only citizen who thought Hornall Anderson probably charged waaay too little to repair the ugly communications you inherited when you moved to Seattle?
Yes, the more signs you make with generic clip art, the more it costs to replace them.
But on the plus side, you also create jobs for not just graphic and interaction designers but also printers, bookbinders, and sign-makers, all with the goal of designing a safer, happier, healthier community.
#BetterDesign, maybe return to your newly reshuffled Board of Trustees and ask to add a Design Director position peer with your marketing director, reporting directly to you-? I’ll need to put together a team of full-time designers – creating still more jobs with the goal of increasing the quality of communications in this community – if you hope to complete the projects listed in that part-time description sometime prior to the end of the next decade, developing that mark into a brand and brand guidelines for your web and print collateral, wayfinding, and building signage instead of the visual nightmare daily spewing from your Twitter account. Gauging from my years of experiences volunteering for AIGA and Seattle’s public school teachers, observing this city’s educators and designers in action, as well as the results of your attempted rebrand, I will likely need to plan for the time of better visually educating the younger graduates from the region’s design programs, encouraging more time away from their computers, and learning to think critically about solving systemic communication problems.
In my review of the CVs of your current board, otherwise it looks like Seattle can anticipate an ever-deepening crevasse between poverty and wealth, more sexual assaults, more serial killers, more mass shootings:
Kristi England brings her experience championing the library’s beautiful architectural spaces that I greatly admire, but that campaign neglected the design of its communications (?), appointed to your board by the mayor whose wife refused to listen to any opinion expressed by the local paper that disagreed with her own, even when hearing that feedback and changing his behavior might have gotten her husband re-elected for a second term (?), with past experience working for the mayor for whom Seattle’s oldest tent city was named Nickelsville as an ironic salute to his abusive behavior sweeping out the poorest of poor instead of providing adequate housing, infrastructure, care, a tradition that stretches as far back in this continent’s history as Salem 1692, I learned from reading another book checked out of King County Library System, and continues to the current mayor with his alleged tortured history of both helping and abusing homeless adolescent boys (?), the haves blaming the have-nots for at least 325 years, while hoping for a different result-? From the enticing visual graphics in the New York papers, “building awareness” for climate change in Seattle may have been too little, too late. But maybe with her new position at a global public relations firm, whose own communications are powerfully visual, she is ready to help persuade this community of the value of visual communications-?
Despite Jay Reich’s 40 years of legal practice in the areas of affordable housing, education, nonprofit work, government finance, and forming public/private partnerships, still the best that Seattle could come up with to solve its homelessness problem without the Gates Foundation benefiting from my unpaid visually literate labor was ever-increasing homelessness, the state’s Supreme Court fining the state legislature for inadequately funding the state’s system of education, and those undereducated corporate nonprofit employees busily violating Washington criminal and civil rights laws in their narcissistic rush to complete redundant analogue data collection to justify their own paychecks-?? I can see why Harvard Law School decided to open up its admissions beyond LSAT test-takers for next year, after receiving my emails requesting fee waiver, seeking systemic problem-solvers from a more economically diverse pool. If the library remains dead-set intent on grimly marching forward with its program of visual illiteracy, maybe somewhere within his network of colleagues, some of them might welcome getting a jumpstart with my Visual Literacy for Lawyers, promptly followed by competing job offers for me-? A pity the social workers and case managers misspent their budgets leading to his 1992 failed housing levy campaign from an earlier era when poor communications from the executive management at Boeing again tanked the local economy. Curious, how much of that $150,000 budget promoting the levy to Seattle’s middle class homeowners went to designers’ paychecks? Did he keep any samples of their collateral for his portfolio? Or did his team just slap the cash at another bunch of drug-addled marketers who failed to identify narcissistic aggression at the core of all society’s problems because your board has yet to include a designer educated in human psychology in the seats around the executive decision-making table-?
Again, pace the opinions of Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals, who decided I have no knowledge of basic research because my abusive Bundy clan said so rather than more rationally researching the difference between fact and “delusion,” much as one of my former employers, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is little more than a tax write-off for the Hughes’ fortune, so too with the relationship between United Way and the multinational oil company previously headed by our current Secretary of State. Every time I have encountered their identity, not just here in Washington, but coast to coast, I have experienced more corresponding abuse. Does Theresa Fujiwara’s conflict resolution skills that she may have learned through her experiences with the Casey Foundation differ from one of their case managers, pushed into early retirement, disgusted with their grant-writing to gobble up public dollars while their private board provides inadequate oversight of the abuses experienced by young children, and yet still remaining oblivious to his own contributions supporting an abusive, drug-addicted grandmother, mother, and human trafficker, babbling forward with his hypocritical Christian dogma as if words might be more persuasive than actions-? Has her graduate alma mater degenerated in its programs since she earned her degree, or are social work faculty throughout the western United States simply not educated in human psychology, thus do not possess that knowledge to pass on to their students-? Or is it that UW’s Social Work program does not ensure that its graduates recover from their own childhood traumas prior to wreaking havoc in the lives of their clients-? Would you like me to teach Trauma Recovery for Educators workshops at Seattle Public Library, or would somewhere on their campus be more convenient for them?
Maybe Vaughnetta J. Barton could better answer some of those questions after her review of the work of another of their graduates flagrantly violating Washington laws, whirling around her passive aggressive volvelle, providing ever more evidence for the accuracy of my conflict resolution model based on the structure of trauma?
As important as oral histories are, even audio data involves visual communication in the 21st century. It looks like we both admire Zapfino; that’s a start at finding commonality:
A lot of designers I’ve met do not care for its calligraphic face, but I like it for that very reason, because humanist, organic lines are rare in today’s highly machined world. Also because it reminds me of attending the Guild of Book Workers conference in Denver in 2003, and standing in another artist’s studio in that earlier, more civilized era, studying a book designed and letterpress printed by none other than type designer Hermann Zapf himself. I have not seen, before or since, blacks so black, a density of black that I did not replicate in my own letterpress work, a black with such intensity and tactility that our screens cannot begin to replicate it. I still dream of that black.
You do not have to be 100 percent healthy.
Just healthy enough.
How may I help you design and build healthier community at the library where education, social and police services, and elected political leaders have all failed?