Books Personal

Range of Desire

If you haven’t seen the news, KGS had a piece published in Nerve this week. After reading it, then re-reading it, then going back to examine the use of language…well, I’m blown away.

I knew that she was a good writer. I mean, you don’t have to read Free Range Librarian long to know that, not to mention all the other pieces she’s written over the years (and no, that’s not an age joke, kgs). But this one really was different in a substantial way than the things I’ve read from her before.

It was personal. The enormous amount of effort this must have taken…seriously, just read this:

My heart thumps. I slowly accept the gun with my left hand, watching through the corner of my eyes so I know the shopgirl is observing how nicely, how safely, how carefully I handle the pistol, always pointing it down and away. This delicacy, this attention to detail, this awareness that I must Never Point At Anything I Don’t Plan to Shoot: in my shyness, this is the closest I can get to flirting, an activity I should not be engaged in anyway — except that as long as I am in a gun shop, an activity which I know would earn me a severe scolding from my beloved, I might as well be naughty all around.

This is writing that is alive, full of verve and vibrance and it’s in your head and your heart all at once. Whenever someone asks me who my favorite authors are, my stock answer is “anyone who makes me want to write.” And that’s true…all my favorite authors use language that make me think “Goddamnit man, why are you not doing that?” Truly great writing make me want to carve words out of the future, using them as weapons, as blankets, as nourishment.

This essay made me want to write.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

One reply on “Range of Desire”

Thanks, Jason… I love your thoughts and I agree that to read writing that speaks to me makes me want to write as well.

Writing is like software… the first draft is only a gleam in the eye of what can be; the real writing comes out of patient iteration. Find yourself a quiet corner once a week, then write, and write, and write, and revise, and write, and revise. Maybe after the baby is sleeping through the night, though 😉

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