I keep trying write something profound about the power of the arts to soothe a worried mind. But I’m struggling. We are all struggling right now. So rather than try to draw some beautiful sweeping conclusions, I’m just going to talk about something I did. Something that you can do any day, not just on a day that a scary virus forces you to become a recluse. You can be a book fairy! Share books with the ones you love! And no matter what, it will make you smile (if you love books the way that Jae, Amy, and I do).
Our local libraries closed a few days before our state mandated “shelter in place.” So, we could still move around, albeit with smart social distancing. One of my favorite people found herself in a predicament: not enough reading material when we need distraction most. Well, Marie Condo be damned, I happen to have enough books in my house on any given day that I could be shut up in here for years before I’d be forced to repeat a read. So…book fairy to the rescue!
I walked around gathering a variety of books from my shelves. This included well-worn favorites (my friend will return them, she’s a gem), new stuff I’ve not read, marginally entertaining books I happen to have on hand, just anything that she maybe might enjoy. My husband commented on the amount of books I gathered, and I said, “I don’t think she will read them all, but she needs OPTIONS.” Who the heck knows what will provide my friend with the appropriate distraction from the shitshow that is the world right now?
In each book, I wrote a little note about why I chose to include it, or what I thought, or whether it was just in there as a joke (I couldn’t help but include some amazingly cheesy romance titles). Sharing this love made me happier than I’d been in days. My kid even got in on the action, sending books from his personal collection (he could also read for at least a year on his home library) to my friend’s three kiddos.
We packed the giant box and drove the 30 minutes to her house. She left the garage door open so we could deposit the books there (where they could stay outside a few days to decrease potential germies). Seeing the shining faces of my friend and her family, yelling and waving from the windows as we stood in the driveway, made my heart so happy. And it brings me joy to think that in the next day or so, they will open the box and find the random collection of books inside. Sharing the love of books is always the right answer. Books can be a celebration, books can be an escape, books can be a coping mechanism. Books help soothe my worried mind.
What are you reading right now?