Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Renewing Power of Book Fairs and Time Changes

I haven't been writing. I've been being. Hibernating, binge watching Doc Martin. Bracing myself for the next phone call or text that might signal further decline in my grandfather's health.

It's hard work to be human. To feel all the feelings and still pay the bills, sit in traffic, get to Parent Teacher conference, put a meal on the table.

I don't regret the weeks I've vegged on my couch, cozy with a heating pad to ease the tension in my neck and a warm cup of tea to take the nip out of the evening chill.

I've been ministered to by the presence of a quirky cast of characters who are making their way through the ups and downs of life in a seashore village. Their scripts have made me laugh out loud and shed tears--the very best hallmarks of being human.

After tonight's parent teacher conference, my daughter accompanied me to the "learning commons" also known to grown ups as the library to check out the book fair merchandise. I hadn't planned to spend much money. I purchase books from her teachers' wish lists as a way to support the school and sometimes books as gifts for upcoming birthdays or holidays. But I'd just had a conversation with her teacher about how adding more reading for pleasure would be a good thing. This mini-me deviates from the mama mold when it comes to reading. So when she picked up a hardcover copy of Wonder, [read: more than I wanted to spend] I relented. I told her I would buy it if she agreed to read it on our upcoming road trip. [read: I kinda sorta bribed my kid.]

Her dad was waiting for her in the school parking lot, so I walked her out to the car and returned to continue shopping. I reminded myself that money spent on books and travel is never a waste, so I read the synopses of several other titles and chose another title for her birthday.

I was full of wonder as I read the plots of these stories for young readers. I was reminded of the reading adventures I took as a fourth grader. I marveled at the story lines--they were telling the hardships of life. They depicted children in difficult circumstances making their way through. They were covering heavy topics, which reminded me about the power of reading and story and the important way that reading helps us grow in knowledge, empathy, and being human. I was reminded how stories teach readers at every age about grit and resilience, the power to overcome and how to heal.

I felt overcome with gratitude for my literacy and for the love that has brought me to the bookshelves again and again and again and again. I also felt an ache to return to the stories swirling in my head. The hard things waiting for me to be courageous to type on the screen. The messages from my own life that I hope convey to future readers, "You are not alone."

I am certain the extra daylight combined with my brush with books in one of the best places on earth--the elementary school library--are the reasons for a reinvigorated sense of energy and purpose. And why I'm sitting at my kitchen table typing as the sky trades out sunlight for moonlight. I challenged myself to stay away from the comfy place on my sofa until after I'd published this post. I'm on such a roll now, I may put off the TV viewing a little longer.

I don't regret the time I've spent away from the daily writing. With some time away, I always return restored. Packed with fresh energy, insights, and enthusiasm.

Here's to the readers and the writers. And more daylight.


  1. Julie, you have such a gift and I hope you'll come up off the couch and away from the waiting vigil...God has a plan hon' even your Grandpa probably knows that. Don't sit too long - unless God has told you to - now THAT would be an entirely different story!!! xoxo

  2. I've been reading a lot the past couple of months to escape a bit, too. Its definitely not time wasted!