Life is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, laughter and tears. Today as much as any reflects that diversity. Before I start today’s official blog post, I want to pass on two bits of news, one happy, one oh, so sad.
Let’s start with the sad, so that the laughter can lift us up afterward. If you read my previous post When Fact Meets Fiction, you know that young Brittany Maynard, a vivacious young woman dying from brain cancer, planned to take her own life via prescribed lethal medication as allowed under Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, on November 1. In the days before, it appeared she might wait, as she was still feeling good–at least some of the time. But sadly, her illness was unrelenting, and she did end her life as planned that weekend. My condolences to her family and friends. Godspeed, Brittney.
On a happier note, my coauthors and I have begun calling Cowboy Up, our anthology of western romance novellas “the little book that could.” It is currently the Number 1 bestselling western romance on Amazon in both the US and the UK. It has also reached the top spot in Australia and Canada. We are positively giddy and want to thank all those who’ve purchased and read the book and especially those who left one of our many 5-star reviews. We love you!
Now, on with today’s message! I’ve tried to write this post at least three times. I just can’t figure out how to express my feelings on this subject. Let me preface this with an apology to my family. I do not mean in any way to demean what our house–our home–meant to me growing up. It, and you, are certainly what shaped me. But there was another place that was important to me. A place that made me who I am. It wasn’t another house. It was the library. Libraries are magic. Inside their doors one can travel forward or backward in time. Get to know the great figures of history. See our world–or imagine another in some uncharted region of space. My first real job was in a library. I wasn’t even old enough to have a real job, the kind with a time clock and a payroll check. I had to get a special work permit from my school. My responsibility was to reshelve returned books. I was great at it. But at the end of my shift, I often had a stack for myself to check out that was as tall as the stack I had put away. The only thing that made study hall bearable in high school was that as an honor student I didn’t to pass the hour in a cramped desk in a bland room. I had an unconditional pass to go to the library.
Fast forward many years. I wrote several of my first books in the study room at my local library, just me, my laptop and a bottle of water. Away from the distractions of the television and the Internet.
It hurts my heart these days to drive by my local library and see the parking lot empty. Are libraries destined to go the way of the dinosaur? Maybe they already have. But I’m heartened by all my library has to offer, even in a small rural community without much of a budget. Not only are there great books–that’s a given. But they have music and audiobooks and DVDs too. And the programs… Have you checked out the programs your local library offers? Many have everything from yoga for moms to senior bingo to quilting to classes in financial planning. And of course, story time for the kiddos.
These days we can even check out e-books from the library, either directly or through the distributor that provides books to most libraries, Overdrive. Overdrive has a free app so you can browse the selection, check out and return books right from your phone or e-reader! I’m using it and love it. So I guess my message is…don’t write off your local library just yet. Go. Take your kids. Take your grandma. Take your spirit.