Here we are

It’s December. I woke up this morning and felt like I could breathe for the first time in a month. November is always a difficult time for me personally, because of the time change, the change of seasons, the anniversary of my dad’s death at the end of the month. This year, in addition to all of those things, there’s been the heartbreak and sorrow and anger of the election. Of trying to figure out what to do and where we go from here. Of sitting with friends and their pain as they face an unknown and terrifying future.

Oh, and in addition to all of the above–more than enough as it is!–I managed to render my car undriveable and had to spend the last two weeks looking for a new one. Thankfully, that search is now done, and I have a new (to me!) car.

With all that being said, there were also moments of great beauty in the midst of it all–a wonderful visit, a friend stopping by to give me a hug, lots of time on the couch with Wimsey sitting on me. I’m so thankful for all the people who have comforted and reached out to me.

I haven’t managed to write a review since November 9th. I was in the middle of writing about Julie Phillips’ James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, but when I came back to finish the post everything I had written felt so naive and trite that I couldn’t find a way forward. But I have been and am thinking of a passage I had quoted, from a letter Alli wrote:

Certainly my inner world will never be a peaceful place of bloom; it will have some peace, and occasional riots of bloom, but always a little fight going on too. There is no way I can be peacefully happy in this society and in this skin. I am committed to Uneasy Street. I like it; it is my idea that this street leads to the future, and that I am being true to a way of life which is not here yet, but is more real than what is here.

I have a sense that what I write here and how I engage with books, reviewing, etc may be undergoing some deep shift, which is related to the wider political landscape but isn’t entirely because of it. We’ll see. I’m going to try to pull together some thoughts about a few books I’ve read recently. We can’t–and I don’t want to–go back to “normal” while at the same time I do feel that continuing to read, write, think about, and talk about books and stories is vitally important.

I’m going to close with a few links to things that I’ve found helpful recently. Feel free to share your own!

Raise Your Hand If You’re Gonna Fight: a daily newsletter with 1-2 action items–helpful for deciding what to do to fight today

Holding it together” at Things Mean A Lot: Ana is always thoughtful and this post was especially helpful for me last week

Likewise, Theodora Goss’s post “How We Live Now” has some good thoughts about principles rather than actions as such

Jenny at Reading the End has an amazing round up of election-related links, which I have only dipped into because of emotional and mental energy, but which contain a wide variety of voices

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

9 replies on “Here we are”

Look, I am so not a tattoo person, but “I am committed to Uneasy Street” is what I would get if I were.

Do you like your new car? It’s stressful to be on the car hunt, but lovely when you actually have the new car and can move forward with your nice new(-to-you) car and its quirks and features.

I think a lot of us are trying to figure out a way forward for our blogs after the election. I’m probably going to move in a direction where I’m not reviewing every book I read (well, I’m already doing that), but rather focusing on ones that I found particularly interesting/challenging/problematic, and then writing posts in between about what’s going on in my reading and actual worlds. I dunno. We’ll see.

I do like it! There are some things that need to get fixed and then I think I’ll really like it.

There’s a weird disconnect for me where books and stories feel really important, but talking about them feels trivial? I don’t know. It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s where I’m at at the moment.

My dad died of cancer this November. How do you keep going? Books don’t help because they remind me of him (because he was a great reader and also because he worked in the same library network I do now).

I know there’s no real answer to my question, I just feel so alone without him.

Oh, Alina, I am so sorry.

It’s true there’s no one answer to your question, but that doesn’t mean there’s no right answer. There will be something that eases your heart a little. If not books, binging on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, or talking a long walk, or writing everything you’re feeling down, or joining a support group. Be kind and patient with yourself. I found that each season and each year is a little different, and that grief can be sneaky.

If you want to, I’d be happy to send you my contact info via Tumblr or email, and I’m always willing to listen or talk if it’s helpful. You’ll be in my thoughts.

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