I didn’t want to look back to see when I last blogged, but it felt like a long time ago. Too long. Seven months to be exact. (Ok, I looked.) My last post was just before the U.S. presidential election. Timing is everything. Within days, there was so much vitriol in social and mainstream media. Blame, accusation, shame, anger, name-calling, gloating. I didn’t identify with any of it. I didn’t want to be part of the discourse, and I didn’t want to be irrelevant. So I chose to disconnect. I became a virtual bookworm
I fed my vice. I read and I read and I read. I loaded up my Kindle and unpacked a box of hardcover books that had been following me around for years. When I told my son how much I loved The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – a book he passed along to me during his first year in college — he said, “I thought you’d like it.” Pause. “It took you what? Five years to read?”
I read so many books these past several months that my husband blamed reading for my insomnia. True, reading kept me awake at night, but it also kept me up during the day. A mind filled with Lincoln in the Bardo, A Gentleman in Moscow, Ribbon of Sand, Amsterdam, Hillbilly Elegy, When Breath Becomes Air, The Matthews Men, A Man Called Ove, Bel Canto (to name the ones I can recall quickly) is constantly thinking about other places, other times, other cultures, other lives. While seven months absorbed in reading effectively limited my exposure to negativity, somewhere between Americanah and The Zookeeper’s Wife, I became helplessly lost, like Macaulay Culkin looking for the library’s exit in The Pagemaster. Lured away by Adventure, Fantasy and Horror, his journey helps him face his fears. Except I wasn’t looking for the exit or conquering fear; I was avoiding both.
Last night, I said to Alan (as my witness), “When I finish this book, I’m going to start writing again.” Like Harold and the Purple Crayon, I am making my way home.