As I sit to write this, the snow is gently coming down and I’ve snagged a brief window of time while all the kids, who are home from school today, are miraculously occupied. I am typing SO fast right now, guys.
It’s my first winter in Alberta, Canada, and I’m still new enough to the north to be delighted like a child every time it snows. They tell me that by February I’ll be OVER it, but for now it still feels like magic.
A special welcome to all the new kindred spirits who have joined us this week because of the Wise Women Book Club– I’m so glad you’re here! If you found your way here because of Love Warrior or just a love of books in general, I KNOW we must be soul sisters.
If you missed the memo, you NEED to join us for this book club– all details at the bottom of this post, or just click here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about books this week, as this idea for a book club bubbled up in me. I am so excited about it, so fired up and downright TWIRLY about it, that I know it must seem like I’ve gone over the deep end a little bit.
But the thing is, books MATTER.
When I met Anne Shirley, a part of my soul breathed an immense sigh of relief. Oh thank heavens, I thought, I’m not the only one. When I met Meg Murray in A Wind In The Door (because I happened up on it before Wrinkle), I felt vindicated by her grouchy, awkward, prickly, truthful self. (Also, I kept wondering where my damn magical visitors were going to show up.)
When my high school English teacher handed me The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, it was a window into a bigger world, one that I wanted to take my place in. I fell in love with an abandoned girl named Turtle and I wanted to be the kind of person who would jump in and make the world a better place for her. It showed me who I wanted to be.
And when I went to college, I discovered that although I’d felt so lonely my whole life, so strange and other, so different from the people around me, it turned out that there was a whole long literary tradition of people who’d felt that way too…and that they were paying attention and writing about it. Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir– like the Indigo Girls said, they came through on the telephone line through time of books.
And then I discovered Anne Lamott and Alice Walker and Toni Morrison and Martha Beck and Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert and J.K. Rowling and oh my word, what a rich and generous world it turned out to be. I could truly spend my whole life reading.
(Which is why I still want to write them. I’m looking for an agent, in fact, if anyone wants to make an introduction.)
It turns out that most of the people I find most interesting in the world also felt a little alien their whole lives, too. Most of us cover it just fine, of course, but you know the secret handshake.
(Yes you do. We’re the ones in the corners at parties, listening to someone’s deepest darkest secrets, while everyone else talks about sports.)
I can understand why they ban books: because they’re the matches of the revolution. You can spread transformative ideas like wildfire. They can tear through whole communities, ideologies, religions, and cultural castles in the air with a ruthless purifying fire. Books can burn away our fog and wake us up. They can comfort us and heal us. They can tell us who we truly are and show us who we want to be. And though it would be lovely to stay curled up by the fire for the rest of our lives, the very best books always send us back out into the world a little bit fiercer, a little bit more compassionate.
I’ve been pondering on an essential reading list for EFBAs (that’s epic fucking badasses, aka YOU) as part of an exciting new thing I’ll tell you about next week.
And it made me so full of gratitude for the riches on my bookshelf that I had to just celebrate books themselves for a moment. So thank you for humoring this rambling pondering of a missive today, which I’m typing as the snow still comes down and the two-year-old plays with playdough and the big girls draw battle scars on themselves with red marker (because thank you Erin Hunter and the Warriors series) and the baby sleeps and the boy chortles at Mo Willems. It’s basically a perfect morning for bookworm me.
I’ll be back in your inbox next Friday with something useful, but keep your eyes peeled on Monday for a special All Hallows’ Eve treat for the secret mystic in you.
All right, dearheart, may your weekend be full of bright leaves, or rain, or snow, or pumpkins, and plenty of hot tea and some candles, and a copy of Love Warrior on your lap. Because what could be better than that?
P.S. Haven’t joined the book club yet? It’s free, you can join us from anywhere in the world, and our first book is Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Know a friend who needs to join us? Have them sign up at http://declaredominion.com/bookclub and spread the word wherever your kindred spirits hang out online!