Sooo, Thursday started with a lurch, as previously noted. The hives are a fresh hell – thanks, 2016! – but the panic attacks have unfortunately been with me since fresher days in college… they come, they go. Still, I just was feeling so cruddy, because my second favorite pair of jeans is fitting weirdly — more evidence that attempting Death By Fork, even for only a couple weeks, has consequences — and my revision is dragging, and I haven’t been sleeping, and the world is blerg — and I was feeling underwhelmed with myself and the world. Mainly myself, because don’t we always turn the worst of our emotions inward? (And why is that? Why is our inner critic so… critical? Is this a girl thing?? Talk amongst yourselves…)
And then I got a note from an intermittent correspondent, J, who is the coordinator of The Elizabeth Kates Foundation, working with the Virginia Correctional Center for Women. She wrote, as she does, to tell me how the Kates Readers club had enjoyed MARE’S WAR. It made me smile that they had the same concerns for Mare that the last group of offenders had; that Mare said she regretted having kids. They actually asked her to write me and explain. I love that so much. Readers and thinkers engaging with a work. Being read critically – and by these ladies in their GED book club program is — a gift. There’s not a lot of funding out there for literacy for felons, but this tiny nonprofit has raised money and given the women in Virginia state prisons college courses, yoga classes, art instruction, horticulture classes, and a means to feel like they’re more than just little pieces of nothing ground between a rock and a hard place. I am honored to be a small supporter of their organization, because I believe a woman who reads will raise reading children. A woman who thinks will raise thinkers.
Years ago, there was a book big in evangelical circles called 40 Days of Purpose. Still not sure what it was exactly, except you were supposed to focus on your raison d’etre for a little over a month – kinda like Lent, actually. I’m grateful today that you don’t always have to spend forty days to be reminded why you’re here… not just to give people books to read, but books to make them think and to engage more deeply with the world. I wanted to hug J and every one of her readers, but settled instead for offering them another box of books.
It’s what I’m here for.