Order. Gratitude. And Other Things.

Sunrise, Hardwick, Vermont

January — the time of year when ash from the wood stove has settled into the crannies of our house — beneath the couches and along the woodwork. I listen to The Daily about FBI files released about the insurrection a year ago and take a soapy rag to my house.

I tell my daughters I’ll paint the walls of the upstairs hall spring grass green and stencil dandelions around the doors. What are you doing? they ask.

Some people are drawn to chaos. I crave order, a schedule, neatly pencilled lists to guide me through my days. To write, I travel to hard places, and I want to return to order. All around us now, chaos streams in, as the pandemic turns our world inside out. In the midst of this, I rearrange my woodpile. In the evening, while my daughter writes a school paper, I take the compost out to the bin. A light snow falls, sparkling in the light through our house windows. There’s no one out, and I keep walking. I head down the road and stand on the sidewalk. These neighbors have fully decked out their crab apple trees with twinkling colored lights. In my younger years, I would have scoffed at the use of electricity, much as I once hated paper plates.

Now, in the dazzling bits of snowflakes, I stand there for the longest time, thinking of nothing at all, just taking it in.

On a different note, Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont State Health Commissioner, read and blurbed Unstitched. I am among the many, many Vermonters who look to Dr. Levine as a beacon of calm, rationality, hope, and decency, as he’s guided our state through two years of a pandemic. In the mist of this, he took the time to read my book and called it a “tour de force.” Endless thanks, Dr. Levine.

Unstitched “…is both a page-turner and a primer in understanding the many complex dimensions of the opioid crisis in a rural state, where the reader accompanies the author in her own recovery and process of discovery. Ultimately, it is impossible for any of us to be totally disconnected from the impact opioid use disorder has on our communities, and it is through reading Stanciu’s skillful, compassionate and thoughtful rendering of personal stories that we can all gain valuable insight, diminish harmful stigma, and foster true healing.” — Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont State Health Commissioner

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