A Few Crumbs of Manna

The Craftsbury Public Librarian invited me to host a book discussion for my book — full disclosure, I’ve known Susan since before I was a mother.

Because there’s a pandemic, we sat outside in the library’s tent. Because it’s Vermont and October, it was raining, but that not chilly. And October brings out the handknit-hat crowd.

For months, I’ve been worried about Unstitched joining the public ranks from my own teeny tiny little world. Unstitched is about opioid addiction and addiction writ large, but it’s also about my story, too. Besides sharing the stories of others, I share mine, too. As my youngest daughter would say, Did you have to take out the whole skeleton? Maybe just a bone or two would have done.

I took out (most of) the skeleton.

But yesterday’s afternoon made me realize, yes, this is why I wrote this book. To have it gnawed over by those I know and complete strangers. Chewed over. Shared. At the very end, a woman who hadn’t read the book asked if I had a copy to sell. I didn’t. But a woman across the tent jumped up and offered her copy. Seeing my book go hand in hand — that, my friends, is manna for the writer’s soul.

Be well, all.

Craftsbury, Vermont

Small Victories

Like so many places, I’ve limited occupancy in my one room library, and, for the most part, that’s worked. This afternoon, just before the after school program started for the first time in months, the adults stood around in our usual pow-wow and returned to the same theme: we’ll make do.

We did.

One boy leaned in the open door, begging to come in. I told him to wait, wait, that I’d come for him when the space emptied out a little.

When it did, I stepped out on the grass and spied him across the playground. When I gestured for him and called his name, he came running.

Messed-up world notwithstanding, what utter joy to see this sprinting boy.

In honor of RBG, her words:

Earlier, I spoke of great changes I have seen in women’s occupations. Yet one must acknowledge the still bleak part of the picture. Most people in poverty in the United States and the world over are women and children, women’s earnings here and abroad trail the earnings of men with comparable education and experience, our workplaces do not adequately accommodate the demands of childbearing and child rearing, and we have yet to devise effective ways to ward off sexual harassment at work and domestic violence in our homes. I am optimistic, however, that movement toward enlistment of the talent of all who compose “We, the people,” will continue.

— Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Photo by Molly S.

Little Gifts

Much of my library work these days is talking and listening. Hey, how’s it going? What’s happening? When I listen a little longer, I hear stories of ordinary lives in upheaval — families separated, folks trying to figure out some kind of future.

I hand out books — mostly fiction and mysteries. And I often step outside the library where we keep talking and talking. From the school’s vegetable garden beds, I pick cucumbers and send patrons home with pickle fixings.

That’s about all I have to offer; that little will have to suffice.

In my own garden, the zinnias have gone brushy and wild, brilliant pink. Radishes have flowered and gone to seed. Late afternoons, I wander, barefoot on the cold soil, taking in the colors, breathing the spicy scent of arugula.

Before long, frost will be nipping at my garden, but for now, the pollinators are hungry, the crickets are singing, and these ragged-petaled flowers are nothing short of miraculous.

Photo by Molly S.