Hard News Days
I feel like I haven’t known what to do, what to say, for weeks. Weeks of sad news, heartbreaking stories of loss, of violence, relentless hatred. Made sense to let my book blog go dark for a bit, felt weird to be blithering about mysteries and spaceships and libraries in the face of the news.
Saw this OwlTurd comic, it resonated.
I work at maintaining optimism. I try to work from the belief that people around me are doing their best at any given moment. And to push myself to do my best and give my best. I work on accepting where I am, where people are, to meet us where we are and work from there. (Yes, sometimes it really, really takes work. But it’s important to me.)
Reading the news is heartbreaking, frustrating to feel helpless and crushed by the weight of World Events. I try to have faith. And man, does it take work, sometimes! It takes careful curation of my media, whether news outlets, social media, or reading preferences.
This resonated, too.
I know it’s my duty as a citizen and information professional to read the news, to stay informed, to bear witness. To read the experiences, fiction and nonfiction, of those whose voices are marginalized or under threat.
I also know that if I don’t counterbalance the news I consume with a pretty steady diet of fiction I can trust to have a reassuring, happy ending, I’m probably going to cry. Or scream. I need stories to help me feel steadier and less heartbroken about the fate of the world. (Even with seeking out positive endings and optimistic literature, I know I should be reading and reviewing more diverse voices, across different cultures and experiences. That’s on me to do better on the blog.)
Been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks. Because it felt spectacularly tone-deaf to blither along with just another round of book reviews or happy and whimsical link lists. I hate that there’s any number of tragedies and heartbreaks in the news, near and far, that could have inspired me to think and write these thoughts. But there it is.
Having woken up to the news about more violence this week, I felt helpless. I felt overwhelmed by how much violence is ravaging our country. Coming in to make flyers and to read tweets seemed pointless.
But then I remembered I was going to the Library.
At its core, a public Library is one of the few places on earth with no sides.
Everyone is welcome no matter what race, creed, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, political view, or any of the other ways we divide and categorize each other.
I feel like today more than ever, the Library reminds us that we can work together. We have this place in each of our communities that stands up proud and tall and invites everyone in to be fed emotionally, intellectually, and yes sometimes literally.
I work in a college library, with students who are learning and building skills. I can help with research, push critical thinking, help polish job applications and cover letters. Offer books and articles that expand perspectives. So there’s that, to feel actually positive about.
I believe in trying to stay optimistic and upbeat, trying to encourage people. Sometimes, it takes work. Sometimes, I need to retreat behind a barricade of books for a bit.
I’m doing my best. I trust that you are, too.