Written in the Stars: Remembering You

This very post has been a long-time coming – over 7 months, in fact. Truth is, I contemplated and struggled with whether it should even be written at all. Every moment I summoned the courage to sit down and write it, my fears and apprehensions overtook and ultimately, I opted not to. Though for me, composing my thoughts, albeit publicly is often a means for healing and even making sense of what happened. It wasn’t even that something necessarily “happened,” to me, per se, but rather something I felt and eventually, discovered.

Those who know me well, or who may have been reading along the past several years I’ve had this blog, are aware that reading and books in general, are of the utmost importance to me. The majority of my life, I have been reading, spending time perusing library shelves and fully engaging myself in tangible books. With that being said, back in 2012, after leaving a full-time job due to various circumstances, I found myself with large amounts of time on my hand, more time than I’d had in years. Since I’d started working full-time following my college graduation, the time I’d spent reading had dramatically decreased. In fact, I could barely recall the last time I completed an entire book. Therefore, in the days leading up to my job resignation, I started to once again visit my local library – becoming a safe haven for me in those subsequent months. As a teenager, I became quite fond of one still very beloved movie, “The Notebook,” also a book by Nicholas Sparks. I’d heard quite a bit about Nicholas Sparks and his books, but at that point, my only experience with Sparks was through both Message In a Bottle (I saw this as a very, very young child and was not even aware until around the time I began reading his books, that this movie, too, was also a Sparks novel) and The Notebook in their movie versions. Curious about what the allure could actually be, I rented several of his books from the library and that summer, I breezed through numerous ones, becoming entranced and enraptured by his books, his prose and his ability to captivate me even through the first several pages.

Back in the Fall, I learned that Sparks’ newest novel, “Every Breath,” would be released in October. Immediately, I rushed to place a hold on it through my local library and patiently awaited an email informing me it was ready for pickup. Much to my dismay, the email ceased to arrive until just weeks ago. Quickly, I retreated to the library and began reading as fast as I could. Prior to reading, I hesitated, however, given that in the past several years, for one reason or another, I couldn’t connect with Sparks’ newer novels. Something about them failed to resonate with me and I started to distance myself from them, though from the first few pages of Every Breath, I knew the allure of Sparks was back and thus, ended up inspiring this very blog post. Prior to the novel actually beginning, Sparks details his inspiration behind the book, captivating me through the power of one of my favorite phenomenons – serendipity; finding something or someone, for that matter, completely by chance or fate/destiny.

Every Breath

Several pages in, I was transported 9.5 years back in time to my 21st summer, in early June 2009, in the early evening hours. It was a warm, humid night, in very late Spring and given the earlier events in the day, I was overjoyed. Having switched my major in college from journalism to psychology, transferred schools and also having been on medical leave, I had quite a bit of catching up to do and so I made the choice to take on an entire semester’s worth of summer classes that year. Though, that June evening was truly a cause for celebration; it signaled the conclusion of the first set of my summer courses, receiving an “A” in my much-feared math course; an accomplishment meaning more to me than I could even express, given math is a sore subject of mine. Weeks earlier, my sister and I made an unexpected connection to our half-brother, someone we hadn’t seen or spoken to in many, many years and even then, our communication was minimal. Living across the country for most of his adult life, that summer he made a visit to our area and so we opted to connect with him. Though, that night in particular, he casually mentioned he and his friends from high school that he’d grown up with would be visiting a local bar and mentioned it would be fun if I’d stop by. Barely having to consider it longer than a few seconds, I responded with a joyful, “Yes, I’d love to!” There was shock and surprise in his voice as stated, “Oh wow, I didn’t think you’d really want to come.” This was cause for celebration, though, I explained to him; me having completed some of the most trying courses of my college career in a short amount of time and I was looking to celebrate however I could.

We arranged to meet about a half hour or so later and though as I readied myself, nervousness started to kick in, having never met any of his friends and barely having spent time with my half-brother, himself. Still, I bravely drove myself to that neighborhood bar, as a newly-minted 21-year-old (it was only a month subsequent to that very birthday), unsure as to what would end up transpiring. The bar was filled to capacity, loud and boisterous with TV’s blaring, friends laughing, pool being played and towards the back of the crowded area, sat my half-brother and a vast assortment of his childhood friends. Happily, he rose to greet me, briefly hugging me before introducing me to his friends. Once introductions were made, I sat in the small table off to the side, adjacent to where my half-brother and his friends were huddled. He was on the small side, quiet, with a friendly-face and calming/welcoming eyes. His hair was a dark brown and his eyes a lighter shade of brown (to maintain his privacy, I’ll call him P). My half-brother was staying with him during his visit, as I was told he would typically do. From the moment he introduced himself, I knew he was different than the others. Throughout the course of the 4+ hour evening, he came to reveal more to me than most other guys ever had; he was a survivor of childhood cancer, but the cancer treatments had severely weakened his heart and so he was scheduled for heart surgery in late summer. He was successful in his career, a homeowner and from what I could quickly tell, a kind person and helpful friend. Our conversation was easy and near effortless, even with the silences, they were of the comfortable kind. For the first time as a young adult, I felt seen and recognized. With him, though I barely knew him, I felt a connection, one I’d never known before. He was years older than me, but at that moment, I realized it barely mattered – for me, at least. Still, there was much I didn’t know and so as we approached “last call,” at the bar, we made our way out the door, both into our respective cars and I wondered if I’d see him again and if he’d felt similar feelings.

It was awkward in the days and weeks to follow; I contemplated asking my half-brother about P, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the right choice, so I worked my way around it. My dad, (also my half-brother’s father) would be seeing my half-brother prior to him heading home and so I casually asked my dad if he could ask about P. He agreed and hours following their visit, provided me with P’s email address and phone number. Nervous enough as it was, I opted for the email and composed one that very evening. A short time later, P responded (but with so many years having passed, it’s hard for me to even recall what he actually said, though I do remember certain key points): he stated he’d be having the heart surgery he mentioned, soon and that it wasn’t a right time to “get involved with someone.” It’s hard for me to recall if I actually mentioned anything to him along the lines of dating or seeing him again and I don’t recall if I responded to his email or not, but I remember feeling foolish. Looking back, I can truly see his perspective, but back then, I struggle to remember if I did. It was a chance meeting we had, but in the years to follow, I’d still periodically think of him, wondering if we’d ever cross paths again.

Nicholas Sparks

In the subsequent years, my half-brother and I lost contact, somehow losing touch and moving on with our respective lives. Still, I’d sometimes think of P and would search for him on Facebook, but always came up empty. I knew so little about him, yet, something abut his personality and spirit had captivated me. This past Spring, in the months leading to my 30th birthday in May, I started to reach out to those I’d lost touch with, wondering if it was something I said or did. As I approached my 30th year, I started to reflect on my life and past experiences, feeling as though the coming year and new decade of life was a turning point for me. Thus, this included reaching out to my brother-in-law, as nervous as I was. His response was warm and well-received and so I bravely questioned if he still stayed with P during his visits home, feeling it was a basic inquiry.

Serendipity quote

My question to him went unanswered for several days and I wondered if I’d said something wrong or if my inquiry about P was misinterpreted. Though, I had my answer, one I’d never expect or dream of receiving while in line at a store with my mom. I clicked on the message and nearly felt my breath slip away as I read my half-brother’s words. Just days prior, P had passed away; losing his life on the operating table during another heart surgery (apparently, he’d continued to battle heart issues in the 9 years following that first heart surgery he was scheduled for). Otherwise healthy and active, P had apparently married and frequently visited Utah, where my half-brother lived for numerous years. Reading this and letting the traumatic thoughts sink in, I was left without words; just short of a decade had passed and finally when I’d summoned the courage to ask about him, it was too late. Though, in the months I’ve had to digest this tragedy, I realize if he, or we had been right, it wouldn’t have been too late. There is a true sadness I feel, knowing his life was cut too short, leaving his wife, family and friends and despite only having spent mere hours with him all those years ago, it is better to have known than to always wonder.

For me, the story of P is proof in serendipity; a realization that we can meet, interact with or learn of someone in mere seconds and our lives can be forever changed or impacted. Reading the newest book by Nicholas Sparks somehow afforded me with the courage and bravery to finally compose my thoughts about P and maybe to some, our meeting may seem like just two strangers talking one night, to me, it was the first time I realized it doesn’t always have to take years to know someone and even if he wasn’t meant to always be physically present in my life, he still taught me something – believe in chances and never be afraid to ask what you wish to know.

Meet People quote

Rest in peace, P; “A beautiful soul is never forgotten.”

 

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Pages in Memory

For as long as I can remember, books have always been a constant presence and staple in my life. As a young toddler, I can even recall wandering through the house with my little, square “Golden Books,” in hand, desperate for someone to read to me, often leafing through the pages myself and scribbling new words and ideas into them. Reading for me, was always a comfort and escape, providing me solace, room for imagination and an adventure to call my own. As I grew older, I ravenously read through each Babysitters Club book and Sweet Valley High series books, in addition to countless others. Many times, I can recall visiting the library for their various events and visits throughout the week, leaving with a stack of books heavier than I could manage to hold in my small hands.

Reading quote

When I was a teenager, I befriended a classmate who would become one of my closest friends through the years of high school. She and I spent much time together, sharing a lot of similar interests; reading and writing, in particular. One day, in 9th grade, she mentioned she had a book she’d recently finished reading and felt I would enjoy it, informing me of the “unexpected twist” towards the end, aware of how I always sought to find intellectually-stimulating stories/plots. A day or so later, she placed the book in my hands, “The Last Time They Met,” by Anita Shreve. The title alone was alluring and I was eager to begin reading. That same day, upon arriving home from school, I began reading and within several hours or a day, the book was completed. What an adventure it was, weaving through the intricate verbiage and plot twists, leaving me desperate for more. After completing the book, Anita Shreve, an author I’d never heard of before, became one of my favorites. Eager to read more of her books, I asked my friend if she knew of any of her other books and she happily informed me she had yet another one of her books she could lend me by the name of, “The Pilot’s Wife.” Similar in its composition to her preceding book, it left me intrigued and shocked as I worked my way through the pages.

Anita Shreve

To be able to write in the way Anita did is a true indicator of talent in itself. Her unique and careful way of weaving a story without faltering, leading the reader to believe one way, only to completely dismantle those beliefs midway through the novel, is enticing and suspenseful. The only other author I can recall sending chills down by spine beyond Shreve is Paula Hawkins, the author of “The Girl on the Train.”

The Last Time They Met

With all of this being said, yesterday in the midst of readying myself for the day, I briefly paused to check my Twitter feed, only to see a shocking tweet by one of my other favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, which read: “Mourning the loss of #AnitaShreve – a remarkable storyteller who brought me hours of reading joy.” Upon reading her words, a lump gathered in my thought as I quickly closed out of Twitter and tapped by Google app, feverishly typing Anita Shreve into the search bar. What appeared was a vast listing of death notices, articles stating her cancer diagnosis and passing in recent days. Immediately, nostalgia overwhelmed me and I was transported into my 9th grade social studies class, sitting with my friend as she handed me my first Anita Shreve novel.

The Pilots Wife

Sometimes I think it was Anita Shreve who inspired me to want to write even more than I already did. Her talent and writing ability was immeasurable, one I always hoped to emulate someday. The emotions were often palpable through the pages as I leafed through them. Like author, Jodi Picoult, I do am truly blessed and honored to have been able to read her stories and am so grateful for her sharing these talents with the world. How lucky am I to have been able to read her stories and be able to enjoy them time and time again. It is my hope Anita will rest in peace knowing how much she positively impacted lives – especially mine.

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.”

Aging Without Limits

Those who know me, even slightly well, know that I’m a voracious reader, often indulging in numerous books throughout the month, savoring them and then advising others to read them, as well. Reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine, offering me refuge from an often stressful and tumultuous life. For me, reading is a comfort, transporting me to the life of another, allowing me to travel from the comfort of home, or wherever I may be. Each page turned is an adventure to embark on, with the words often coming to life.

With that being said, innocently enough I requested a new book recently recommended in one of the many magazines I read. I was excited to indulge in this particular book, having read a brief excerpt. As I typically do, upon picking up the book from the library, I turned the book to the back to learn about the author; a year jumped out at me: 2010. It was the year I graduated college, a year that served as a culmination of four often painful and excruciating years to endure due to emotional and physical constraints. The brief biography of the author stated she graduated college in 2010, as well. Absorbing this fact, I was caught off-guard to say the least and quickly found myself falling down the comparison trap, yet again. There I was, perplexed as to where I would fall as far as a career and personal life and yet held within my hands was a potential bestseller, or at least a published novel, by my peer of the same, or vastly similar age.

Instead of continuing to fall deeper and deeper into the comparison trap, I forced myself to recite this very phrase: “Everyone has their own time.” It is true though, isn’t it? There is no set time, place or moment, that we really have to be doing anything at all. Our life is own, our own story to write and detail each day, each breathe and each moment. The stories I love most are the ones I hear about people who realized this, people who didn’t set a time limit for achieving their goals and dreams. Often times, people who are most inspiring to me are the ones who were brave enough to make significant changes and take significant risks, years or moments beyond when people “typically do.” What do I mean when I say this? I mean, the women who may have had children in her 20’s, who had dreams of becoming a nurse, and abandoned her goals for the sake of her family, but later returned to school in her 40’s to become a nurse and ended up being one of the best nurses a hospital or medical facility could ever ask for. Or, the girl who suffered so deeply from illness as a child, or never was able to travel and later became a travel writer, as an older adult, traveling the world, writing and telling others all about it. Bravery and courage and the ability to continue on, in spite of our difficulties or the ideas in our heads about “how it is supposed to be,” are most attractive to me. Each day when I find myself wallowing about the current state of my life, I remind myself of these people and remind myself that no matter how alone at times or isolated I may feel, (learned from a quote I read last night!): I can always look outside at the sun or moon and know that at that very moment, someone, somewhere is looking at that very same sun or moon.

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Maybe others can relate to these sentiments, or perhaps not, but regardless, I thought it was important to share, because they are thoughts that help me during life’s toughest moments.

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Choices and their Consequences

About a month or two ago, while perusing several websites, including one of my favorites for books, Goodreads, I stumbled across an author whose two books called to me. Her third book, slated to be released this month, in July, was also one that had particular appeal to me, so I immediately requested all three from my local library. After reading the first two, already-released books, Taylor Jenkins Reid, the author of the books I am referring to, quickly became one of my favorite, go-to authors. Her writing is simple yet poignant, with words and stories I can easily relate to. The books have a certain flow to them, one where I can start reading, and then look at the clock next to me and realize an hour has passed. Her stories have the ability to take hold of deeply-etched emotions with me, bringing back feelings of the past and allowing me to deal and process with those sentiments I neglected years ago.

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Needless to say, when I learned of the title of her newest, third novel, “Maybe in Another Life,” the memories of my past came flooding to me. I often spend chunks of the day wondering what my life would have been like if I had made another choice in various situations, or if I hadn’t made a choice at all, or if I had simply spoken up verbally, rather than through bodily actions. Throughout my life, I regrettably made a lot of rash decisions seeking instant gratification or to numb myself from the situation at hand, without considering future consequences. I suppose a part of that was being young, not realizing how the actions of the present time could prove to impact me in future years to come. Often as a teenager, it’s difficult to really understand the impact of our actions. I’ll be first admit I was self-centered in much of my adolescence, often believing it was a catastrophe if I had no weekend plans, or if I wasn’t invited out with friends. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that decisions made as a 17-year-old still feel hauntingly poignant in my life, now as a 27-year-old.

Taylor Jenkins Reid New

That being said, the title, Maybe in Another Life, has lead me to contemplate and wonder, some of the many “what-if’s,” in my life, so rather than have them running rampant in my often frenzied mind, I figured I would share them and ask those of you who might reading, how you might finish this sentence, “Maybe in another life, I would have…” The other day, the author herself, Taylor Jenkins Reid, posed this question on Twitter to her followers and it stayed with me, triggering an outpouring of memories and contemplations.

My senior year photo from 2006.

My senior year photo from 2006; sharing a time when a lot of the choices I made at that time proves to still impact me, very much so, today.

“Maybe in Another Life,”….

  • I would have been a magazine editor/journalist, working in the city, interviewing different types of people, writing articles, researching, and discovering my voice as a writer.
  • I would have a great group of friends who love me for who I am, no matter my quirks, who bring out the best me, who I would meet on the weekends for a lingering brunch of excellent food and conversation and share laughs about the latest TV shows, guys we’re dating, and other events.
  • I would have been in a loving relationship with a man who makes me feel loved, cared for and appreciated. He would love me for who I am, no matter the blemishes, imperfect aspects of my personality and body and would celebrate me for the person I am and who I’ve become. He would comfort me when sad, share in my laughs and tears, and hold my hand every night as we feel asleep together. With him, there would be no self-conscious feeling, no wondering if he likes or truly loves me, no games, but only simple, wholesome love.
  • I would have been married and a mom to children; children who would grow up to be loving, well-adjusted individuals.
  • I would have been more trusting and confident in my body, respecting myself and realizing I am not my body, but a woman with thoughts, feelings, dreams and goals who tries her hardest to be supportive and encouraging to others.
  • I would have a father in my life who loves and respects me and acknowledges/validates my feelings, who doesn’t make me feel ashamed of myself or ashamed of my body. He would offer me advice and provide me with encouragement and love.
  • I would travel extensively throughout the world, seeing different cultures, learning different languages and allowing myself to relish in the beauty of the various architecture and lands.
  • I would be able to eat and enjoy anything and everything I wanted, realizing that food is something to be enjoyed and celebrated, not pushed away or manipulated. I would enjoy plentiful meals with friends and family, cooking all the recipes I’d love to and able to share in the love that is that of homemade meals.
  • Most importantly though, maybe in another life, I would be confident enough to take the risks I think about taking and allow myself to feel pain and disappointment that might come with these risks, but realize failure isn’t final and that each new day is another chance to make a change and to even start all over again. Maybe in another life, I would have the courage to start over and live the past 10 years the way I thought I always would. Maybe in another life, I would realize it really isn’t too late, because every moment alive I’m given affords me with a chance for change and a chance for happiness.

Start Over Quote

So, now that I’ve told you some of my “maybe in another life” responses, I’d love to hear what some of yours are, if you’re willing to share, which I hope you will be. Thanks for taking the time to listen today.

Solace in Pages

It is now Sunday evening and the holiday weekend is winding down. Naturally, I don’t have to inform you of this, but a part of me is indifferent about it. To say this weekend was eventful would be an understatement, but of course, eventful does not always have a positive connotation. To be honest and frank, the past several days have left me undeniably heartbroken and wracked with a kaleidoscope of emotions. At times, I became angry and resentful, while other times, I longed to step into the past and alter decisions and actions I’ve made. Most times, it was difficult to even place into words the sentiments floating through my heart and mind. While I say I was heartbroken, it is not of the romantic kind, but rather ones involving family and in particular, my father, the man who as a child and even as an adolescent, I mistakenly thought would be my hero, the one I could look to for protection and guidance, the man who would steer me in the direction towards achieving my dreams. To arrive at the realization that this is not in fact the truth is perhaps the most challenging truth to accept at all. As children, maybe we uphold beliefs that our parents are significantly different creatures from us and it is only later, as adults, we begin to realize, they are human, just as we are. Often I wonder if maybe I expected too much. As I grow older, I realize people love in a multitude of ways. More importantly though, they love in the way they can and I try to accept this, no matter how challenging it may be. Each day, I try to remind myself of this necessary truth, because holding a grudge and wishing for a different reality, I’m aware, will lead me nowhere. It will only make me harbor resentment, hurt and anger and prolong the stinging, like a scab on an old wound that someone continuously exposes to air. Healing takes time and as I’m learning, so does acceptance.

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Searching for reprieve, or at least a momentary, “escape” if you will, I opted for one of my favorite author’s newest novel entitled, “Morning Glory,” by the undeniably talented, Sarah Jio. If you’re unfamiliar with this latest novel of hers, you may have read some of her other favorites, “Blackberry Winter” and of course, “The Violets of March.” To say I am thankful and grateful for her words this weekend would be a vast understatement. Her beautiful control of words and the English language in general has captivated me so these past several days as I traveled into the fictional literary world she created. The words seem to flow with each page I turn, as I delve deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters lining the pages. Her talent is rare and one I truly cherish. For me, it is quite simple to discern whether or not an author/book and I “click.” With Sarah Jio, her books have a way of weaving mystery, romance and intrigue so profoundly, the book is difficult to put down. When I place it down, I find myself curious, wondering what the pages will leave me with next. In fact, at times, I force myself to place the book down, so that I can savor the rest later, like a forbidden treat.

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Books have always captivated and cushioned me. They keep me company when I would otherwise be lonely. Though to some they may simply be binding and words on a page, to me, they are a work of talent, creativity and a world outside of my own. When reading books, it’s as though I am transported away from my troubles and for as long as I am reading, I am safe and anesthetized from the pain and disappointment living within my everyday, conscious life. 

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So today, I’m here just to say how very thankful I am for the talents of fellow writers, such as Sarah Jio, who share their craft and mastery of the written word with each of us and who inspire me each and every day to keep going and not to settle until I find my true calling.

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Words Keeping me Wise

Happy Weekend! I hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend, thus far. This weekend, I both stumbled across and encountered several instances where words have triggered memories, new ideas and simply thoughts, overall, to ponder. These have been in the form of quotes I noticed on Pinterest, as well as in the new memoir I started reading, former “Clarissa Explains it All,” and “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,” star, Melissa Joan Hart‘s, entitled, “Melissa Explains It All.” Of course, her book isn’t heavy reading, but then again, sometimes it is a refreshing and welcome change to be able to read something lighthearted, with a friendly tone, that still manages to spark new ideas and concepts within my mind. It is a telling book, revealing encounters with several celebrities including, but not limited to (I’m only about 100 pages or less into the book), Soleil Moon Frye (former “Punky Brewster”), Drew Barrymore and Calista Flockhart. In the book, Melissa writes honestly and openly, candid in her descriptions and recollections. I’m told that parts of the book will surprise and shock readers, so I’m holding tight and bracing myself! It is an exciting read and I do recommend it, if you’re unfamiliar with it or on the fence about it.

Melissa Explains it All

In other words, the quotes that spoke to me over the weekend appeared through the “Quotes,” section on Pinterest (check out my Pinterest page: @Stylinstar53) This morning, I was searching for inspiration and turned to the trusty Quotes section, where of course, it did not fail me. While I posted these under my “Quotes & Thoughts I like,” page, I decided to share them in this post, in case you might have missed them:

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

“When I’m feeling a litte low, I put on my favorite heels to stand a little taller.” (Those who know me well, know this fits the bill, as I am often in heels!)

“Today I choose to live by choice, not by chance;
To make changes, not excuses.

To be motivated,not manipulated.
To be useful, not used.

To excel, not compete.
I choose self-esteem, not self-pity.

I choose to listen to the inner voice, not the random opinion of others.”

So there you have it! Just some words for you to consider, ponder and take with you on this Sunday evening. Have a wonderful night, my friends!

Words Quote   Words Quote 2    Words Quote 3

Share a Book, Share a Memory

Today’s impromptu post on this blistery, cold Autumn day, was inspired by my spur-of-the-moment trip to my local library, located a mere 7 or so minutes away from my home. I had an appointment during the latter part of this morning and instead of heading home immediately thereafter, I decided to take the short trip to the library, given I am nearing the end of yet another book by one of my favorite authors, Amy Hatvany, and am in need of additional reading material. Unlike many others, I rarely purchase books. Sure, I would love to have the ability to add to my own personal library at home, but unfortunately, books are expensive. Instead, I voyage to the library and tend to check out at least two books at a time, thankful for the ability to quickly renew them via the library website with the click of a button. To be honest, I actually enjoy visiting the library. From a young age, my mom, a teacher, instilled a love of reading and the library, in general within my sister and I. When we were young, she would take us to the various events our local library would hold, including the beloved, “Teddy Bear Picnic,” where children would bring their favorite teddy bears and books to be read and shared on the library’s front lawn. Also, during the summer months, my mom would enroll my sister and I in the summer reading program at the library where we would read certain books selected by the children’s librarians assembled on a list. Each week, we would meet with the librarian and fellow peer readers to discuss and create projects based on all we read. It was an activity I loved and looked forward to.

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My love of reading and the library spilled into my adolescent and young adult years, as I would frequently visit to check out books advertised and mentioned in my favorite magazines and newspapers. The more I read, the more I started to follow authors such as: Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Ann Brashares, Megan McCafferty, among others. Most recently, I started following Amy Hatvany, Elin Hildebrand, Meg Donohue and a host of others. As a self-professed, “writer,” I tend to find a certain sense of comradeship in these women authors, impressed by their craft and handle of the English language.

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My visit to the library today, though nothing out of the ordinary, for some reason, felt special to me, in a way. The library, as it typically is, was packed. Though, at that time of day, early afternoon on a Monday, it was filled with many elderly patrons, many of whom may be retired, mothers with their children, young adults – perhaps college students, researching and maybe some like myself, who are still figuring out their life’s path. Still, it was comforting to be among others, who might harbor a keen sense of love for books and literature, in general. It was interesting to look around and take note of the picks of others, some interested in learning a new language and others curious about the latest recipes in a cookbook. When I approached the checkout counter, I noticed a young boy attempting to sign up for his first library card. Unfortunately, the library clerk informed him that in light of his age, he would need his parent to sign up with him. Hearing this, I softened, remembering my first library card, as I proudly signed the front of the card with my mom. It was also refreshing to see a young child, eager to read and take advantage of our ability to utilize the library as we so choose.

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Today’s visit to the library made me all the more appreciative we are provided with this right, as members of the community. So, if you haven’t in awhile, I encourage you to visit your local library, if you happen to be near one. There is much to be learned and utilized there, in my mind.

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QUESTION: Do you visit libraries? Why or why not?