I’m sure we all have our own stories of how a book moved us or changed us or affected us some way. I’m sure if I think about it I can tell you hundreds of stories myself. But for now, I want to tell you about my experience over this holiday season. Holidays are very difficult for me. It’s a very sad and lonely time for me. See, I’m one of those that spend the holidays alone. I have no family and I’m never invited to spend it with anyone else. It’s been this way for the majority of my life. I’ve spent more holidays alone than with anyone. I don’t say that to get any pity or sympathy. I say it because it’s the truth and to let people know that not everyone has somewhere to go during the holidays. So starting mid-November through Christmas Day, I find diversions to get me through. I avoid much of social media unless it’s a group I’m an administrator of or get notifications on. I even cut back on my book groups, even though those are some of the places I find the best escapes. One thing I found myself doing a lot of is reading and focusing on books for this blog. Living in someone else’s world for a while helped with the sadness I was living in mine. What funny or ironic about that is that three of my favorite authors decided to publish Christmas books this year. Two are established favorites and one is quickly becoming a favorite. So, while I would never not read them, I did have a brief moment of “uuugghhh”. The books were awesome as I’d expect and not too “Christmassy” so it easy to escape in them and give glowing reviews. It was so nice to not only have that escape, but have that escape with some of my favorite characters.
Now let me make this clear for everyone who does not suffer from depression…the process is different for everyone. The feelings are different, the moments that overwhelm you are different, the coping mechanisms are different for everyone. Escaping into other people’s worlds is just one way that I cope. Getting out of my own head even for just a little bit is a great little “vacation”. So for all the books that I read and all the books that I will read, I want to thank those authors for their talent. It’s not just a story to me. It’s my therapy, it’s an escape, it’s time to be able to breathe.
Another thing happened from the book world that brought a bit of joy this holiday season. Lucy Score’s Binge Readers Anonymous had a Sneaky Santa sign up. Like a Secret Santa but they sent books to each other on or around Christmas Eve. I didn’t sign up. I just couldn’t. I was sinking so low that I couldn’t find enough joy to send to anyone. But on Christmas Day, there was a post for people to put up books they want and someone would generously gift it to them. It was an off-shoot of the Sneaky Santa but nothing was expected in return. Feeling really low and on a whim, I posted a book or rather a series I had wanted to read. Honestly, I didn’t expect to get a response, but part of me just wanted to get something on Christmas. A little bit after I posted, I not only got the first book, but three different people each sent me a book in the series. So I ended up with the entire series. Now, I know that this was just a few dollars for those that sent me the books, but the sentiment behind it was more valuable than I can explain. This simple small act of kindness brought a ray of sunshine in what is a normally a dark day for me. I cannot thank these three ladies enough for their gesture.
I guess all my ramblings are meant to say that books have provided to me joy in what is normally a joyless season. Authors…never underestimate the power and joy you bring to your readers. Reader…never underestimate the power of a good escape. And last, to everyone…never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness.