The news of the last few weeks has been nothing less than heartbreaking. In these moments, I often turn to books to put into words what I can only feel. As I read a passage in the exquisite new novel Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung, I came upon this line: "And she thinks of a Cantonese saying: Trees want to be still, but the wind won't stop blowing." As health care providers, front line workers, environmental activists, humanitarian workers, and people of color face never-ending crises, a new reality of an unrelenting, unstable world is testing our ability to look to the future with hope.
So what do we do? How do we sustain? Besides hugging our loved ones even more closely than before, I think the most important thing we can do is to honestly share with each other where we are at and how we can be there for each other. A fellow Bookshop employee shared this poignant video (posted on Oluo’s Instagram page) from author Ijeoma Oluo who wrote So You Want to Talk About Race. In it, she talks about her own journey towards realizing that her healing couldn't wait until everything settled. She talks meaningfully about how she needed to find the places of quiet and of joy in her own life, knowing that trauma wasn't going away.
If books are part of any of your approaches to finding more peace in an unpeaceful world, I hope we can be here for you—for a conversation at the information desk or sharing love of a particular book that provided insight, information, or escape; for a passage that makes you inhale for a few seconds longer, or one that makes you laugh out loud and then allows you to fall asleep. I hope that books are paving the way for some momentary respite on your journey.
Recently, a customer wrote and told me that a friend bought her a book from Bookshop Santa Cruz about grieving after the loss of her husband. Now, when she uses our bookmark in other books, she thinks of her friend, of this gesture, and of her time visiting her friend and walking the aisles of the store together. She said it brings her some joy every time she sees it. I know that seeing all of you at the store are moments that are sustaining me, and that I still look forward, regardless of everything, to finding a way through in the community that I love.
Casey Coonerty Protti Owner,
Bookshop Santa Cruz
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