Seriously Though, Why Books?

I just moved. To a different city in a different country.

I left my job, my family, my friends, my dog, and my obscenely large collection of Harry Potter books.

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My dog

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It should be noted that this is only part of my collection

I now live in what is considered a really dangerous part of town in Chicago (when in reality it’s gorgeous and totally safe) in an apartment that has no air conditioning. It is over 90 degrees outside. It is past 9pm.

I’ve sat in a lot of different places the last couple of months wondering what the hell I’m doing. Taking out loans that I am already having nightmares about paying back to move away from all the comforts of home and a fairly adjusted life to go back to school to do WHAT NOW? To write. Write a freaking novel. NBD, guys.

And once I’m done? Go back into publishing of course.

Sometimes it’s hard to watch my friends finishing their third year of law school (something I would be doing as well if I hadn’t walked away from my acceptance letters) or climbing up a very well-paid corporate ladder, living in stunning apartments (at this point, anything that has air conditioning is pretty damned amazing to me) and living the 20-something dream. Doing “important” things and providing what people need most while bookstores shut down and the printed word gets devalued by the minute. More often than not, I get the question, “Seriously though, why books?”. I do have to take a moment here to thank my amazing parents who have never once asked me this question.

Sometimes there are moments when I’m sitting on my rented couch (because owning furniture is too much of a commitment right now), melting as my fan rotates oppressively hot air around the room, reciting the lines to my Friends dvd because that’s the only way I’ll use my voice that day, and thinking “Why the hell am I doing this?” Then, as I listlessly scan my Twitter feed, I see this post: http://thesavvyreader.ca/2013/happy-100th-birthday-mary/

Say what you want about the future of books, the plight of the bookstore, the horrific pay that authors get, the pros and cons of self-publishing. Say it all. At the end of the day, although this may not necessarily apply to you, books are a saving grace. They get you through pain and loneliness. They inspire and excite you. They unite you with like-minded individuals, even though you may not know it. They can be your best friends and sometimes the only reason to get out of bed (gotta recharge that Kindle sometimes, right?). They’ve done all of that and more for me, so really my question should always be “Why the hell would I not be doing this?”.

Thank you Mary. We’ve never met but you gently reminded me what I’m working for. Thanks Cory. We have met and it’s always enriching and inspiring to hear stories like this one.

Time for me to get my hands on a copy of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared. Screw my well-crafted Excel sheet budget…I’ll just call it a housewarming present to myself.

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