Beyond all the obvious signs…
I can’t stay focused on a new book. When things are bad with me I long to read books I’ve read multiple times.
Today, I put down a new book and I pulled out two old friends. I’ve read both in the last year. One of them has been read over a dozen times. But it will still be worth the trip. Trusted friends that won’t let me down. Words that sound good even after I’ve read them dozens of times over decades. Phrases that float into my mind when it wanders around looking for places to land.
When I read those books, they still enthrall me. They still pull me into their world and let me walk the streets and visit the familiar places and talk with the friends and foes. I love those books because they are lasting gifts. Comforters in times of terror and loneliness and sadness. They are my solace and my buoy and my inspiration.
I’ve read them in hospital rooms, to leave worry and find comfort in the familiar and good. I’ve pulled them out in restaurants to keep me company while I eat. They’ve made tedious hours pass without thought in planes and waiting rooms. They’ve held me tight when I was too sad to talk and too tender to move.
They are my dearest friends. Most of them are by authors long dead, whom I cannot ever thank for the ceaseless gift of their words and their stories.