Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2020 >Daily Dispatch #228

August 18, 2020: Bright Lights Shine Again

You took a four-month hiatus from the book project for several reasons. The first was that a great deal needed to be done on the home front. The virus, and catching it was another concern. And because of the virus, the bottom dropped out of the book distribution market. Lastly, you needed time to assess your role in this project.

You love books and talking books, which was why you recently returned to work, again as a volunteer. In your absence some good things happened, which was what motivated you to again commit to salvaging, sorting, and distributing books. The first thing was that VCRS, the local recycling center, with a grant, purchased a van, which in part will serve as a bookmobile. And, additionally, the staff and volunteers moved the original downstairs book shop into an adjacent room, one with more space. Progress was being made, so you again felt good about investing time in this project.

You entered the downstairs sorting area and of course immediately wondered if you’d made the right decision. The books that you previously sorted were exactly where you left them. But in addition, off to the side, there were boxes and boxes of books to be sorted.

Directives, of course, they came from above. The books, they were all dusty. And there were far too many of them. Your job was to dust them off and put them in boxes with lids. This, you agreed, was a good place to start. You trotted over to the curriculum area and began boxing textbooks and workbooks. The dust was thick, so you put on your mask.

It was then that the enormity of this project hit you, like a projectile shot out of a close range cannon. It would, you reckon, take months to box these books, much less sort out the materials in the unopened boxes. And this was only one phase of the project. In order to get books moving, you’d need to contact volunteers and book-minded organizations.

It’s impossible to dodge a bullet when it’s the size of a bowling ball. So you took the blow in the stomach, exhaling as the ball hit. Your inner voice said “you know what to do,” to which you said “what?” “Begin by sorting and boxing books.” “And the rest?” You asked. “Leave it for now.”

You began sorting and boxing, well knowing that your superiors wanted you to do it all, and fast. Every so often, you wiped your shoulders with your hands, this being a metaphorical way of dealing with their requests.

History repeats itself. Again, you brought home armloads of books for yourself. And again, you brought home books to check out on E-Bay. And again, you found a few that are going for high prices. All the while, as you checked, you shook your head in amazement – how is it, you wondered, that all these very valuable books ended up in a recycling center in Palmer, Alaska.

For now, you are going to work a few afternoons a week. For now. Your new motto is “One book at a time.”

Next: 229. 8/19/20: A Conversation with Tinni

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles