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March 24, 2020: You and the Bright Lights Book Project

You have threatened to bail a few times since beginning work on this project last November. Your frustration has stemmed from what you call a duplication of efforts – you put books in one place and a few others put them in another place, with little forethought on the part of the other mover.

But here is the conundrum. You can’t quit, and you can’t be fired because you’re a volunteer, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities thereon to. Being a volunteer may be a good thing because, quite obviously, more would be expected of you if you were a paid staff member.

Hrimmi saddled and ready to ride
Hrimmi saddled and ready to ride

What is it that keeps you involved in this project? You have some, but not all the answers. The answer that most readily comes to mind is the accompanying affirmation. Everyone keeps telling you what a wonderful project this is, and what a great job you’re doing – even your sister who has always remained noncommittal about most everything you’ve ever done.

You also are doing this because one person in particular on the VCRS staff is being so helpful and supportive. It was not originally this way. But like a wart, the project grew on her. Together, you two are like two cart horses, pulling the same wagon.

And you are doing this because you love reading and sharing the stories that center around books. You have now placed hundreds of books in potential reader’s hands, and their thanks has been genuine. And you’ve indirectly placed books in other’s hands. Your hope is passing off these truly wonderful books is that this gesture will be lifesaving.

And oh, another reason for continuing on. Writers need readers and readers need writers.

All these reasons and more came to mind this morning as you deliberated whether or not to head to work. You wanted to stay home because it was a rare day, one which beckoned to you stay home and ride your horses. But no, you instead opted to work inside, in a noisy, dusty warehouse. And once there, you did an amazing job. You put 24 boxes of books on a pallet, in a distribution area. And tomorrow, you and Pete will take them to Anchorage and drop them off at the temporary women’s shelter. You hope that those who are being housed in the arena will take the books and read them. And perhaps some of the kids who are there will for the first time in their lives, open and become lost in the story the author is telling.

After getting the books boxed and labelled, you worked in the categorization area, putting like-books in boxes. It was getting late, so you didn’t get very far. This, as you know, is the most onerous of the project tasks. But you continue to do so with a smile on your face.

At the day’s end, you walked, dazed, out of the recycling center and then drove home, nearly oblivious to the fact that spring is in the air. This is because, in your head, you were starting to figure out what it will be that you’ll do tomorrow.

Next: 84. 3/25/20: Saints Be Praised

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