When I get anxious,

I make stacks of books.

I set them on tables around the house;

The kitchen table,

The coffe table,

The small table next to the bookshelf – redundant and comforting.

I carry them with me from room to room – always a stack because I cannot decide which words I should read before I sit down.

A cup of coffee and a water bottle are constant companions to these books;

These and good intentions.

Sometimes – like I have done the past 3 days – I pick up a small novel and tune out the world for an hour – getting lost in the story and crying at the end.

I cry at the end of most novels – children’s novels especially.

Not because the story is ending,

Not because the story is particularly sad;

Usually, because there is newfound joy or hope, even amidst sadness or epiphany. This is how children’s stories – end.

This is how most stories end.

I love that.

Maybe, this is why I make stacks of books when I’m anxious.

Maybe, I recognize – even without stopping to reflect in this way – that these stories might carry little glimpses of hope and joy – contrived in the experiences of fictional and real characters, alike – Glimpses of hope and joy that quell the anxiety. That tell me to keep going – remind me to keep trying.

And how about you?

What’s in your stacks of books?

What is your stack of books?

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