Hi! I’m Chrystie, the new director at Jake Epp Library. I’m sure you’ll understand if we don’t greet each other with a handshake today?
I have a vivid imagination, but not once did I ever think I would be writing my first library director’s blog post from home during a pandemic. Life truly is stranger than fiction! These past three months working at the Jake Epp Library have been wonderful and surreal, settling and chaotic – a true mix of emotion. I had hoped to have the opportunity to meet more of you by now, but, alas, the viral universe had different plans. Thank goodness for the bright light at the end of the tunnel that is the day when the library reopens and we get to once again fill your bags with a multitude of books!
In the meantime, I realize that we’re all trying to figure out the best way to fill our quarantine days. So, for this very strange inaugural blog post I present to you:
Five Strangely Bookish Ways to Get Through Self-Isolation:
Everyone knows the healthiest way to conquer through a stressful situation is to eat your feelings. Right? Ok, so this may not be sound advice, but a quarantine IS the perfect opportunity to spend some extra time in the kitchen! Make a meal that takes time – after all, you may not have exotic ingredients in your pantry, but one thing you DO have is time! One of my favourite food authors is Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. You can find her cookbooks in our e-library OR at her website thepioneerwoman.com. Then, once you’ve earned your Michelin-star and cooked up something amazingly delicious and pretty, make sure to Instagram it! After all, if it’s not on Instagram did it really happen?!
Take heed of the centuries-old advice: During a quarantine, it’s either coffee time or wine time. Truly, liquid gold will be the only way we get through this, especially for those of us who are homeschooling (I use the term “school” loosely) during the COVID-19 pandemic. With all the extra free time, it’s a perfect opportunity to up your barista and bartending game! Our e-library is chalked full of books about coffee and mixology. (Disclaimer: you’ll be switching to a French press after reading “How to Make Coffee” by Lani Kingston.)
During this time of uncertainty and angst, initiating and coddling those healing creative juices has never been more important! It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate: color something while you listen to music, doodle an image of an exotic animal while watching “Tiger King”, write a sad country song lamenting the fact that you’ve taken to watching reruns of the 1988 Winter Olympics on TSN. Creativity creates calm. That alliteration has buoyed me into working on a Harry Potter cross stitch. It feels satisfying to participate in beauty in the midst of unsightly circumstances. And! Each stitch reminds me of a magical world where children go to a physical school building and bookstores are open to the public. Did you know that the Harry Potter books (and activities) are available for free at wizardingworld.com. And, of course, you can enter Hogwarts through our e-library as well!
4. Be Inspired
There is a lot of bad and scary news out there these days. But, lost in the midst of the heartache and fear are the stories of heroes and saints. In times of crisis, it does a heart good to LOOK FOR THE HELPERS. Who’s rising above their circumstances? In our community, it doesn’t take long to find the heroes, the helpers, the angels. Be inspired! Inspiration breeds hope, and what we all need now is a vaccine of hope. While the heroes can be easily found in our local hospitals, fire stations, grocery stores and pharmacies, their stories can also be read between the covers of biography books. The biography sitting on my nightstand right now? Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”. The biography I can’t wait to read next? Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed”. The biographies that have impacted my life and I think you should all read? Kate Bowler (a good Mennonite from Winker!)’s “Everything Happens for a Reason”, Rachel Held Evans’s “Searching for Sunday” and Margot Shetterley’s “Hidden Figures”.
The real world is a bit rough right now. There’s no harm in pretending it doesn’t exist (as long as you’re pretending from home and/or six feet apart from one another). Some of us escape by watching “Star Wars”. Some of us prefer the world of bickering, conniving and relentless gossip known as “The Bachelor”. Some of us build forts on the computer (that’s what “Fortnight” is, right?). And then there are those who escape through the pages of stories. For me, this comes with a shameless admission: I love the “Shopaholic” books with my whole heart. There, I said it. I have read every single one of Sophie Kinsella’s “Confession of a Shopaholic” books. They make me laugh and bring me joy and allow me to escape to a place where everything is inconsequential. And guess what? They’re all available through our e-library!
Happy quarantine cooking, eating, drinking, creating and, of course, READING, my dear friends! Stay safe and well.