• Shana Ritter

Kid in a candy store

I am sitting in the silent reading room at the library overlooking the main street on a dismal wet gray day. I am thinking it is a gift to be warm, quiet, comfortable. To have a place to think freely surrounded by natural light for free.

Libraries are often forgotten these days but my own kids grew up here. Story-times, and books and movies all available in plentitude, for free. In my own New York childhood the library was the first place I learned to take the bus to alone. Even now I always have the sensation of “a kid in a candy store”. I’ll leave here with two canvas bags of books that have caught my eye, I keep a basket at home just for them and I browse through over the next weeks. Perhaps I choose only a few to read, but I have touched each one and they have imbued some sense of their stories into me.

I can always tell when I haven’t been reading enough. I get a certain kind of antsy. I can’t quite settle into things or concentrate. My own writing begins to decrease in scope and quantity. And then I remember; just go to the library. No need to figure out the perfect book to read next, walk the stacks until a few end up in you hand. Carry them home. Climb into the big chair and begin thumbing through until one phrase catches at you and then next and the next. Lose your self for an hour in words and then watch what happens.

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