I have to be careful with what I read right now. The news, social media, all the incoming information and non-information threatens to overwhelm me. We all react differently to the stressful situation we find ourselves in. Some people need to know everything, hear everything that everyone is saying. But I need to shelter myself more – not only physically right now, but also emotionally. So I am limiting social media, and skimming just to find things that are important to know about friends and family, or that make me laugh. I’m not reading any of the dire predictions or announcements in the news. I figure if there is something I need to know, I’ll be told some other way. And I’m reading fiction to divert myself…fiction as comfort food. For me, that means Anthony Trollope.
The (many ) novels of Anthony Trollope make me chuckle, and make me feel as if a beloved uncle is telling me a story. I love Trollope’s voice. I also find his depictions of women incredibly modern, especially given the times he lived in. I put that credit squarely on the shoulders of his daringly strong mother, Fanny. Over the years, I have slowly worked my way through most of his books so that now the ones still left are the lesser known. A few days ago, when my anxiety was threatening to get the better of me, I knew I had to choose one of those to read. I chose Miss Mackenzie, a novel about an unmarried woman who comes into a small fortune (as they often do), and finds her way in the world. Does she marry or stay single? If she decides to marry, who will it be and why? The themes are not all that compelling for me, to be honest, but his voice….oh, his voice makes me feel soothed, uplifted, connected and at peace. To think that books written hundreds of years ago can still have that effect is in itself a reason to hope.
I hope you are finding what you need to do to stay calm, and I hope reading is a part of that cocktail. I’d love to know what choices you’re making to get you through this time.