Sunday, December 18, 2011

So you want to be a Protestor

I don’t remember if I mentioned, but I didn’t just donate meals to the OWS Thanksgiving Event in November—I also picked up a book from the People’s Library.

So You Want To Be a Wizard was a magical book that I found in my own public library when I was ten or eleven. The long shelves back then were crowded with good books—I was lucky to have access to a small library with excellent librarians. But this particular novel was special to me—a glamorous older heroine (13!) who talked to trees and had help with her bullies from a magic book that caught her attention (snagged her finger, no less) on her own small but good library shelves.

Nita was me. (Side note: It’s only now as I re-read it that I notice that Juanita is a Hispanic name and that Kit’s family spoke Spanish—he was no doubt much darker than any of my Central PA friends. But at the time, that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book or my identification with the characters for one second. Hey, book publishers, please notice that when publishing future books!)

Anyway, to find the glossy paperback among the small but tidy collection at Liberty Plaza was a truly special moment for me. Fellow friends of books will understand: when a book is a childhood chum and not just a story, when you meet up with it again, it can be magic.

Since then, I’ve been reading the book to Older Son as our special Friday after school treat. While Little Son has his extended day at nursery school, we drink hot chocolate and read about Nita and Kit learning how to face monsters using their wits and The Book of Night with Moon.

Those moments, when he’s cuddled up next to me, biting his finger or slurping his chocolate while Kit shoots fire at flying helicopters, they are magic, too.

And I’m grateful to Occupy Wall Street for all sorts of wonderful and frightening and real moments—but also the magic of the unreal, as Older Son and I dive into fantasy… with hot chocolate. We’re already halfway through the book, and I will be sad when we’re finished. It doesn’t have the OWS People’s Library Stamp—that got destroyed in the raid November 15th. But someone wrote “OWS” on the top in Sharpie and I know where I got it.

The thing about libraries is that the books are for sharing. Just like all wealth in a community, it does no good sitting still or being hoarded. Enjoy it, use it, pass it on, create a life with magic for someone else. When I can't cook or carry signs or write letters to the President, I can still share some magic with someone I love. 

That's a kind of protest, too.

So I will pass the book on when we are done—and in the meantime, I’m passing on this link:

…and I hope that you discover many magic moments in books and in life.


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