Mini-Edition: Stories to Survive a Pandemic + Small Treasures

What stories are bringing you comfort and courage?

Dear readers & writers,

It’s been a year since the coronavirus made its way into New England.

My memory of the start of the pandemic shut-down is ridiculously on-brand: it’s inextricably linked to a book event. A year ago, almost to the day, I made the nervous decision to go hear Ken Liu speak at the Boston Public Library. I knew the layout of the venue (spread out tables) and, armed with hand sanitizer, I decided to drive instead of taking the T. I ordered lots of treats at the café and bought all of Ken’s books. Trident Booksellers had an industrial spray can of disinfectant that seemed to signal the end-times. Ken was incredible, talking about the way societies — and individuals— define themselves by stories.

“We speak about [traditions] as if it’s always been this way, but that’s not true. Real living tradition represents progress.” —Ken Liu, from an interview with WBUR

I haven’t been in a library since then and I miss it terribly. I have been to book events, though they look different now. This has been a mind-boggling year of loss and resilience. But through all of it, stories have been a large part of what’s sustained me, through the gray winter, the loneliness and aloneliness. This year has brought me new favorite novels, but also essays and books that further understanding of the stories that shape this country’s sense of self, as well as my own.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting outside on our first warm, sunny day of the season. The wind-chimes are calling, the wind is blowing, and I have a cup of iced tea, trying to trick myself into believing we’re almost into summer. It’s easy, under a clear blue sky like this, for me to believe that the story of this year is still unfolding and that each chapter won’t be the same as the last, but reveal some new secret, some new treasure.

I was thinking of writing about how to keep on marketing in a pandemic but I’ve already written about that. Instead, I’d love to hear:

  • What stories are bringing you comfort and courage?

  • What small treasures have you discovered recently?

I’ve shared some of my favorites below but please drop yours in the comments. Keep sharing stories. The world needs to hear yours.

~Allison

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