Santa Monica has a new library program that I read about recently. For 30 minutes, you can "sign-out" a person to talk about an issue he/she knows about such as homelessness. Gives a whole new meaning to "my life is an open book" or "there's a book in everyone". And you can "book" another session with that person if no one else has placed that person "on hold". Not kidding.
I guess you might say that this program is long overdue. With information so easily obtained on the internet, people are still the best resource. Of the fourteen living books, so far topics include Buddhism, vegans and nudists. The program where the books talk back seems to have picked odd subjects, but they claim that these one on one conversations are meant to break stereotypes. I'm curious to see if only the nudists are "checked out" though, I have to say.
I could criticize that we need something organized to actually listen to each other, but I think that it helps to look at people in a different way. If only we saw everyone as pages of our story or worth being covered. What a difference to try to learn something and give our time willingly to "read" someone's words.
Writers know the story is bound by characters. Wouldn't it be neat to have living books in all our communities? We'd have inspiration and research right there for us to choose. We could have turn off the tv nights and actually visit people. We could blog verbally instead of on computers. Oh wait, we already do have them, don't we? Who are you reading right now? What are your favorite living books for writing research? For entertainment?
I've always worried that people want to talk instead of listen, but this library idea just might work. After all, you get double your 15 minutes of fame and are considered an 'expert' about some topic, no matter how obscure. It could happen. Maybe we need to make it happen. Not just like Fahrenheit 451, but all of us guaranteeing value for the unpublished works in the pages lived out around us and even the ones in us too. We writers are the ones entrusted with the privilege of ensuring that everyone's page is worth a look, because we are the fortunate ones who get to explain why.
So I hope you'll go "read" a book for thirty minutes or more tonight. Just don't forget to bring coffee--for your book as well as for yourself.
Causes Teryl Cartwright Supports
United Methodist Committee on Relief, American Red Cross, Heifer Project, American Cancer Society, Doctors without Borders