I have been thinking about comfort lately. Close to home, my big sister Tina has been poorly – she has pneumonia and has been in hospital over Christmas this year (do send her some love if you have a moment). I have been thinking about people who are feeling poorly, or lonely, or who have not got enough to eat or a safe place to sleep.
Thinking about these things is good. It makes us take action to help people. It prods us into action, to donate money and to help with voluntary work. But all that thinking about all the people that need help, or who are not as fortunate as we are, can make us anxious. It can make us feel helpless.
When I feel that way, I make lists of the things I can do to help. I am realistic. I find the ways I can help and accept that there are things I can not do. I read as much as I can about the problems I want to help with, so I know more and can help more. But when that is done, I sometimes still feel a bit concerned, and need to find ways to make myself feel calm and collected. If we aren’t calm, it makes it harder for us to help.
One of the best ways for me to feel better is to read books that comfort me. Many of them are the books I read when I was a girl, that have warm memories associated with them. Books read by my dad, when I was a little girl, like the Narnia Chronicles and Roald Dahl books. Books that made me want to be a writer, like The Halloween Tree or The October Country, by Ray Bradbury. Or books that reassure me with their messages of love and comfort, and a way of life – like The Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I want to write those books, that people will return to again and again. I am writing a book at the moment that is set in woodland near my house. It makes me feel warm and comforted to write it – and I hope it makes readers feel the same way.
Do you have books that you return to, time after time? Books that feel like ‘home’ and make you feel secure and warm? I’d love to know, so I can read them.