Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Merry My Town Monday

When I started My Town Monday a few years back I hoped it would grow and expand and give us all a chance to learn about communities all over the globe. I do believe it has done that. Matter of fact, blogging as a whole has changed my very perception and definition of the word community.

This My Town Monday post may stretch the boundaries of the word town, but it is 100% percent about community.

I used to believe a community was a localized group of individuals. A place where friends and neighbors coexist and work together for a common goal. Blogging has rewarded me in many ways and taught me more lessons than I can count. It has given me the confidence to put myself out there a bit more and take chances I never would in the past, but blogging has also made me realize community is not defined merely by where we lay our head each night. No community is about friends, like minded souls, and yes neighbors in a more global sense coming together to aid assist and help each other. Usually that help is nothing more than a kind word of encouragement or a comment letting each other know we our out there reading, learning and appreciating each other's thoughts, passions, and experiences.

I know better than most that in times of real trouble the blog community is willing to go beyond kind words and comments. The blog community is a real tangible throng of writers, readers, and humans more than willing to go above and beyond expectations to uplift, support, and assist one of their own.

My family and I lost all of our stuff in that house fire, but at least for me that was the truly devastating aspect of the event.


That is how I can best describe the feeling I had in the days following the fire. I, for the first time in my life was forced to realize how fragile my existence is. How there are many many things beyond my control. How everything can change in one second.


Friends, both near and far immediately saw to it that I understood that one second swing goes both ways. That yes, things can spiral away in a blink of an eye, but just as quickly order can be restored. That fragile as it may be I could lean on friends, grab a hold of offered hands, and let them prop me up until my legs were strong enough to do it on my own.

It's damn hard to feel vulnerable when you have an army backing you up.

Security of mind, body, and soul truly is a priceless gift.

Erica Orloff was one of the generals in that army of friends and now I am going to steal her words about another of our friends that could use a visit from the blog troops. 

In this little corner of the blogworld, most of us are book lovers. Book lovers and writers, people who say, "I've been writing stories since I could hold a pen," or "I was the kid holding the flashlight under the covers and reading past bedtime." In this little corner of the blogworld, we've also watched out for our own.

Merry Monteleone (Mom and More) and her family were in the midst of raging flood waters in Westchester when heavy rains hit Chicago. The contents of the downstairs of her house were lost, and though it's just "stuff" (lives were lost in the flooding), most of us can imagine how it would feel to watch photo albums and meaningful memories wrapped up in the "stuff" of our families . . . be carried off.

While big "stuff" can be replaced with insurance, Merry lost all her books, and a group of us decided to replace them--with Amazon gift cards, with books, with signed copies of books, with ARCs. We want to see the blogosphere flood her mailbox with good wishes and replace her library. If you love books and your TBR pile is as tall as you are, you know what they mean to her.

What can you do? Send books! Send Amazon cards! Reach out to your favorite authors and ask them to send her a signed copy! For her address or more information, contact:

She has three children middle school and younger. Their books were in their bedrooms and most survived, but it would be great to get some books just for them, too!

 From my own experience, I can assure you it takes very little to bring joy and comfort to another in the face of tragedy. A single Hotwheel car was enough to bring broad smiles to my boys faces. They also received a ton of books, many autographed by the author. Those books hold a special places in their rooms.

Here's hoping that Merry's and her kid's bookshelves are soon brimming with good books to read. And if you are not an author with signed books or ARCS send a copy of your favorite book or as Erica suggested an Amazon gift card. Heck, if nothing else stop my Merry's blog and let her know you are thinking of her and her family. 

Be sure and check out other My Town Monday participants at the official MY Town Monday blog. The talented Clair Dickson hosts this week.


Charles Gramlich said...

Very sad. I hate to think of such losses happening. I'll check it out.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for beginning such a worthy project. I hope to rejoin it again soon.

Barrie said...

Travis, definitely send me her address! :)

Old Kitty said...

Awww Yay for communities!!!

I shall be keeping Mary and her family in my prayers and thoughts.

Take care

the walking man said...

It doesn't sound like STINK is really her kind of thing but I have linked her via Sarah Hina's post on my right sidebar. Send her address and let me know which bookstore chains are NOT ten million miles away from her.

Laurel said...

I just sent an Amazon gift card. I know Amazon is Satan incarnate, but it's easy and they will deliver. Plus you can get anything.

Travis, I know what you mean about the vulnerability. Our house burned on Christmas when I was 8. People stepped up.

We had a roof, a different one every night for a few days, but a roof, clothes, and ate like champs at the houses of friends. Their out of town guests scooched to couches so we had beds. Even our Christmas bounty survived since the first thing the firemen did was enter a house engulfed in flames and cover the toys with tarp. Then they went to work with the hose.

It was the best Christmas of my childhood.

Jillian said...

What a noble cause. Can we mail books to you, or how exactly would I go about getting a book to her.

You a wonderful man who has a way of inspiring people with his words, you a have a big heart and I hope you know that.

WordVixen said...

Oh bugger! Poor Merry. I'm at work right now, but I'll see what I've got when I get home.

Spiced Apple Eye said...

I'd send her Magickeepers but I'm guessing she's already got that! I have a few good books on hand published in the last year or so.

Merry Monteleone said...

Travis, you rock!!!! Thank you so much, my friend.

And thank you guys for being so supportive. Our online circle is a lot tighter and more caring than anything I expected when I started blogging - it's been the unexpected blessing that's been more important to me than anything else.

Jenn Jilks said...

You know, Travis, life change in any form is difficult. For some it is caregiving for ill loved ones, job loss, moving, all sorts of psychosocial trauma changes our circumstances. How well we deal with it varies.

For me, during those long months of helping my dad die with dignity, it was my blog friends who read my posts. People who laughed at my trite comments, fun photos, or complaints about noisy folks on the lake.

As we anticipate another move (3 in 7 years) I am holding fast to my blog buddies. A simple comment warms the heart. I know you are giving back what you received and you are the better for it. Well done!

Monnik said...

What a great post, Travis. Can you FB message me her address? (Do you remember which FB friend I am? My initials are MKR)

Cloudia said...

and so it goes around....

...and around...

Aloha from Honolulu :)

Comfort Spiral

Deanna said...

Hi Travis. I had gotten away from reading your blog until you commented on a photo I posted last weekend. Thought I'd check you out again.

I am so sorry to hear you have suffered through the loss of fire, but am not surprised you came out on the other side a stronger person.

You seem like a very caring person. Will check your friend out.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.