Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 13, and in light of the reading party being tonight, we thought we'd ask an author to give this morning's message.
Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (made into a Kevin Costner movie* last summer) and other novels, says, "You guys tired of this yet? We're on day 40, at least by my accounting. I'm not sure if I'm right or not."
"I'm just sick of it," he goes on to say. "Part of me thinks that we're, like, preparing. You know, the world is going to end and there's an asteroid headed our way and what they're really doing is getting us ready for abandoning Earth and taking that long trip to Mars. I looked it up. It's like 150 days if it's the orbit's right and you have the right rocket. We're at day 40. So we're a quarter of the way there."
In his message, Garth also says, "Have you noticed that they're basically shutting down the arts? You noticed that, right? Like, movie theaters, legitimate theater, art museums—everything. Shut down. They're shutting down the arts. Book launches and all this kinds of stuff."
Garth has a graphic novel, The Cloven—he did the words, Matthew Southworth did the drawings—coming out this summer from Fantagraphics. He was supposed to go to San Diego Comic-Con in July to promote it. Obviously that's not happening.
"So, look: coping mechanisms," he says. "I'm here to give you some advice of what I'm doing to deal with things. I do listen to a lot of audiobooks. And this is something I picked up when I was doing a whole lot of traveling for The Art of Racing in the Rain. I would be on airplanes all the time, and I've learned this thing about myself: When I open up a book and start to read it on an airplane, I fall asleep. It's kinda cool, if you want to fall asleep. But if you want to read the book, it's difficult. So what I started doing is listening to audiobooks, and then I thought: Well, I've got to do something with my hands."
You can read more about Garth's life here and find out more about his many projects (did you know he's also a playwright?) here. He is also the cofounder of Seattle 7 Writers, a nonprofit collective dedicated to energizing readers, writers, and their communities by providing funding, programming, and donations of free books to those in need.
Thank you, Garth, for your message, and your books, and all the ways you give back to the literary community. And thanks for the tip about audiobooks + jigsaw puzzles. And for your thoughts about Mars. Good luck with that wooden puzzle marble explorer thingy.
Everyone else: Good luck getting through today and into tonight. We hope that when you do, you'll join us for the Silent Reading Party at 6 pm.
It's a great way to unwind, even if you don't get any reading done and just do jigsaw puzzles.
* Kevin Costner doesn't appear in that trailer, but in the movie he provides the voice for the dog Enzo's thoughts, which you can hear here.
Previously in this series: