September 01, 2005

After Hurricane Katrina: Is It Too Soon To Think Of Books?

Okay, people are needing shelter. I know that.
People are needing basic necessities like food and untainted water and medical care and protection from gun-toting thugs and gun-toting vigilantes.


I wish I could rock the South to sleep and tell them this hurricane/levee breakage/rising water/flooded homes/floating corpses/lost loved ones thing is a bad, bad, dream that will dissipate with the mists of morning.


Wishful thinking aside, I am trying to find something to do here, since I can't go and rescue my relatives (blessedly missed by most of the rising water, as they don't live IN New Orleans; the flood waters didn't rise quite as high in the parishes further away. They're just low on food, have no power and limited phones, and are low on pharmacologicals, but are alive... Thank God, Shiva, Buddha, or whomever - insert your Deity here.) and weeping every time I watch the news is somewhat, um, counter productive...

MoveOn.org, being the remarkably righteous people they are, have come up with a civic arm that ignores such absurdities as blue/red state, and have come down to the real issues, like housing -- which is a wonderful thing for the people who live within 100 miles of the worst of the grief. I can't help out with that, but h
ere's my best thought so far: I realize the schools and the libraries are going to be rotted stinking pulps of paper waste, in an already low literacy area (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana - AND all three have rural poverty rates that are amazingly high, no coincidence)... Maybe we can do something like what Pamela Ribbon did for the Oakland School Library system, and come up with some kind of groundswell thing to collect books to support the libraries and schools, in a positive "you're going to reopen someday" kind of mindset. Maybe the LitCrawl thing (which may have our name on it?) can somehow be involved in raising funds or collecting books...? Trying to think... but there's still a lot of static.

We were planning to go to New Orleans for Thanksgiving. Still trying to recalibrate the brain.

Other thoughts, anyone?

3 comments:

TadMack said...

I knew my people at SCBWI would be thinking straight. There's a place to offer money, housing, and BOOKS! Check them out.

Seren said...

Poets & Writers had similar thoughts, though none of their donation ideas put quite the catch in my throat that the Comfort Kits for kids at SCBWI do. I've posted the P&W stuff at serenstar, fyi. (It was too big to post here.)

TadMack said...

Flashlights and books... the pairing conjures up nights and nights of childhood reading beneath the blankets. What a gift to be able to impart that simple comfort.