Needing To Escape Into a Good Book

I had a horrible week at work, and I’m still a little shaky, hence my silence.

When things are running well working for a charity that you really care about and believe in is the best thing in the world, but when things go wrong …

I have come into conflict with some people who, though they have recently come to work for the same charity in senior roles, seem to have no charity in them. Hopefully the situation can be salvaged, but I have come to realise that I walking away may be the best thing I can do, even though it will break my heart.

Time will tell.

I needed to escape into a book, but for a few days I just couldn’t. Finally though, I picked up the right one.

“It is too warm for sleeping, but I am meant to sleep. I must not turn on the light, and so instead I take one of my library books and hold it up to the window to read in the half-light that falls there. It is a children’s version of Marco Polo. From the words and pictures of its pages another world comes and fills the bedroom with sailing ships and strange names and spices I have never tasted. I read because I cannot sleep and then I cannot sleep because what I read is more real than my own life. At some moment my eyes fall from the page and yet it is as if I am still reading on and within the story. I roll back and forth in my bed so it rocks softly. It is a ship taking me out to sea from Venice.”

From Only Say The Word by Niall Williams

Now how could I not be swept away by words like that?

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

19 responses

    • There are different viewpoints in the voluntary sector. Some, like me, say you have to care and be involved with the people, others say you have to be more detatched. I just hope we can find some middle ground.

  1. If that passage is indicative of the rest of Only Say the Word I think you picked a great book to immerse yourself in and forget a horrible week at work for a while. Those lines reel you in…I want to read more! It’s awful that you are thinking about leaving a job it sounds like you enjoy on the good days, terrible that things can turn bad. Good luck with the job and what you decide. I hope it all works out.
    Thank you for posting those beautiful nwords.

    ~ Amy

    • It is a lovely book, and anything you come across by Niall Williams is worth a close look. For me, he’s an undervalued author who I would love to see get a little more recognition.

      I don’t want to leave my job, but I have to look at life as a whole. My mental health and my family are more important than any job.

  2. How books do save us! These are challenging times for non-profits, and I wish you more moments of happiness there than worry and stress. Remember the value of what you do. Best wishes!

  3. Thank you for your wise and kind words Frances. I’m not going to rush into anything, but whatever way things go I will support the voluntary sector and the community as much as I can.

  4. Oh Jane, sorry to hear things are not wonderful at the moment. I think you are absolutely lovely and would certainly want someone so caring in my corner. As for certain others…a voodoo doll and some very sharp pins just might bring a smile to your face. Just a thought…

  5. I’m so sorry to hear you’re having such an awful time at work. But I’m glad to hear you have a good comforting book. I’d not heard of Niall Williams and will have to do more research — the excerpt you quoted was just lovely. Thanks for taking the time to share it during your stressful period.

  6. Sorry to hear things aren’t going well at work. I don’t work in the voluntary sector, but I know what situations like that can be like and I hope things work out for the best for you soon, whatever that may mean. This looks like a great book to unwind with, though, and I’ll be adding it to my Amazon list.

  7. I had exactly the same experience in my first job, Jane, and that is the reason why I left. I passionately believe in working for the community and the voluntary sector, and I will never work outside of these spheres, but it does intensely frustrate me that management staff in non profit organisations are so often completely out of touch with the people they are supposed to be helping, and with the needs of their staff – and – that as long as they deliver ‘results’, they’re allowed to stay in positions they certainly should not be in. As a fundraiser, I was frequently asked to lie to donors and be ‘creative’ with my accounts by my managers, and eventually I had enough. I will not take people’s money under false pretences, or watch money be frittered away on inflated administration costs when it is supposed to be going towards people who desperately need it. I hope that your situation changes, but if it doesn’t, I hope that you find the strength and courage to leave this job behind and go into another one with managers whose hearts are as big as yours.

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