I’ve recently become I’m a fairy.
Okay, just a book fairy.
I ordered goodreads’ and book fairies’ labels and stuck them on each of my books in preparation.
And then I waited for Hide-A-Book Day to roll around.
September 18 turned out to be a gray, wet Monday. Nothing like I had pictured. The Book Fairies suggested I hide my books in plain sight where a reader might be.
The library seemed way too obvious and I thought it might also be confusing since my book would be sitting there amongst thousands and what’s so special about finding a book in a library?
I’m a reader, so I considered the places I go – the grocery store, the bank, the post office. I asked my teenage son who spent a summer working at our Giant grocery store what would happen if I hid a book amongst the bananas or on a shelf next to the soup, and he agreed that some employee might simply throw the book away or best case, put it in the Lost and Found.
I also considered leaving a book at Starbucks or Panera, but when I pictured myself going to these establishments it seemed nearly impossible to do it without someone seeing since, at least in our town, they are crowded at all hours.
I decided I would do this book fairying my way. I’d leave the books in outside places since outside is where I like to be most.
Because it was wet, I put my books in plastic bags and added a note that said, “Please be a good fairy and hide this book again after you have finished with it.”
Then I put a leash on Gala, my current foster dog, and headed out. Gala was the perfect accomplice and cover. No one would think it strange to see me wandering around anywhere as long as I had a dog on a leash.
At my first stop, I left Gala in the car and pulled up next to a tiny gazebo I discovered a few years back while geocaching (look it up). I remember being surprised at the gazebo’s existence, so I decided this was a really good hiding place. I jumped out of the car, walked nonchalantly over to the gazebo and dropped my book. As I walked back to the car, I doubted myself. The weeds around the gazebo were pretty tall and the paint was peeling. My book might still be there at Christmas. No matter, it was done.
At my next stop, a parking lot near a trailhead, there were two people standing around, possibly making a decision whether to hike or not, or possibly waiting for me to stop watching them. It felt a little like a standoff, especially when a police car pulled in behind me. Finally, the hikers moved on and the policeman started eating his lunch.
I used Gala as my cover and wandered over near the port-a-potties, not because I think readers use portapotties (although the connection isn’t a bad one), but because there was a covered picnic table there and I was looking for places my books wouldn’t get rained on before they were found. I pretended to be interested in Gala’s search for the perfect poo spot and casually left the book on the table.
I knew exactly where I would put the next one, having taking prom pictures there a few years back with my oldest kiddo, but when I arrived a woman was sitting on the steps reading! The nerve of her.
I decided to go drop the last one at the Farmer’s Market pavilion and come back. Since it was a rainy Monday there wasn’t a soul around and that was an easy hide.
When I returned the reader was packing up, so Gala and I waited a moment and then we made our drop.
As I drove home, I was excited and maybe a little nervous about my fairy work. This is a small town and there were very good odds that whoever found my books would know me. I decided not to worry about my own reputation and feel good about the fact that I had left a fun surprise for four people.
I have a few stickers left and plan to hide books whenever I travel. I love the concept of the Book Fairies. We sure could use some happy energy infused into our world. Wouldn’t it be cool if more ideas like the Book Fairies caught on?
When I was out hiding, I passed by our Little Free Library, another great way to use books to spread happiness. The world needs more stories. Maybe we could smother some of the hate that seems to be getting all the press of late.
Stories are powerful—as Madeleline L’Engle once said, “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”
Here’s hoping you discover a new story this week, whether it was hidden by a fairy or neatly shelved on a library.
Thanks so much for reading.
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