Check out a human book.
Oh my gosh, who could resist? Not me. Thank you Twitter for the heads up.
This past Saturday was my city’s first ever attempt at Human Library Day. It was hosted by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and libraries across the country.
Real people. Real Conversations.
I love conversating. In person. With flesh and blood people. Who talk back. Where you can gauge how they’re feeling without needing emoticons. All you had to do was register, either online or in person the day of the event. Friendly volunteers in red t-shirts were there to greet you and help you out. The ‘human books’ were spread throughout the various floors of our downtown library, in nooks and crannies or small private rooms, perfect spots for some quiet and informative conversation.
Perfect for writers, information junkies, or anyone with questions to ask the interesting and varied group of people kind enough to share their lives and career choices with the list of books who had volunteered to sit and chat. Among them a Forensic Firearms and Toolmark Examiner, a STARS pilot, a STARS flight nurse, and a grassroots organizer. I saw the list of ‘books’ and was swamped with a flood of story ideas. It was like Christmas morning.
With stories of a terminal cancer diagnosis, the loss of a dream because of a violent domestic attack, people were there to share their stories, change perceptions, and tackle stereotypes. They were there to make a difference in their community. To share their experiences.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” spoken as Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
I ‘checked out’ a divorce lawyer. (Let me assure everyone it was for research purposes only.) The hero in one of my work-in-progress is a Family Law Attorney. I had questions. Needed to know I was on the right path with his views and ideals. We also talked about what her day is like, how much time she spends in court, and the misconceptions she faces. We talked about the importance of mediation and collaborative law when dealing with “good people at their worst”. As opposed to being a criminal lawyer who deals with “bad people at their best”.
All that in fifteen minutes.
So, if you had the opportunity to ask anyone a few questions which ‘human book’ would you check out? I think I’d like to talk to a member of the Hell’s Angels. Can you even imagine? I’m never gonna be able to shut my brain off now.