23 Jun

In 1982, I went to Denmark as a Rotary exchange student. I knew I was to have three host families before I left. I hadn’t expected though, how much I would love them.

In fact, I loved my first family so much that I wished I didn’t have to move to the second. When the unthinkable happened just before the move – my second host dad was shot in a serious hunting accident – I thought it was my fault. I knew  it wasn’t, but I couldn’t help feel that I was a jinx.

The good news is that he recovered fully and I came to love that family even more than the first. But the feeling of being a jinx has never really gone away.

I was supposed to leave for Chicago on Thursday. I was supposed to attend the ALA Annual Conference and meet the members of YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults committee, of which I am the chair. Even though I know that I am not the cause if the conference’s cancellation and transformation into a virtual conference, once more, I feel like a jinx.

Even though I know it was COVID-19’s fault, there is a wacky part of my brain that believes I caused it because of a journal I purchased.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was revisiting bookbinding. In my pursuit, I thought I’d search Etsy for a nice handmade journal for my niece’s graduation from the University of Ottawa. I found a lovely maker who had some with maps on the cover.

You know how shopping sometimes goes – you find the perfect gift for your loved one, and a little something for yourself. Well, I found a journal with  Portland boards which I knew my niece would love.


And then I saw one with Chicago covers. I had recently started a journal to keep track of my work as committee chair and knew this would help me do a better job. I purchased both. And that is when I jinxed the conference, although I didn’t know that for several more weeks, when the announcement came.


Our committee met this week using Zoom. Our discussions were fruitful and have moved our work forward. But I can’t help wondering what’s going to happen in January, when we are supposed to meet, face-to-face in Indianapolis to select our winner at the ALA Midwinter meeting. There’s been a lot of what if thinking going on in my head these days as I navigate the ongoing COVID crisis, wondering what school will look like in the Fall, when this will all end. Maybe you have experienced this, too.  The only thing I know for sure is that I will not buy an Indianapolis journal, no matter how beautiful it might be.





4 Responses to “Jinx”

  1. mschiubookawrites June 23, 2020 at 9:33 am #

    Growing up with a very superstitious family, I totally understand this feeling! I like how you connected the different stories and timelines with this theme. And you even have a plan for the future- resist buying the journal! In all seriousness, best wishes as we navigate so many uncertainties.

  2. Elisabeth Ellington June 23, 2020 at 11:49 am #

    Great final line! I am glad your Zoom meeting was productive, and how exciting to be on that committee! I know for myself, even with the inconvenience and expense of travel, I prefer to do my conferencing in person. It’s too easy to get distracted at home and end up being unproductive and not learning as much as I otherwise would. Those journals are gorgeous!

  3. arjeha June 23, 2020 at 2:16 pm #

    It is amazing how our brains can connect events that have no bearing on each other. Please don’t deny yourself a new journal if you see one. Just make note of where you saw it and purchase it after the fact. 🙂

  4. Lisa Corbett June 23, 2020 at 7:13 pm #

    Beautiful journals! I can relate to your feelings here. I often worry about doing things too soon because I’m sure as soon as I buy a ticket or make a plan something will come up to interrupt. I’ll cross my fingers Indianapolis will happen!

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