Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
—Herman Melville

A friend of mine posted the above quote on facebook the at the beginning of November, and boy do I identify. For me, November started early this year—I’ve been holding November in my soul for weeks. The state of the world on multiple fronts has me tempted to knock people’s hats off. And I’m not even speaking metaphorically.

That means that it’s high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

Of course, I’m not actually heading off to sea. I’m not going on a cruise or even driving to Cape Cod. No, I’m afraid that the best way for me to get to sea is to go on a voyage in my mind.

Is there anything that soothes the soul better than a good book? I’m talking about books that tackle complex ideas, books that present lovable characters, the kind of book that lets you know that you’re not alone in the world.

When things seem dark, it’s tempting to think that our writing doesn’t matter. But there are few things that matter more. In this whole world, that sense of connection, of one person reaching out with their thoughts and feelings, is the thing that makes us feel most alive and most human. Our stories matter. They matter to others, and they matter to us.

So let us get to sea on a boat made of words.