We all know about the hugely popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books--different themed compilations of inspirational true stories, usually by and about ordinary people's lives. With well over 250 titles and 100 million books sold in the U.S. and Canada, translations into 40 languages and an ambitious schedule of publishing a new title each month, you might figure they'd run out of things to say?
Not so. The latest Chicken Soup book is perfect for the time we're in right now, examining issues of self-care and balance during a year that has been stressful for everyone. "Making Me Time" is a gathering of 101 stories, a 'cure for what ails you', according to Chicken Soup for the Soul editor-in-chief Amy Newmark.
"If there's anything we've learned during this pandemic, it's that life is unpredictable and nothing is guaranteed. You've got to live it with joy, and spend as much time as possible with your favourite people while you can," said Newmark in the introduction to "Making Me Time". "Self-care, work/life balance, pursuing your passions, de-cluttering your home and your calendar, and treating yourself as well as you would treat a guest are all covered in these pages."
One contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Making Me Time is Calgary grandmother, quilt-designer and author Kim Hanson. A regular blogger, Hanson's story "Somewhere In-Between" is a first of its type for the writer, but it's a piece she said wasn't difficult to write.
"I used to be a paralegal, and way back I also wrote for my junior high school anthology," said 65-year-old Hanson, whose work appears on her website kimhanson.ca. "
In her essay, Hanson recounts seeking out some alone time at the lake, when life pulled her in different directions. A husband spending more time at home and an elderly dad with critical health issues led to a growing need for 'privacy', she writes in the book.
"You'd think life would be slower now that my kids are grown and we've all been sidelined by the pandemic," she said. "My husband is my best friend. But I do want to steer my own ship, satisfy my own emotional needs, and live a life that feels balanced."