Images: (1) Illustrated envelope, ca. 1861–1865. The lines are from Oliver Wendell Holmes’s 1861 poem “A Voice from the Loyal North.” Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. Used with permission. (2) Currier & Ives, The Tree of Temperance (New York, 1872). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. Used with permission. (3) Nathaniel Currier, The Tree of Death—The Sinner (New York, 1850). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. Used with
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich happened to be on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 following a call from United Steelworkers 1999 union head Chuck Jones responding to a tweet President-elect Donald Trump sent out moments after Jones was interviewed on Erin Burnett’s show.
Minutes after Jones called Trump out on his false promises about keeping Carrier jobs in the U.S. the president-elect punched down at the union leader, tweeting, ”Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”
Saying he knew Trump was watching, a furious Reich addressed the president directly.
‘Let me just say with all due respect, Mr. Trump,” Reich exclaimed. “You are president elect of the United States. You are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned and vindictive. Stop this. This is not a fire side chat. this is not what F.D.R. did. This isn’t lifting people up.”
Reich went on to hammer Trump for attacking Boeing and bullying, before adding, “You are going to be president very shortly. You are going to have at your command not just Twitter but also the CIA, the IRA, the FBI. If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictiveness attitude towards anyone who criticizes you, we are in very deep trouble.”
I was on my way home from the dentist with my car’s gas tank on empty (it’s been that kind of week) and had just made it to the gas station. It was close.
As I’m getting ready to leave, a young girl on the opposite side crosses to me and says:
“Excuse me, but that symbol on your car - is that from Mistborn?”
She said she loves that book, has only read Mistborn and TWoK, and can’t wait to read more, once school settles down. She listens to the books, and so didn’t recognize Bridge Four, but she knew Pattern. And she knew the symbol for steel because that’s her favorite one.
She wants to get her own decals. I directed her to Brandon’s store and told her to do it, so that we Cosmere fans can recognize one another.
Down here, it sometimes feels like the only people who have read Brandon’s books are in my house. A few friends, and some of my kids’ friends, too. But that was the first time someone has recognized the symbols on my car - or at least the first time they’ve said something about it.
This little interaction with a stranger, and the mutual glurging over books, made my day. If I ever notice anyone else displaying their love for the Cosmere, I promise I will speak up. I will talk to them.
Don’t ever be too shy to talk about books with strangers.