I know I’ve used this image before, but I love it. A stack of books reaching high into the sky and mixing into the scenery, weaving stories. I mean, really, for lovers of the written word, what isn’t there to love about it?
The loss of bookstores makes me sad. The lack of a variety of bookstores makes me sad when I used to spend hours and hours and hours combing the shelves, grabbing a stack, sitting in comfy chairs, and flipping through pages, then often taking most of my stack to the cashier, and walking with new worlds and ideas to explore, words to get lost in.
What’s brought on my sudden melancholy for bookstores, my pining for the good old days?
A trip to Barnes and Noble.
A couple of days after Christmas, I went out looking for a journal. I haven’t found ‘the one’ yet, but I will.
I walked in to the two story building and at once, fell madly in love again, and felt my heart break.
Books were my escape growing up. They were my journey into understanding life and ultimately pieces and parts of myself.
I loved browsing in bookstores, going to the book section in any store. My three favorite places to go as a teen were the book store, the music store, and the pizza place. One day I’m going to go on a lament about how much I miss music stores, too.
But in Barnes and Noble the other day, I looked and looked at the journals and notebooks. I picked them up. I touched them. I put them down. I wandered through the coloring books and the bargain books. Then, I wandered upstairs to the fiction section and the children’s books. I didn’t go through them. I simply walked along the perimeter. I know my face showed my longing. I know my eyes spoke of my sadness and my elation. The store was packed. It was busy and it was alive. People were buying books… a lot of books!
The Starbucks was busy, too, but more than that, people were looking and flipping through pages while sipping coffee or cocoa or noshing on a piece of cake.
My son doesn’t have an affinity for reading more than the sports pages.
My daughter doesn’t have an affinity for reading any more, either.
But me? I never grew out of it. It’s a temptation and a love affair I’ll never tire of…
There are 4 or 5 Barnes and Noble stores left in the greater Charlotte area.
There are a couple of Books-A-Million stores, but they never held for the wonder that Barnes and Noble always has. There was something about walking into one and just… Wanting to live there among the stories.
There are used bookstores and libraries. But there’s something about new books with spines never cracked or folded over, with new pages and freshly unpacked, new ink smells.
There are two local bookstores as well that sell new books (neither of which have a romance section at all). But they are loved. They are small, pigeon hole size shops. They serve their communities well. But when I lived in Florida, there was a local bookstore I used to visit all the time. They had a romance section to rival any larger bookstore. I would spend a lot of money and a lot of time sitting on their stools, reading.
I love a discount as much as anyone. I love a good deal on anything. But there’s something about paying full price in a bookstore for a book you’ve been longing for, that you’ve been waiting months, or longer for, that makes my heart ache.
I miss bookstores. I miss Barnes and Noble being everywhere. I miss Borders. I miss Waldenbooks. I miss walking in empty and walking out full of endless possibility.
Something profound has been lost with brick and mortar stores that you can’t replace with online ones. In this business of publishing, we try. And in this world, we love convenience and right now and 1-Click shopping. I love it just as much as the next guy.
Something is missing, though. For me, that something, is wonder.
One of my goals this coming year is to visit Barnes and Noble and the two local shops more often. Much more often. They’re all out of my way. I don’t venture into those parts of town very often. But I am going to make an effort to do so because I miss bookstores.
I can’t say the last two days have gone too much better in regards to my record. I can’t say the record is improving, but I have won some key match-ups in my household and that goes a long way to restoring my confidence. Here’s hoping it won’t be all that short lived…
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Northwestern vs Pittsburgh (I didn’t start out the day well…at all. This was a loss. Sadly.)
Russell Athletic Bowl, Miami (FL) vs West Virginia (I got one!)
Foster Farms Bowl, Indiana vs Utah (And I got another one! Two game streak…)
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, Kansas State vs Texas A&M (I know better than to go against Desmond Howard and Bill Snyder…sighs. Lost this one.)
Birmingham Bowl, USF vs South Carolina (C’mon Man!)
Belk Bowl, Virginia Tech vs Arkansas (This one started out UGLY for V. Tech. but turned out awesome in the end for both of us! Yay! A win for me!)
Valero Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State vs Colorado (Another two game streak for me! And let me just say, as ugly as the Virginia Tech game was in the first half, yet ended well… This game started out ugly for Colorado and just got uglier as the night went on. I felt awful for them… Blowouts are never fun when you have nothing against the team and you’re just looking for a good game.)
Day 12 is going to be either great or not. My Florida State Seminoles play tonight, so… There’s a slight possibility you won’t see a post from me tomorrow, depending on how the game goes. All I can say is…
And hope for a second half that kicks ass! Go! Noles!
I was 6 years old when the first Star Wars movie came out. 6. I have watched Carrie Fisher all my life. 40 years.
At the time, I didn’t know what was so incredible about her or what was going on in the world. As I grew up, other things invaded my consciousness and it wasn’t until later in life did I realize her incredible gifts beyond Star Wars. Laughter. Creativity. Honesty. She was more than an actress. She was more than the gold bikini. She was a voice for those battling internal demons. She was a voice for those who suffer from pain and mental illness. She was a mother. A daughter. A writer. A friend.
And yes, she was and is and always will be Princess Leia.
Her death shocks so many of us and for so many different reasons. I am still processing mine.
She taught us to laugh.
She taught us to give.
She taught us that being real and authentic is better and happier business than tongue biting and political correctness.
She taught us to live life fearlessly, and if we are scared, to live it anyway.
She taught us to love.
She taught us to grow old and embrace it, because there is no alternative.
She taught us to face our weaknesses as well as our strengths, perhaps more so.
She taught us that we do still matter, even if we are addicts, or depressed, or bipolar, or manic.
She taught us we don’t have to sell out for success.
She taught us that we can come back from anything.
She taught us to live unapologetic lives, to live without shame, to live with boldness.
She will be missed by millions, by generations of women and girls who aspire to be seen as more than our gender tells us we can. She will be missed by those who are struggling still to find their own voice amid the noise in their head. She will be missed. Her wit. Her uncompromising wisdom. Her flipped birds. Her dislike of double standards. Her truth.
She was so much more than Princess Leia, but she is a Princess nonetheless. She is also a Warrior who fought for so much. Maybe we can learn one more lesson from her…
“I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.”
Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher. Thank you for the force you became in all our lives.
And… My losing streak has NOT improved. Unless you count continuing to lose a good thing, then by all means…
St. Petersburg Bowl – Miami (Oh) vs Mississippi State (Yay! A win!)
Quick Lane Bowl – Boston College vs Maryland (Yay! Another win… Can it continue? Can I get 3 in a row?)
Camping World Independence Bowl – NC State vs Vanderbilt (No. No it cannot continue and no I didn’t get 3 wins in a row…)
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl – Army vs North Texas (Oh but wait… Here’s a win!)
Military Bowl – Temple vs Wake Forest (And here’s a loss… Followed, by 2 more. So while I can’t seem to put 3 wins together, I can do a very good job at putting 3 losses together. This is hell on my ego. I used to be good at this. No, wrong. I used to be GREAT at this! But man oh man…!)
Holiday Bowl – Washington State vs Minnesota
Cactus Bowl – Baylor vs Boise State
Today is a new day with 4 more bowl games… Let’s see if I can break this awful, awful stance of win followed by multiple losses…
I am still persevering though. I am still pushing through and holding out hope I can turn this thing around!