Friday, October 26, 2007


No-snark Friday

I started writing a snarky post about how this irritated me today, and how that grated on my nerves, then re-read it and deleted it. The plain truth is that when business is slow I get irritated with most everything, but I always forget why when I'm in the middle of a dry spell. So instead of complaining, let me tell you instead about yesterday evening. Ryan picked me up early and we headed home. I didn't mind closing the shop an hour early, considering I hadn't sold a book all day (it happens). So, home. Before going to the house, though, we drove down to the water and went for a walk in the nearby state park. Beautiful evening - clear, no wind, and an immense white-gold moon was coming up. The tide was further out here than we'd ever seen it before, so we walked down to the beach below the bluff that the lighthouse sits on, and beach-picked for sea glass and china while watching and listening to flocks of wild ducks heading out to sea. I saw maroon-purple and gray-blue and pink starfish, and Ryan found a still-breathing silver fish beached at the edge of the water, a herring or small mackerel. We put the fish back in and waited to see him swim away again, free. I could hear seals surfacing and breathing, though I couldn't see them. No one else in the park, we had the place completely to ourselves. Drove back to our house just after sunset. A beautiful, unexpected gift, a time like that. Worries about poor sales dwindle to nothing in the face of such an evening, and are replaced by my other usual feelings of gratitude and contentment at being able to live where I do and being able to work in my chosen profession.

This reminds me of one afternoon a few months after I first opened the shop - I sold a book online to a woman in California, and she emailed me and said, "A bookshop in Maine, you lucky woman..." She was a software engineer in Silicon Valley, and she said she hated it but the money kept her chained there. She wanted a bookshop in Maine, too. I replied if I can do it, god surely knows you could. It's just a question of keeping your chin up, adjusting your expectations, and deciding that you can make things work out, no matter what. I think about that woman a lot, and wonder if she ever got her bookshop. I hope so.

Yep. I would totally do a one-week-long life swap with you (I work at a tech startup in Illinois. Not Chicago. Ahem.)

So... what do you know about matching hardcover sets of all of E. M. Forster's novels?
I found your posting interesting given that I had just heard of a minister in Kansas City that has started a "No Complaining" campaign! So you refraining from being snarky fit into the apparent theme of the day!

But having had more than my share of folks call to ask for a copy of a recent pulp title or Oprah's latest pick, or having people walk in, walk around a bit, and then as they leave say to their friends "All they have is used stuff." in a nasty tone,... Well, sometimes it is a real accomplishment to not be at least a bit snarky!!

Only a week? Maine's terrific, you should plan to stay longer than that...

I've never seen a set of Forster - lots of reprints and Modern Library editions and the like, though. Thinking about it, I'm surprised that Oxford or Cambridge or New Directions or somebody hasn't done one. Perhaps someone has and I just haven't seen it.

Wayne, I don't like catastrophizing in other people, so regarding my own sweet self I try to stamp on those mean little thoughts before they multiply... Whether or not I am successful at this remains to be seen. Despite meditation and long walks in the woods, I do still have uncharitable thoughts, often, I just don't voice them. As much. As I could. Working on that part of it.

Yes, the comments from customers. I could write a book. Oh yeah, I have.

Caveat re sweetness and light: you are so allowed to snark right back if someone gives you a hard time or is rude to you in your own shop. Jonathan over at The Bedside Crow has had quite a time with this lately. The things people think it's somehow fine to say to the person behind the counter - boggles the mind sometimes...
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