I am in mourning,
Yesterday, I walked into the remains of a bookstore that has now been turned into a University tee shirt shop. There were only traces of its former self. It has been so long since I have been in a brick and mortar bookstore. I had forgotten what it felt like. Truth be told, there are not that many of them anymore.
The closest thing to a temple for me and my bookish family is a bookstore or a library. The bookmarks, stationary, journals, and as far as the eye can see books on every subject. The smell of coffee in the air, a warm cuppa tea in your hands. Sounds just like heaven to me.
My fondest memories are of working in a local bookstore during my 20s. I loved that we were building some thing together and that everyday was a new adventure. You never knew who was going to come in the front door. We always said that “If we just wrote all this down, we could make a million dollars.”. Of course we didn’t. We were in the moment, relishing just being there and doing what we were doing. What I loved most was helping our patrons find what they needed. I felt like we were a staple in the community. When people needed answers they came to us. We did not tell them the answers but we help them figure it out for themselves.
So much of that has been taken over by the internet. We do not need to pop over to the bookstore to search for information on any given topic? It is at our fingertips. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love, the easy access to information. I think that it is a great equalizer. There has never been a time in history where so many have had access to so much. If I want, I can read and learn about what my ancestors could never conceive.
I think the challenge is to find new ways to connect with one another. Social media is a great tool. There are people and places that I have formed connections to that would never have been possible just a few years ago. But it does not feel the same.
Print media is just a tool of a bygone era like the telegraph or gas lighting. Maybe I am just feeling nostalgic. It is always like this. It is no surprise. I felt the same way about cassette tapes and compact discs. I have really great memories connected with them. But I will form new and meaningful memories with new technology. I just need a little time for my heart to catch up with my head. Close friends remember my skepticism of e-books and now I can not imagine my life without them.
If it is true that we create our own paradise when we go, you will know where to find me. I know my bookstore will be waiting to welcome me with open arms.