I was on my way to the store the other day when I noticed that another one of our local brick and mortar bookstores had closed down. It was all fairly abrupt. I had been in to buy a book and a cup of coffee just a few months ago. I don’t think the chain has gone under yet but this is the second store of theirs in town that has closed down in the last couple of years.
I have a weakness for bookstores. I love to browse through them. I love to smell the smell of printers ink and paper. In recent years the smell of coffee has also been common in book stores.
I also like stationary stores. I love browsing through different types of pens, pencils, and notebooks. I love the rulers and triangles and French curves. Recent additions have included printer paper, printers, ink cartridges, thumb drives, laptops, and other digital accessories. The frustrating thing is that they often don’t have exactly what I want in stock. I have to order that from their web site. But that gives me a chance to realize that I don’t really need it after all.
And then there are libraries. They aren’t as much fun as bookstores and stationary stores are. But they have other draws. First of all, they’re free. They have large collections of books that you can browse through and borrow. They have lots of interesting literary programs. You meet lots of need people there. Some of them have similar interests.
Best of all for me is the Downtown Writers Group. I have learned more about writing from these folks than I ever did from a book on writing. Once or twice a month we get together and share what we’ve written with each other. In turn they express their impressions and ideas on what has been written.
The results are magic. You find out what you are doing wrong that you couldn’t see because you were two close to your own piece to see what is wrong with it. You learn what works and what needs clarifying. You find logical inconsistencies. It is a remarkable time.
The thing that concerns me is that these places may become extinct. As more and more people shop online, small, locally owned shops are disappearing one by one. The internet and computers are powerful tools but they are helping to undermine local book stores and stationary shops. Support them before they are all gone. Buy locally when you can.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.