Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Little Enlightenment and a New Bookshop - Hallelujah!

(Channeling Estelle Getty) Picture it. It's earlier today. I'm sitting at The Vault, drinking a half-caf Americano, eating a delicious, fluffy spinach & feta quiche, and reading Natalie Goldberg's Long Quiet Highway -- all at the same time. Across the table, another book lies waiting -- but that's another story.

On the other hand, maybe I should tell you about that first.

I've been reading on Facebook and Twitter (courtesy of poet Kim Goldberg - no relation to Natalie!) that there's a new indy bookshop here in Nanaimo, and today (Saturday) is my day to check it out, because I don't have to be at work until one o'clock. Off I go to Heritage Mews, where I find Back Page Books nestled neatly into the mews, almost directly across from Mad About Ewe, the world's greatest yarn shop. Ignoring the siren call of the Ewe, I walk into the bookshop, where another kind of temptation (or six) awaits me. Before I even have a chance to check out the books, I see a huge tray of goodies sitting on a coffee table. There are cookies, carrot cake, brownies -- oh, all sorts of temptations. I ignore them, too (although I'm saying to myself Hmmmm. This seems to be my kind of shop!) and I proceed to look around at the books. There is a children's section right at the front of the shop. I regret having bought my grandchildren's Christmas books at Chapters before I heard about Back Page. I note the selection anyway, for future reference. Then I spot Poetry and head straight for it. A gently-read copy of Pablo Neruda's Residence on Earth (bilingual) catches my eye. I take it from the shelf and retire to one of several easy chairs scattered around the room, (The whole shop is only about a room and a half big) where I sit and read a poem before I finish my inspection of the books. There is a Fiction section, and Cookbooks, and I forget what else, but I've got my Neruda book , so I take it to the till, where I introduce myself to Richard, the proprietor, and let him know that he's being talked about in cyberspace. He is delighted to hear it.

After running a couple of errands, I fetch up at The Vault, where I order my coffee and quiche, sit down, and try to do four things at once. About halfway through my coffee, a third of the way through the quiche, I hear a voice (mine) in my head. It says:

You know, you don't have to do everything at once.

Shazam! It's like a bolt of lightning. No wonder I'm stressed out. I'm trying to live Sandra's Life: The Oxford Compact Version -- everything compressed into a space never meant to contain so much -- impossible to lift, much less read, but very, very full. I put my pen down, shove Natalie Goldberg to the other side of the table, turn away from Pablo Neruda, and concentrate on my quiche. It's good. So is the coffee, which I drink afterward. Then it's time to go to work, so I pack everything up and proceed to spend the next few hours in frantic activity.

Here I am now. It's nine o'clock in the evening. I'm listening to Mendelssohn and writing this post for the second time, because Blogger ate my first attempt. Somehow I worked on it for nearly an hour, and all I had to show for it was a single letter (s) on the page. I think it stood for the "s" word. If it didn't, it should have. I have to get up at 4:45 AM, so I guess I had better be going to sleep soon. Tomorrow I'll copy one of the Neruda poems into my sidebar. Meanwhile, I've had a great day. Now, if only that Aha! moment I had this afternoon would stick around. Sometimes I feel like the Tasmanian Devil from the old Looney Tunes cartoons.


Barry said...

Too bad the new bookstore is only, oh, 3000 miles or so from here. It sounds like a great place to visit.

Karen said...

I had to laugh at your Oxford Compact Version because when I read your posts, I always think, "This is how I should be living!" Don't slow down, I'm living vicariously!

Debbie said...

That shop sounds so perfect! I wish him success.

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