Friday, August 28, 2009

The Anecdotal Life of a Bookshop: Rain, Rain...

The faded, grey light of a rainy day offers soft illumination. A little hazy. The rain comes down. The rain stops. Droplets fall from fences, from rain-darkened branches. Drip, and drip, and drip.

The streets are quiet, becalmed. Huddled might be the word, if a street can huddle. Even after the rain stops the street is quiet, as if people do not yet trust the sky. No, no, the sun has been proven false too many times with its claims and promises.

An open door, a breeze. The coolness of wet-washed air.

A bird flies in. What did it sense, or want? A dry place, a bit of food? Has the shop been mistaken for an oddly shaped tree, a dusty and geometric nest?

It's small. A white belly, mottled brown wings. It panics. Walls and books (the rectangular ghosts of trees) seem strange to it, fearful. It hits a light, flies around. I can hear its wings in the silence. When else do you hear the wings of birds? Outside the sound is lost, dispersed to the sky, to the grass and trees. But here in the silence of a bookshop on a rainy day I hear the flap of wings.

The bird mistakes windows for sky, banging into them. Frustrated and confused, and now probably hurting (though the pain must be subsumed beneath the fear), the bird batters the glass, railing against the sense of a grand cage closing around it.

The bird flutters around the base of the window, as if expecting the transparent wall to vanish. Its mouth is open... perhaps it gasps for breath.

I have to herd the small bird, and without hurting it. I scare it, of course, but that can't be helped. From below, looking up, help and opportunity are like the tip of a giant umbrella poking and prodding one along.

Finally the bird is by the door. A final prod and it flies out into the damp air. Perhaps it dodges the drops of water, the drip and drip and drip, or perhaps not. Perhaps the touch of free water is to be embraced.

It is good, of course, to have at least one customer, fragile though they may be.



Post script: Picture, By Request... (a little blurry, I admit)

15 comments:

jbchicoine said...

I know I sound like a broken record, but gosh I love your writing. Probably it would be more appropriate to say, 'Gosh, I love hanging around your book store...'

L. T. Host said...

Perhaps he wanted to buy a copy of THE MOCKINGBIRD? Or THE SCARLET IBIS? Or THE BIRDS?

Ok, all joking aside--- nicely done :) I was totally there. And now I wish I was.

Ink said...

L.T.,

Well, I wish you were here, too... because then I would have had two customers. :)

(For the record, I've actually had a few. Not many, but a few)

Ink said...

Bridget,

Thanks! Always nice to hear. And it's a good little shop, even on rainy days.

jbchicoine said...

Ever think of posting a picture of it? (Perhaps you have and I just haven't come across it.)

Ink said...

I haven't...

I have pictures of my old shop (I moved in the Srping), but not the new one. At least not digital and downloadable pictures, since my digital camera is shot.

Hmmm... there is one in a Windsor business promotion online... Maybe I can steal it...

Ink said...

Okay, gonna try to put a picture up...

jbchicoine said...

Nice shelving--cool typewriter...

Deb Salisbury said...

I love the photo. As always, your writing is brilliant.

I am ever so envious that you have rain. Texas is deep in drought.

Ink said...

That's even me in the picture! Which is amazing, because I'm like the Yeti - hard to capture on film. I hang with Nessie, too. She's down with me.

And the typewriter is a nice antique, an old 1920 Royal. It's got little windows in the sides so you can see the inner workings. It also weighs like 50 pounds. Do not drop it on your toe.

Laura Martone said...

I'm with Bridget. I love popping into your bookstore, Bryan. And it's so cool seeing a picture finally!

By the way, knowing how much you love awards, I wanted to tell you that, for being such an awesome commenter on my and other folks' blogs, I decided to honor you with the "You Don't Say? Super Comments Award"! Thanks for making such meaningful contributions to my fledgling blog. Come pick up the award when you get a chance!

Man, I really wish I was planning a trip down to Windsor soon. I would love to meet you for real! But would the "true" Ink measure up to the online version... hmmm, I wonder.

Ink said...

Laura,

I'm less blurry in person. And there are less typos, too. :)

And thanks for the award!

Ink said...

And I should say, too, that it looks like I'm closing the shop at the end of October... but over the course of September and October I'm going to have incredible clearance sales! Everything for a dollar in September, and a bag sale in October... Can't beat that. So, if have a penchance for books...

Deb Salisbury said...

You're closing the shop? Oh, no! That's so sad. Darn this economy!!!!!!

Ink said...

Thanks, Deb.

It's been coming for awhile, so not a shock or anything. When I moved the store in the Spring it was to give it one more shot for six months... a last chance, and also time to prepare to close properly instead of in a rush. I'll miss it greatly, in terms of the shop, but I won't miss the financial struggle, and I'm looking forward to some new challenges. You know, getting a job, getting an agent...

:)