Wednesday, December 2, 2009

As the Lights Dim to Nothing

A dream in passing. A little world folded down. Boxed. Shipped. Like a Lego scene built and deconstructed and built again. Only this time smaller, growing up strangely amidst my own home, two worlds superimposed, one over the other. I keep thinking of origami - a page folded into a large paper crane, and then folded into a box, and when unfolded and there again is the crane... only not quite. A little smaller, a little more wrinkled. A dove, perhaps, with grimy wings.

And in that space where once a world flourished (a book world) there is an echo. The room seems larger and all the more paltry for that largeness. The carpet, unadorned by shelves, looks more frayed, shabbier, a suddenly bereft parent after the children have left. Why keep up appearances any longer?

It looks a little dirty. The walls, so long covered, are really quite ugly. The light through the windows seems a little flat, uninteresting, or perhaps merely uninterested. Colour has been stripped away, and the dazzle of light lives only in reflection, in the deflected vividness of blues and greens and reds and the deep deep browns of wooden shelves. Bits of tape on the window, where SALE! signs have been stripped hastily away. A few screws on the ground, here and there, bits of powdered drywall clinging to the threads. A little forlorn... they hold nothing now, and all is air and space and ceaseless echo.

The front step, broken and repaired by The City of Windsor, is broken again. It took a day. Craftsmanship like this is lauded only in the Land of Broken Things, where everything costs a dollar. An empty rectangle. I have boxed up the memories, too, and carted them away. Already the rectangle has forgotten everything, everything but a few words, the tattered corners of pages that have torn away (the books having already emmmigrated) and now flutter in the breeze from the door. Collect them all together and perhaps there's a meaning... a puzzle to be deciphered. A mouse, perhaps, late at night, will discover the wisdom, will hoard it away with cheese and lint and dabs of butter stolen from local restaurants.

And beyond that door, beyond that breeze, there is a new world, or a world made new by opportunity and necessity. Only a moment to look back at the sign, white lettering on black background. The font is Book Antiqua. of course. And the sign... a name. A name chosen for a beginning, for a mother who started me reading with the literary gift of an Oxford Professor, for one beginning that led to another, to an inkling of an idea, an idea of a place filled with books.

Inklings Bookshop.

I'll leave it there, the sign, a last memory for the street to cling to even as the lettering fades. It was, too briefly, a symbol, an arrow, a guide. But time will wash over it, surely. It will fade to the relevance of graffiti, detritus cast up by the old paved sea of Windsor. Until someone paints over it, hangs out a new shingle bright with hope.

Inklings Bookshop.

An arrow that now points only to a place inside my head, adorned with sights and smells and rich with the texture of pages. A place where the shelves are endless and stretch on through the slanted light. Motes of dust in the air, aglow in that light and floating, floating, floating...


Deb Salisbury said...

That was beautiful. Terribly sad, but quite lyrical. Hugs.

Word verification: wormende. Does that mean the dragon has died? It seems appropriate, somehow.

Matilda McCloud said...

I grew up in my mother's bookstore (a beautiful store that exists only in my memory). I'm sorry to hear about your store. I get very sad whenever I hear about a bookstore closing. I think people forget that bookstores are much more than just places to buy books.

L. T. Host said...

Aw, Ink, I'm gonna cry... *sniff*.

Hugs... perhaps there will be another bookstore someday.

jbchicoine said...



I feel bereft.

Susan Quinn said...


Goodbye, Inklings.

Ink said...

Thanks, all. I will say I have a really kickass home library now. There are worse things in the world. :)

Donna Hole said...

I'm crying for you, and your beautiful dream and poetry of loss.

Maybe I really don't want that Kindle, if this is the result.

Excuse me, I need a tissue.


Renee said...

To quote George Ade--a quote you've seen before if you remember but I doubt it--no use spending time regretting an experience that's rapidly sliding into the past tense!

You've got a new future coming soon. Bask in the wonder of that, and go forward to kill some dragons! Just not old ones...:)

Ms Kitty said...

All that's left is the gorgeous prose on a blog. (Sigh) This economy really sucks - so sorry you couldn't keep going.

Mira said...

You broke my heart with this, Bryan.

I'm so sorry.

Virtual hugs.

Even better, virtual chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate.

And a virtual roaring fire, lots of virtual cozy couches, and a whole bunch of virtual friends who are all in your corner.

We're still here. And so is your wonderful writing talent, as you proved by writing such a beautiful tribute.

I am sorry for your loss.

QuiteLight said...

Beautiful. I am always stunned by the lyricism of your writing. Yet, your content is always very real, almost raw. It's never diluted by your words, only polished.

This was a lovely memorial to Inklings. But it really didn't feel like an end... it's the space between trapeze bars, and you'd already let go...

Ink said...

Thank you... and I love that trapeze line.