On Being A Happy Idiot
It's Monday morning. Chances are you are up and going to a job. If you are, it's highly likely that most of your job consists of what Neal Stephenson calls "making license plates"--i.e. the boring stuff you have to do to earn enough money to live. Most people have a dream that keeps them going. Some are grandiose, like buying a boat to sail around the world or owning a bar in Key West. Some are the more mundane necessities of keeping a house, buying braces for your kid or eating more than peanut butter and government cheese. (For the record, I love government cheese. Why can't we buy the stuff on the open market?)
I think I have the most masochistic long-range goal ever imaginable, at least for a writer. I want to own a used book store. Sure, nothing enforces your perspective better than staring at the wrinkled and dusty yellow corpses of other people's work. The upside is seeing the life of a book continue. Not every book is To Kill A Mockingbird. They don't all have treasured places in someone's heart. But most books can be a goood way to spend an afternoon or a plane ride and giving someone something to take their mind off their own license-plate making is no bad thing.
People come to used book stores because they want a book. Sometimes they want to take a chance on a new author without paying full price. Sometimes they want to catch up on all the stuff they've missed. I want to be the person who putters around among the old words and is there to give them a second chance. It's not as glamourous as Key West but it's still a ncie little dream.