24 October, 2005

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.

12 Comments:

At 8:02 AM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Michael said...

And sometimes it's that we're lookin for an out of print book at an affordable price....:)

 
At 9:12 AM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Aunt B said...

I read your last line as "It's not as glamourous as Kay West but it's still a nice little dream," and I was like "How strange that Kat would be jealous of the food critic for the Scene."

Anyway, I think you'd be an awesome bookstore owner. But you should have a coffee shop in there, too, so that when people want to sit around and talk about books with you, they have a place to go.

 
At 9:50 AM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Aunt Lydia said...

I'll shop there as long as there is a good non-fiction section.

 
At 9:54 AM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Aunt Lydia said...

And soy milk at the coffee shop.

 
At 10:49 AM, October 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to get an early start, I have some books I can sell you. It breaks my heart a little bit to part with them, but I'm running out of space in the library.

They're in really good shape. Low mileage and I only read them on Sundays....

W

 
At 12:05 PM, October 24, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

What about a used bookstore IN Key West, or Kay West for that matter.

 
At 12:13 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Patrick said...

You need to head to the great state of Texas and peruse any of the Half Price Books chain... especially their flagship store on East Northwest Highway (which, counterintuitively, is not on the south side of town. :)

 
At 12:21 PM, October 24, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

I wonder if Kay West would like it if reviewers of the book store inside of her brought ten friends including a few children?

 
At 12:45 PM, October 24, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

You know, that always cracks me up about her reviews. She'll talk about the service in a place and then admit that they had a ginormuos party of picky people.

I used to work with a woman who knew her well and disliked her greatly. Don't know why. Just know that she was always riled whenever anyone mentioned Kay West.

I don't know her myself, and therefore am not at all jealous. That being said, I don't know if I'd locate my bookstore inside her. It would get everything all sticky.

 
At 7:36 AM, October 25, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Yeah, that is my pet peeve with her reviews as well. When you are at a restaurant and the hostess calls out "Kay West, party of 35, your table is ready.", you just know that the level of service is going to be different than for say, two people.

 
At 8:38 AM, October 25, 2005, Anonymous tom said...

I would imagine that your bookstore would be very reminiscent of Ollivanders.

 
At 9:11 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

so, Tom, are you saying that it would just creep people out? Cause Ollivander's with that leering John Hurt just is oogie.

 

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