Not all readers write, but all writers read.
Today’s assignment in Blogging 101 is to Say Hello To The Neighbours – follow 5 new topics in The Reader and 5 new blogs. Sounds easy, right? Sounds fun too, yes? Sounds like a natural thing to do since everyone who blogs is a writer of some sort or another and therefore if my equation of the writing / reading world is correct, heading into The Reader in WordPress is a given. Ha! Not for me – I’m a fraidy cat when it comes to The Reader.
I like perusing books in all sorts of places, online and in the physical world. The large chain store in my local mall. The book section of music stores. A gazillion websites. Other people’s coffee tables, night stands, and bathrooms. The overflowing shelves in thrift stores. At libraries. In milk crates at garage sales. Under my bed, on my desk, and in the bedrooms of my own kids. Just yesterday while at an Urban Outfitters store in Toronto, I bought one book, jotted down the names of two others I would like to read, and got several Christmas present ideas for loved ones (the big day is only 169 days away you know).
But my favourite place to find my next best read is any independent bookstore, carrying new, used, or a combination of both book offerings. It’s the place I go feeling ready to brave the world, save the world, change the world, become a part of the world, and find my own place in the world. It’s where I find comfort, solace, inspiration, and more things to dust. It’s my “go-to” place when I need a gift for someone. I have experienced life altering, “ah-ha” moments in these places. I want to experience more.
I have to enter such an establishment with caution though. I can stay there for hours and hours and hours. My kids will join me browsing the aisles of a local bookstore, they are all readers too, so it can be a family affair. However, if they aren’t “in the mood”, they know to leave mom alone and carry on down the street to shop elsewhere for a bit. Usually, they finish their other browsing before I am anywhere near done mine and end up coming back to me rather than me having to text one of them to find out where they are.
That’s exactly what happened the last time I was brave enough to allow the grace of a never-been-in-before local bookstore encapture me. It was almost two months ago now, when we were on a family trip to Cleveland. I left there with one of the best buys I have made in a bookstore, ever. A limited edition of a wood art stencil produced only for Independent Bookstore Day. First, it took my breath away. Then, it breathed life into me. The look, the feel, the quote, and especially because of whom the quote is attributed to: Margaret Atwood, a fellow Canadian and highly admired author. Although I haven’t found the “perfect” spot to hang it just yet, I do look at it daily whenever I’m on my ‘puter to write. It’s part of my routine now.
The Reader has now become my virtual independent bookstore. All of the things I wrote above about being in a local bookstore apply to The Reader too. The cool thing about it though is I can enter (or not enter it) anytime I choose. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t need Google Maps to find it. I can be at my desk, in my car, half asleep in bed, or in the woods. It replenishes stock not just daily, but by the second, millisecond, or whatever the teeniest, tiniest word there is for a measurement of time.
I take immense pleasure in entering The Reader. It also scares the heck out of me. I have already experienced being late to pick up a child, “forgetting” to do laundry, and the image of 4:10 am on my clock because of hitting the tab at the top of my blog that says “Reader”. It wasn’t time wasted, don’t get me wrong. I saw lots of interesting, inspiring, and thought-provoking words when I was there. Even got a few laughs out of the visits. But now I know I have to set the alarm clock when I go into The Reader. Simple as that. Self-will, self-constraint, dedication, and a timer on my phone. Those need to be in place first. Then, I can get comfy, fill my coffee cup, and scroll and “open link in new tab” to my heart’s content. Well maybe not fully, but at least for a sliver of my day.
Given my “to do” list for today, I can’t go into The Reader right now so I won’t be able to complete today’s Blogging 101 assignment. Not yet. But I am already looking forward to the tail-end of this set of 24 hours of life I have been given to live when I might be able to get my fix and hit the tab. And be a “good” student. More to come on the outcome of my assignment and my brave journey into your blogs. Maybe I’ll see you later tonight and we’ll have coffee together. It’s on me by the way.
Image source: my creation in Canva using a caution sign attributed to Wiki user RTCNCA, licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.