Friday, January 2, 2015

Change is in the air

I haven't blogged in ages. 2014 was crazy and it's over...praise Jesus (and I don't mean or take that lightly)!

Change 1:

I have a website! 

Change 2:

I may be blogging over there more often. However, for now I'll keep the old stuff alive and well here.

Change 3:

Change 4: 

Farewell for now!

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.
~Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When you tell me my Baby is ugly

As a bookshop owner you can imagine the daily ‘agitation’ of questions and comments I am made party to. I can’t say I like all of them, nor can I say I necessarily want to hit people with the hate stick. You adapt a certain level of what I like to call “Tour Guide Barbie Smile” when working with the public. I knew it with my previous job and I most assuredly am well versed in it with my current position as owner of a bookshop.

I don’t often allow such honesty about the inner workings of the business to see the light of day as my friends are customers and customers have become my friends. You see the trickiness involved? It may be you I’m complaining about (insert wink). However, while listening to my favorite podcast in the shower this morning (What? I have to make good use of my time!) I was enlightened, or what have you, about an experience that could form a blog post before my very eyes! I haven’t written in ages, but I’m always hungry for the words to see the light of day on here. Here follows my line of thought, which I owe in part to the Book Riot Podcast . . . so thank you.

I found myself in the aisles of a chain bookstore this past weekend and felt two things tugging at my heart strings. People swarmed the bookstore in a dizzying fashion and I wanted to be the crabby bibliophile in the corner shouting, “Oi! Clear out, I need some peace and quiet while I commune with these tomes of greatness.” I’m picturing the, according to, ‘Ancient Booer’ from The Princess Bride. Not a pretty picture, eh? A sense of great triumphant accompanied that thought as well. BOOKS! REAL BOOKS ARE NOT DEAD!?! Bookstores, low and behold, still hold an importance in a person’s life, not that I didn't know this already. Reality hit again, though, when the sight before me made me wish our shop was half as busy.

It could be customers, friends, family, you name it; I have heard the sad prophecy/proclamation many a time that the creature that is the bookstore is a dying breed. “Aren't you worried that bookstores are on the out?” “Soooo, you are doing well, I mean bookstores aren't you know…erm…well the place to get your books anymore; what with eBooks and Amazon.” It will never cease to amaze me people’s ability to open mouth and insert foot. Now this isn't to say the people who are heart felt about their concern are to be silenced. No. I’m talking about the gossipy, proud to where their negativity badge, pointing out the “obvious” people. Do they imagine this is a thought a bookshop owner wants to hear?

On the same coin, there is this beast known as Amazon. I am a card carrying member (not really, but wouldn't be cool if we had cards?) of Amazon Prime. The reasons are numerous and I find it important to be open about this fact so as not to seem a hypocrite. Amazon is not my go to for everything I need or buy. Yesterday I bought yarn from them that I had to have in order to finish a project. It was not my first choice, but as my luck would have it, my only choice as the yarn is no longer made. I didn't even get the Prime shipping because it was a seller rather than an Amazon distributed product. Where am I going with this?

How can customers possibly be persuaded to believe I want to hear the ominous, curse like words, “I’ll just buy it on Amazon”? And yet we continue to hear this response from the book browsers. If my baby was ugly, do you think I would desire you tell me in so many words? NO! Amazon has its place and purpose, even in my life, but by no means do I want to know by your own admittance you will be shopping there instead. You know what Amazon doesn't have that Pete & Freddy’s has in spades? Passion. Drunk, palpable, yet immeasurable passion for the written word. The books, for the time being, are our children. When we sell them to customers, we are trusting they will be loved just as much, if not more, in your hands as they have been while in their spot of honor on our shelves. If you make the decision to tell us and then to move forward with that decision to shop vocally not LOCALLY, you are hurting an economy that is finding an increasingly difficult existence in today’s world, your local small businesses.

I am by no means trying to shame you into being an anti-Amazon shopper or to even turn you off from my shop. Monopolies are bad for a reason, too many to go into here and now. When you support your local businesses you are supporting someone’s dream or hope for the future. A passion you may not find anywhere else or may only find in similar realms, a world of hard and ever loving work. So when you tell us you are going to shop at Amazon instead of our shop, great go have fun with that, but please keep it to yourself. My baby is a beautiful bit of genius that I know others love and cherish as much as I do. They don’t like it any more than I do when you tell us it is “ugly”.
Give the best gift you can possibly give a shop owner this Thanksgiving and Christmas season . . .



Keep things simple and sweet . . . don’t air your “dirty” laundry to us. (insert wink and side hug)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Remembering to THINK

"Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors."
-Andrew Boyd
I know beyond any shadow of a doubt I am guilty of not practicing the 'Think' adage. I know you've seen it and I know you quite possibly have been on the receiving end of a parent, adult, or someone 'kindly' reminding you:

It is a very simple concept and perhaps this is why we refuse to apply it in our day to day lives. Humans are ever want to make things complicated. (insert smile) However, that’s where I cut you slack, the end of the line so to speak. I am trying to calmly remind myself people are ignorant and refuse to hold compassion for the world around them. I try my hardest to not sit in judgment of people’s actions. In any given situation I have no idea how I would react or what lengths I would go to relieve myself of the shackles of my burdens. I won’t know until I am there and Lord willing I may never have to know. This means I shouldn’t, we shouldn’t, cast our eyes upon them and call them foul or whatever form of rebuke you find handy. You are not the expert on anyone’s life. Until your life is perfect, bluntly, shut the hell up.

The past two months it would seem death is on parade in my world. It would seem that with this week being National Suicide Prevention Week, suicide is even more prevalent or at the forefront of many conversations. Locally a young man ended his life earlier this week. The book I finished yesterday battled with the concept of assisted suicide. Then today I am party to the ignorant comments of would be ‘wealth of knowledge’ experts on why people resign themselves to ending their lives, why people are depressed, or why self-injury exists.

“She cuts her arms because she is depressed——” meanwhile the adults remain oblivious to the ‘cheerful’ chatter going on. “Well I think suicide is definitely the better answer if you are depressed.”

“Depression, cutting, suicide, you name it…people are self-seeking attention grabbers.”

“Parents need to teach their kids to not take everything so seriously.” (in regards to the young man’s suicide)

First off, if you are the person(s) who said these things and you are reading this, perhaps you are getting mad. Well as someone reminded me with a pin on Pinterest yesterday: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” Exactly! We should all be immensely happy I’m not writing what my actual response to these comments was, as they were quite colorful.

I am struggling to remain calm and collected while writing this post. My friend Joy calls me Momma Maddie and let me tell you, right now Momma Maddie is ready to seek vengeance!

I do not wish my struggles on my worst enemy. I have to remind myself of that statement again and again when I am hurt or frustrated by the lack of compassion or understanding people have for each other’s predicaments and journeys. If you have to suffer through it to understand it, then I will deal with you not understanding.

You will never know the immense despair someone must live with day in and day out that drives them to seek an end to their suffering. There is not a simple this or that answer to stopping it. Each and every situation is unique.

Our role in this world is to remind the burdened that A. They are needed. B. Your story is not over. You will impact people. C. You are not alone. It may seem like it, I know, but there are other people of every age, shape, location, walk of life out in this big world struggling alongside you from a distance. They understand your story that is being written. They want to hear you. They want to see you live. Just as they need the reminder of the very same things!

You are extraordinary. No one will ever fill the shoes you walk in. There will never be another person in this world with the same makings that make YOU a precious human being, no one to fill in the ‘gap’. I know it is easier said than done, but shake the dust of this world that tries every day and every minute, it would seem, to bring you down. There will always be ignorant people. I wish I could fight them for you because that would mean I have learned how to fight my own ‘demons’.

Oh dear hearts hold on.
If you have incurable ignorance of the mouth, then please learn to keep your thoughts to yourself. Do you even comprehend the impact your words can have on an innocent bystander hearing you or even the very person you are waylaying with your trifling rubbish?!?

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else."
Charles Dickens

I dedicate this blog post to Mum. A woman who continues to be a lightener of burdens in my life and so many others. Sunday's Project 365 is for her too. (insert wink)

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