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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Daze: This, That, and Another Thing or Two

Aripeka Evening
Younger Sarah in a Warmer Season
No, we are not in Florida, but we were looking at old photos of winters past one recent Sunday morning, and the one seemed worth sharing again. We also looked at some cute old pictures of Sarah, and I took David on a virtual tour of my trip to Arizona last spring.

January seems to be a time for looking back, but for the present, please note winter hours at top right. New book orders will be taken through Saturdays of each week, with orders going on the following Monday in order to arrive by the end of that week.

Now, a few other timely topics in brief.

January Special at Bookstore

“This” is a special offer at Dog Ears Books, good for as long as supplies last. Buy our $9 book bag (the beautiful canvas one featured in the right-hand column) along with a $15 calendar (Leelanau Township scenes by Karen Casebeer, also over there on the right), and the price for the two items together, a $24 value,will be a bargain $20 + tax. Your calendar and bag will remind you on a daily basis of your local community and what every person means to its success, and you’ll feel good every time you use the bag and don’t have to take paper or plastic. I’ll have a different special in the month of February, so stay tuned. Because --

It's Winter—and (Almost) Everyone Wants Money

“That” is money, so if you don’t want to read this section, scroll down to the next.

People who don’t write letters don’t enjoy picking up mail, either, I’ve noticed. For them, an empty mailbox is good news: “No bills!” Having grown up in a letter-writing family, my heart is always light with hope as I turn the key to see what waits within, and often there is something delightful. Letters and cards and postcards from friends, along with seed catalogs, are always welcome, as are, my readers will recall, the little typed notes from that anonymous mystery poet, “H.” One Saturday morning I received a beautiful New Year’s card from one of my favorite publishers, who addressed me on the envelope as “The Excellent and Incomparable” and who included a handwritten personal note inside. That made my day! The next week there was a handwritten letter from a friend, and she had enclosed a tea bag, too, since we couldn’t be sitting down at a table together. My heart was warmed!

But most of what has filled the box lately has been mail from businesses and organizations looking for money. Everyone, it seems, has a hand outstretched. I don’t take the importuning personally. It can’t be personal, because if they knew my life at all they’d realize they’re barking up the wrong tree when looking to me for money in January.

Of course, it isn’t the “wrong tree” when it comes to bills. Bills must be paid. Phone bills, electric bills, sewer bills, tax bills, bookstore bills, credit card bills, propane bills, etcetera, etcetera. There are no medical bills in the mail because everyone from hospital to dentist now demands payment at time of service or beforehand, and there are no cable or “dish” bills because we opted out of television years ago, but there are still plenty of bills. More than enough.

What I call the “wrong tree” mail is that asking either for charitable donations or subscriptions or looking to me as a new customer for whatever product or service someone is trying to sell. Thank you, I made my December donations, and that’s all I can do for now, both because of the aforementioned pesky bills and because in our household we can’t seem to break the habit of regular meals. During most of the year, I make charitable donations in the form of memorials, as occasions arise.

I’ve renewed my subscription to Book Source Magazine and am a new subscriber to the London Review of Books, because they offered me a fabulous deal. New York Review of Books subscription has run out, but a friend and I will exchange London and New York, so we’ll both have the benefit of both. As for making a decision about health insurance based on advertising that comes in the mail, how foolish would I have to be? And people who want to sell me advertising or offer themselves as paid consultants to my business—sorry! Wrong tree!

A Couple Backward Glances at the Blog

As we sink into winter, a couple of my old posts bobbed up. They don’t appear on the all-time greatest hits of Books in Northport, but they’re things I enjoyed putting together, and a few readers either discovered or revisited them last week. The first addresses the question of the relation of “blogging” to “writing,” and that post engendered a pretty lively conversation when it first appeared. The other, on fiction, essays, criticism, etc., was in itself almost a review of a couple of books that gave me plenty of food for thought.

Where We’re Going, Will We Need Roads?

Ah, yes, you guessed it: I’m not thinking about roads but about the ever-uncertain future of printed books and actual, physical, “bricks-&-mortar” bookstores. Here’s a recent contribution to thoughts about it all. The writer says there is evidence that the disappearance of bookstores lowers the market demand even for e-books and means that fewer books will be read in any form. Once again, my mantra: I’m here now, I’m here now, I’m here now.... And isn’t “now” all we ever truly have?

January 2013: Sarah at edge of woods


Deborah said...

Yes, all we have is "I'm here now." But I wish I were there as in Northport, with you, David and Sarah.

P. J. Grath said...

I know, sister. I wish we didn't live so far apart, too. There have also been times in my life when I wasn't crazy about being where I was. But "here" can be more general: I'm alive, I'm in this moment, I'm grateful--for instance, for my sister!