Confession: The Artist thinks I’m “modern” because I have a Facebook account for the bookstore and maintain this blog. You know better! I tell him that blogs are old-fashioned now and that if I were truly up-to-date I would be appealing to busy, nonstop scrollers and their short attention spans by tweeting, but what would I have to say to the twittering flock? As it is, I spend a certain amount of time online but basically continue to live life in the slow lane and have no desire to be pushed onto uncongenial platforms. As Popeye always said, I yam what I yam.
One might wonder why a book-reading, letter-writing dinosaur would bother publishing an online blog at all. Part of the answer is efficiency. It simply makes more sense to put my impressions of books read and trips taken and life observed on the web than to compose multiple individual e-mails and still leave out too many friends and regular customers. Because "Books in Northport" has been going since fall of 2007, I have some customers I’ve never met at all, people who order from me (instead of the behemoth) books I’ve written about on this very site.
Then there is that whole business of espressin’ myself. I have been a writer since that first story, in first grade, about a robin family in their nest and am myself largely via the written word.
Finally, habit. After almost 13 years, it would feel strange not to keep up my blog. It has become a natural part of my life.
When my son and I converse by phone, our conversations are not constrained by concerns about distance. There are miles between us, but our voices are in the same space. Coronavirus hasn't changed that the way we talk to each other.
When I find a handwritten letter waiting in my post office box, reading it now is as pleasurable as it was one year or 10 years ago. I still have letters and postcards from 10 years ago, too! Like books, they can be revisited and enjoyed again and again, even after the writers have passed on.
My daily texts with my sisters, sporadic e-mails with family and friends are as unconstrained as ever, too. I don't eschew all aspects of the technological world, by any means.
So while my blogging subject matter in 2020 has reflected and will continue to reflect this year’s unprecedented concerns (and the virus is far from the only one), the forum itself remains the same, and my relationship with those of you who comment continues to be what it has always been, and I'm grateful for that. For me, it's a little island of normality in the constantly changing, often stormy sea of our life today.
Like most of you – and I don’t exclude possible saints, since we know that they too had their dark nights of the soul – I have my down times and occasionally share them here. On the other, brighter hand, when life feels like something to celebrate, I share that, too. "Books in Northport" has no destination: we’re all "traveling between the eternities,” and I find comfort not only in sharing the journey but also, in the year of coronavirus, in having an unconstrained avenue we can travel together. Hope you do, too.
As always, thanks for reading.