Keep in touch with me by blog proxy while I'm closed for my annual "seasonal retirement" beginning in November. Thank you so much for following Books in Northport and for supporting Dog Ears Books. I'm here for the rest of October, then back in the spring -- in Northport!
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Sunday, July 31, 2016
Conflict! Every Way You Turn!
Timely photo unconnected to text that follows
(asking readers to imagine seems to be a theme of mine this week) two
headstrong individuals in the same organization, each determined to rule alone
as autocrat. That’s a recipe for conflict, whether the organization is a nation
state or a high school club. If only the two would-be autocrats could join
forces and work out ideas together, then go even further and present their
ideas to the organization for feedback, what wonders they might achieve! Am I
then there is the national political scene, but I’m not venturing into that
minefield today, except to say I am so glad not to have chosen a life in
pragmatism, or blind dogmatism; out to win at all costs or hoping to change the
world; in it for self or for country – anyone who chooses a life in politics
has got to start out with or quickly develop a thick skin, because it’s one
thing to realize that no one, even dear self, is universally beloved and quite
another, I’m sure, to be ducking slung mud on a daily basis, in public. I have
chosen to dedicate my life to a different realm of what Greek philosophers
called “the good,” that of literacy and literature and scholarship and art. And
yet, even the quietest life presents conflicts, as I’m sure every reader is
are small, momentary, and easily resolved.
to linger over coffee and pastry or go for a walk with the dog – that was my
first conflict last Wednesday morning, but I resolved it fairly easily by
sitting in a park with Sarah for a while, sharing bites with her, and then
doing our one-mile walk. No doubt a mere mile was not enough to counteract the
effects of the pastry, but that was not a conflict for me, because I don’t have
energy to fret about calories in the summer.
those lovely yellow flags not so very long ago? Already Joe-Pye-weed has taken
their place as streamside flowers in bloom, and there is loosestrife, too, and
also – oh, good heavens! – a few very early goldenrod blossoms rushing the
is an invasive alien we are called upon to despise as an enemy, but I can’t
help loving its colorful spires and old-fashioned evocative name. Loosestrife
sounds much more poetic than “conflict resolution,” doesn’t it? It is
impossible to imagine a flower with the latter name! At least in English it
seems impossible, but maybe there is a lilting Japanese or Ojibway phrase that
would do the job beautifully.
vexing for the bookseller in a summer tourist town are schedule conflicts that
plague efforts to assemble audiences for author events. Impossible to find a
date when no one else has something going on! Tuesday evenings are out for much
of the summer (township library author series), and Friday evenings in
Northport are for Music in the Park, and both the libraries series and Music in
the Park are traditional, classic, wonderful public gatherings with which one
would not want to conflict, anyway. Every weekend, it seems, has a festival
going on somewhere in the area.
I hit upon Thursday, thinking to land safely on an evening not already crowded
with obligations for my target audience of friends and readers and bookstore
supporters – but alas! Back to that unfortunately true sentence two paragraphs
back: It is impossible to find a date when no one else has something going on.
Stocking and I had agreed on Thursday, August 4, at 7 p.m. for a presentation
she would give in connection with her new book. Kathleen has traveled all over
the world in the past twenty years, always circling back to her Leelanau home
when between trips, and she has a lot to share, and it is an honor to have her
agree to give a talk in Northport. All good! Imagine, then, my dismay when a
local visiting the bookshop looked carefully at our flier for the event and
observed that the Leelanau Conservancy’s annual picnic is the same day!
and I had already announced the event and put out publicity. We’ve been telling
everyone. Too late to change the date now! “What will be, will be,” Kathleen
Stocking observes philosophically.
are my suggestions:
is possible to go online and bid on auction items, rather than waiting for the
physical gathering. That’s one idea. Do that.
thought is that the picnic begins at 5:30, and Kathleen Stocking will not be
speaking at Dog Ears Books until 7 p.m., so it would be possible to go to the
picnic, place a couple of silent auction bids (if you didn’t do it earlier
online), and then come on up the last six miles to Northport.
course, if you hadn’t planned to attend the Conservancy picnic, you don’t have
that particular schedule conflict, and as for others, there may be a way around
them, too. (3) Having family or friends visiting? Bring them along! It’s free
entertainment, the talk will be lively and stimulating, and you can get ice
cream nearby afterwards.
Please think about squashing us onto your calendar for August 4th!
You’ll be glad you did. How many people do you know who have taught in a private school (under armed guard) in El Salvador and taught in the Peace Corps in Thailand and Romania? Her experiences gave her plenty of food for thought, and she will share many of her thoughts with us this coming week, as well as signing copies of her book for anyone who cares to purchase.