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Friday, March 24, 2017

Happy In My Work

I’ll be honest. There are times I envy retired friends with all their leisure time to travel, to socialize, to hike and garden and volunteer and keep their houses clean and host dinner parties. It isn’t that I can’t do all those things, but every single one of us is limited to 24 hours in a day, a third of those hours (for those not Twitter-addicted) pass in sleep, and, even awake, I don't have the energy or stamina I had a couple of decades ago. When I read my farming magazines, I daydream about spending entire days out in the field but then wonder how soon and how often I would need to take work breaks—not being the spring chicken I was when Dog Ears Books was a pup, back in 1993.

A spring thaw, however, brings fresh energy, in the bookstore as well as outdoors. My friend Sarah Shoemaker’s novel, Mr. Rochester, is due out on May 9, and we’ll be having a party! A posthumous collection of food essays by Jim Harrison is here now, and Jamie Harrison, Jim’s daughter, has a new novel coming out in June. The author of a new work on John James Audubon, Gregory Nobles, will be here to do a summer presentation at the bookstore. Exciting plans put new life into an old dog. Besides plans, bookstore life also brings surprises, almost every day, and this quiet, rainy March Friday was no exception. There were visits with friends, bookstore newcomers from Traverse City and Lake Ann, and a beautiful bouquet of birthday flowers, arriving a week early from dear friends in Pennsylvania. 

Where else would I rather have been today? It has been a good day in Northport and a very cheery day in my bookstore!


Lucia said...

I can't wait to get up there! I just finished reading _East of Eden_ for the first time. Oh la! The ways sons and daughters fight for attention and are affected by rejection feels so universal, and the way Steinbeck uses the Cain and Abel story and translations of Hebrew was brilliant. I love Lee's line: "Nobody has the right to remove any single experience from another. Life and death are promised. We have a right to pain." I got a kick out of Lee's dream of having a bookstore in San Francisco. :)

I worry though that the young psychologize literature too much, simplifying it. This week students said that the Thomas character in _Smoke Signals_ is "either autistic or has ADD," and when we saw _Death of a Salesman_ they just said "Willie has dementia." I'm pretty sure that Sherman Alexie and Arthur Miller were doing something more complex than that!

Talk soon! Lucia

Deborah said...

Lucia - what fascinating comments from your students. What ages are they? And of course I so agree that Alexie and Miller were definitely thinking/writing about much more than someone's ADD or dementia.

I love your blog today Pamela! The flowers are beautiful, aren't they? The visual glory of Spring in your store is one I can easily imagine. Your thoughts resonate with me on so many accounts - the way time is used as well as fleeing and certainly that you and all of us make choices in life that affect us in various ways.

Dawn said...

Spring...even if it turns out it was an illusion...makes all things better.

Sarah Shoemaker said...

I'm so glad I could be there that day, when the flowers arrived, when new folks to the store walked in, when all seemed exactly as it should be, even though it was raining outside! Dog Ears is one of the best places to be on a rainy day.

Barbara Stark-Nemon said...

Uplifting and welcome!

P. J. Grath said...

Lucia and Deborah, my first thought was that the students were medicalizing problems that are simply part of human existence. Now, a couple of days later, I still see that but also see them like (amateur or pretend) doctors looking at characters as individual "patients" out of the very crucial context of human relationships. I can't say much more specifically about EAST OF EDEN, although it was one of the books chosen by our reading circle and I did read it, because not many details of the story have stayed with me. And that's odd, too, isn't it? How a certain book, read only once, sears itself into the mind for years and years, while so many others make only temporary impressions?

Dawn and Barbara, it certainly was a lovely day, and spring is really, truly, though slowly and with a lot backsliding, getting here at last. Sarah, I'm so glad you were there, too! I love having an opportunity to introduce "my" authors to people who just happen to drop in at the right time!

And oh, the flowers!!!

Edmund said...

Beautiful flowers for a beautiful person!

P. J. Grath said...

Edmund, you are too kind!