Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12, 2013 :: from Bookshop Journal

     Paul Lavack visited Glenwood Coffee & Books yesterday (Saturday), and we had a nice talk and “catch-up.” I had visited Paul in his home, when he was recuperating from recent surgery. (He had collapsed at work.) Paul has written a novelette, 70,000 words, and he’s hired me to edit it. (I only charge $15/hr.) He also wants me to check out his blog, his “autobiography,” to read it and perhaps to see if it is publishable.
     Just last night, I was reading Ruskin’s Praeterita, which expanded the realm of autobiog genre considerably. Before Ruskin’s late-19th Century unfinished autobiog, there hadn’t been much of such a genre in Literature. And what autobiography there was concerned spiritual issues; one thinks of Augustine. Ruskin was the first to combine what today we would call a journal or even a blog and snapshots of one’s personal life. “ “Praeterita” seems to be a Ruskin neologism that he says simply means a rendition of past events of one’s life.
     Of course with my recent writing explosion of 20 journals in two years, I’m interested in anything written in this realm.
     Last night was the first use of The Back Room for an event since Maureen Kessler left the bookshop’s employ. Cakalak Thunder had a fund-raising benefit, party, dance, silent auction thingy. Cakalak is definitely a women’s creation. That was clear via the women who arranged it, the women who collected and distributed all the money, the women performers. I saw some of my old women friends (or, at least, once-friends): Joy, Audrey, Margo, Leila, Alyssa. Marnie, Devon, etc.  Saw Juan M. for the first time since Mo’s defection. ne of the silent auction offerings was a massage at Lotus Center, offered by Kamaleathahh Livingstone. Is she back in town?
     Cakalak gave the bookshop 20% of their “gate,” $30.00. And I sold a volume from my Penguin Classics. And some soda and coffee. I sat around, reading, until they finished shortly after midnight.
     I’ve done away with the amplified noise Mo brought into The Back Room (Punk Rock). Although, last month, the bookshop took in over five hundred dollars from renting out space in The Front Room, where the bookshop originated, where the coffee is. I like use of the front room much, much better than the raucous goings-on that used to break up The Back Room, with drinking and smoking and bad behavior in general. Punk Rock seems to be a Boy Thing, and today’s boys in their 20s aren’t a mob you want around, trust me.
     The girls do it differently, as last night’s party proves. The women were all dressed in extravagant puttings-on, costumes, silver and gold dresses, exotic headgear, wonderful! Creative and entertaining. Not just noise, dirt, alcohol, fights, and insults, like the boys do when Mo gave them their punk rock nights.
A very different crowd, neither the women I have described nor the men, is found in the bookshop when there’s a folk concert with acoustical music. That crowd seems religious, somber, reserved (total silence in fact, with respectful listening). It’s a much smaller group that comes to those here. Those concerts begin early and end early, and they’re my favorite. Think of Daniel and Lauren Goans' Lowland Hum.  Although an Extravaganza like the Cakalak Thing last night would be good, say, once a month. After all, I’ll be 77 this month, and I already work from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. 7 days a week, without parties at night, cleaning up, extra work . . . For thirty dollars! Of course, providing a community center for just such activities, has been part of the mission at Glenwood Coffee & Books. But, for me, obviously, what I really want to do is have a great bookshop resource for the community and, yes, if I can, have peace-and-justice meetings and a Public Space.

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