Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Shop Around The Corner - Kathleen O'Reilly

As a writer, I’ve learned to do my best work in my Barnes & Noble coffee shop, surrounded by books and caffeine, with the essence of the literati permeating the air (with sincere hopes that by being exposed to said essence, some will permeate my brain as well).

Even before I was writing, I would haunt the local bookstores (Wherever we lived, B&N has always been a favorite.) Ever time I entered those hallowed walls, I would wander aimlessly, browsing the shelves, picking up a title that caught my fancy. Oddball, bestseller, pretty cover, or what have you, it was the peaceful aura of the books that made me smile.
When I was younger, there was one guy I dated, and we’d go out to dinner on Fridays, and it was like: Where do you want to go? I don’t know. Dancing? Eh. Music? Meh. What do you feel like doing? Hmmm. Every Friday we’d have this discussion, and ninety percent of the time, we’d end up whiling away the hours at the B&N (open till 11:00pm on the weekend!). You might shrug your shoulders and say, so what? Because if you are reading this blog, I bet you too have spent many a weekend night, burrowed in a corner of the bookstore, with a book in your lap (possibly two). But we were YOUNG, we were in AUSTIN, and yet somehow we always ended up at the bookstore. As you might suspect: Reader, I married him.

These days, the bookstore is a make-shift office for me, a way to escape the guilt-inducing call of the laundry pile (Mt. Everest), the incessant clamor of the kitchen sink (Kilimanjaro), and the quiet hum of a refrigerator that needs to be cleaned (Pompeii).

When sitting at those tiny wooden tables, I can get lost in my world, or, when the story stalls, I can watch people instead. Prior to two days ago, there was no Internet for me at B&N. I fled to B&N, my escape from Twitter, from Facebook, from google. If I wanted internet access, by God, I would have to part with good money to get it, and that I would never do. While I sat at B&N, drinking my $4 latte, I would smile smugly, convinced that I was being frugal by staying away from the house.

Alas, now B&N offers wireless for free. I was heartbroken when I learned the news, beucase now I find myself creeping to the browser window, checking Twitter, possibly writing an email, glancing at the Amazon rankings, obsessive google-searching of whatever it is that I need to research. This morning’s quest was Lithuanian baby names and hand-carved mahogany coffins.
I am hopeful that I will remain strong and productive, that I might shun the willful come-hither glances of the free wi-fi. Because if I find myself caught under the Edward Cullen lure of the net, I must find a new office, which will break my heart. Right now, I have faith that I can escape the lure of the net. I have to because I know that I will never escape the lure of the bookstore. Yes, the internet seduces my mind, but it is the bookstore that seduces my soul.
What about you? What’s your favorite bookstore, and what makes it special?

Kathleen O’Reilly


Caroline said...

Your blog has struck a cord. 100% totally in sympathy with you Kathleen. The internet calls to me all the time! Take now for example. I've just promised my dh that all I've got to do is a few edits on my first three chapters so I can send it off before I come to bed. But no! What am I doing? Blogging as usual. I can't stop myself - but I love it! "My name is Caroline and I'm a blog addict". There I've finally admitted it. Any idea on how I am to cure myself of it? Apart from ripping the internet connection out of the wall that is...Take care. Caroline x

penney said...

Hi Kathleen I'm sorry to hear that, big hugs to you, your new book sounds good love the cover too I'll be buying it.
Have a lovely weekend

Mary said...

I am addicted to the internet and when my computer bit the dust I went right to the library to use theirs until we got a new one. But I don't have any of those handy gadgets that connect you tot he internet while outside of the house, not even a laptop. So when I go to B&N, which is my favorite bookstore, I can look through all their books until I find the right one. That's my real addiction, I am constantly doing online surveys to get B&N gift cards so I can go buy more books! But I love it, reading a good book...well there's nothing I like more. I like B&N because of course you can get a latte and there's always somewhere to have a seat and just relax amongst the books if you wish to.

Christina Hollis said...

Great cover, Kathleen. You are SO right about all those distractions. Household chores are an eternal pain, but free Internet access is such an enjoyably guilty pleasure!
Best wishes

Michele L. said... the cover of your book! Ah...the joys of the internet. I am forever on the computer late at night bopping around. My favorite are author blogs. It could be I love to write and converse with people. It is fun to read other people's comments as well. Like Mary, I am addicted too. Oh well..there could be worse things to be addicted to but the internet is calorie free!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Caroline, I feel your pain. :) I think there are programs that will disconnect you from the net, but I actually like my moving to a workplace environment. It makes me a lot more focused. You should try it.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Thank you, Penney! I hope your weekend was nice. Mine did end up being lovely, and I did get some work done at B&N. (Much more crowded and lot more people at computers this time). :)

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Mary, I love B&N. We used to have a Borders near our house when we lived in Austin, but up here, B&N is what we have, and I love it. Any bookstore (with coffee or tea) will do, actually. There is something about browsing, isn't there?

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Thank you, Christine!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Michele, the blogs get me, too. I can spend hours going from one to another, like a very procrastinating bee. :)

Mary said...

Kathleen, I love browsing and being able to find just the right book. The one that makes you so excited to read it you can't wait to get home. We have Borders here too, but the B&N near me seems to be the place I always go back to.

Laurie said...

My favorite Bookworms LTD recently had to close due to both lady/owners developing severe health problems.
I liked it because they were so personable...smiling, helpful, encouraging. They would search for and order any book you wanted. They invited local authors in for book signings. They had book club/discussions. They made me feel welcome!

cheryl c said...

Barnes and Noble is my favorite bookstore, too! I could spend hours there just browsing.