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?