"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Letter to October #4

The Haunted Bookstore!

Dear October,
    Here's something I need to remember for future reference: Book-filled days are the best. Today I went to Iowa City for their annual book festival. I don't think it will ever not feel strange to be in Iowa City, because it's a place that feels both intensely familiar and foreign at the same time. The one thing that isn't foreign is books, and, oh man, did I acquire a lot of them. We went to a reading by a Jamaican author at Prairie Lights, and walked around the booths that were set up around downtown. The highlight however, was visiting The Haunted Bookshop. It's a used bookstore nestled just off the beaten path. We spend at least an hour wandering its convoluted shelves and getting lost in it's nooks and crannies. Afterward we got into conversation with the owner, who just happened to be a Coe College Writing Center Alumni. She talked about the bookstore as if it was an extension of herself, and in a way, it was. It was her personally curated anthology, and her life's work was devoted to putting the right book in the right person's hands at exactly the right time. Picture four college students and the owner sitting cross-legged on the floor of the bookstore, listening to stories of her time at Coe and updating her on things that had changed. When we left (and we didn't want to), she gave us a ridiculously generous discount on our books.

That one conversation was enough to remind me why I wanted to go into writing in the first place. The desire hasn't waned, of course, but it's encounters like these that make me realize more and more why I do what I do. I write for people like the woman who owns The Haunted Bookshop, people who love words and learning and believe that real connection is more valuable than money or success or the latest gadget. I want to be the kind of person who builds their life out of things I love, and I think today was a pretty good start.


Song of the Day: Carrying by Jukebox the Ghost

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