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September 4, 2020: Shine on You Crazy Bookstore

Admittedly, as of late your attitude about the Bright Lights Book Project has been piss poor, and that’s an understatement. You have been grousing because the hours are long, the pay is non-existent, and the boxes of books quite heavy. We also choose to hear what we want to hear, and what you’ve been hearing lately is “people aren’t reading books anymore.” You also hear “this place is about recycling not about re-use.”

To you, the work has seemed Sisyphean, like you are pushing a box full of Britannica encyclopedias uphill with your nose and your hands tied behind your back. You have bitched, moaned, and complained, and no one, absolutely no one, not even Pete, has empathized or worked to get you on the payroll.

As you wrote yesterday, everything is dependent upon attitude. Attitude shapes how we view our situation and our situation shapes our attitude. It’s like going backwards on a carousel.

Coinciding with this particular realization is the phrase that used to be one of your mother’s favorites, which is, “shit or get off the pot.” You have now decided to, in a matter of speaking, shit; that is, to resume working on this project, and most importantly, go at it with a more cheerful and upbeat attitude.

Today you forced yourself to look around and see the project anew. There is now a small bookstore with an incredible Alaskan section.

It was for this reason that today was a good day. You made some distribution calls yesterday, and today set aside books for the animal shelter, the cooperative extension agency, the homeless shelter, and for Bill Schmidtkunz. Bill is in charge of the books of faith. On Saturday there is going to be an artwalk and you will be in charge of the books.

You have resumed working knowing that some things are never going to change, which is to say other’s attitudes are going to remain the same. That’s okay. For now. Just have to deal because you have a vision.

This vision – a larger bookshop, one with a distribution area. This shop will have wood floors and windows and be brightly lit. It will have hanging plants and table where people can play chess and scrabble.

As importantly, it will be a place in which literacy classes are taught. There will also be weekly writing groups, and a children’s area. It will be in a quiet setting, but at the same time, a place where readers like to congregate.

I know that I will have to keep this vision in mind. And I know that this will have to come about in a near serendipitous fashion. This is because the re-use committee is a committee, and committees aren’t known for acting in an expedient fashion. This is because language gets in the way.

What’s going to keep me going is this – a mental image of boxes of books, real treasures, today art books of all types, most nearly new. Can’t stand to see them shredded. So tally ho, and away we go.

Next: 245. 9/5/20: Oh Glorious Day

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