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September 3, 2022: Book by Book

Maybe this will be the title of my next book. Anne Lamot wrote a book called Bird by Bird. She said that her father said, when making an analogy about writing, that you have to take it Bird by Bird. I’d say the same, you have to take it book by book, meaning not be thinking too hard about the future, but rather, about the present.

This is how I got through today. I went to the recycling center today and I salvaged books early on with Pete and Bill and later with Robert. It was the first time I’d been at VCRS on a Saturday salvaging books for some time.

In my absence, Bill and Pete have become a well-oiled machine. They both know what to do and do it well. I’m not an interloper, but they are definitely the ones working on all eight cylinders.

Box in front of VCRS booth

Bill and Pete started out sorting two shopping carts, the contents left behind by a VCRS volunteer. I began salvaging and sorting books in the nearby pallet. We were nearly done when James, the head worker on the processing floor, walked by and said, “the books are in,” meaning that there was a trailer load outside, waiting to be brought in. Bill then remarked, “Now they’re bringing the books to us, rather than to VCRS.” What he meant was that we are now a known entity.

We do pay a price for this, and that price is that when this happens, it means more work for us. There were, all total, three pallets of books. We who were salvaging made very quick work of them, getting them boxed up and into the truck. We dropped the adult books off at U-Haul and the children’s books off at the Meeting House. We also left six or so boxes of books in the truck and brought them home, so that we might take them to the Alaska State Fair.

After a brief home break, we went to the fairgrounds, and there I hawked books in front of the recycling center booth for approximately four hours. I targeted mothers and fathers with strollers.

It was a harder sell than I’d expected, getting parents to take books. They were not at the fair to get reading material, but rather, to get food. Those who took the books were very receptive, and they and their kids thanked me for the books.

And I thought, this is why I do this.

Getting in people’s faces is not my favorite thing to do, by any means. But I have discovered that if I don’t do this, that they will just continue to meander by, and no books will be claimed. So this is what I do. And, I might have to do this again tomorrow.

Next: 242. 9/4/22: Books

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