Oh, yeah, yeah, I could prattle on about the Brattle bookstore at Boston Common or the Harvard book store ‘cross the river.
Or I could travel cross-country dropping books all along the way in all the little bookstores, making notional purchases and leaving incidental gifts at the various airport Hudsons. Maybe I’d land, cross-continent, then hoof it from SFO to downtown and the Alexander bookshop or the Bird &Beckett . . . in the city by the bay where, like Tony Bennett, I left my heart, back in ’71 I think it was.
Maybe we’d traipse across the Golden Gate to Sausalito and then tip a few at Tiburon, buy a book or two at the Corner. Then maybe I’d scuttle up to Seattle for coffee at Pike Place Starbucks, the one and only original. Perhaps I’d take a second chance at that Pikey bookstore, ‘though it shall remain nameless, where I was asked to leave because of my Amazon imprint, which is to say, those infamous KDP connections that allow the little guy like me to do his own thing cuz Random and Schuster and all those other big guys are too busy making money to mess with the little authors like me. Yeah I say unto thee I am the so-called starving artist, like Faulkner was for a while or James Joyce with his stream of conscientiousness, not to mention that Hunter T reporter guy with his fear and loathing in Los Alamos or somewhere out there in the desert. I know one thing I’m glad I didn’t slip into that Kerouac on the road alky routine.
Anyway, by ’n buy, I managed to make a little money along the way in my 71 years and catch my wife who presented me with three kids, now all grownup. Not too bad for life in the 20–21st century.
But I digress.
Maybe I’d just hit the eastward road again or the skyways, scuttle back down south, check out the Heritage at Charlotte airport, or the Park Road Shopping Center bookstore, or maybe the Last Word in Charlotte. Perhaps I’d road-trip it down to Charleston and find a tome or two at the Blue Bicycle. Then I’d scoot up to Chapel Hill and check out the Franklin Street bookstore and that one in Durham but I can’t remember the name of it . . . and then there’s the Scuppernong shop in Greensboro where I’d buy a book and sip a brew. It’s just down the street from the Woolworth’s where those four NCA&T students conducted the first segregation-bustin’ lunch counter dine-in back in ’60.
Perhaps I’d scoot over to Salisbury, say hello at the South Main Books, then visit the Railroad Museum at nearby Spencer NC.
Then I’d perhaps conclude the journey, traipsing back up the Boone trail for a tome or two at the Foggy Pine, and maybe in my dreams at the formerly famous Black Bear, even stopping along the way at the Barnes & Noble in Winston-Salem — dare I mention it — I sho’nuff wouldn’t hold it against ’em cuz in this life you gotta take the big with the small and the bad with the good . . . to a point, anyway.
And I told him that!