Archive for June, 2010

Rainy Day Memories

June 14, 2010

My memories are like the rain, sometimes they sneak up on me and when I least expect it, drench me with a downpour.

Other times they are a gentle sprinkle, light and refreshing.

Then comes a storm of memories moving in, rumbling and grumbling and striking with lightening, splitting the sky with a white dagger, thunderclaps overhead, the sky the black bowl of a big base drum, no tinkling triangle or clinking windchimes now.

Some days the memories rain down steady, dreary, constant, on and on, boring and oppressive and without any let up in sight.

Now and then there’s a refreshing rain of good times remembered, followed by sparkling pavement and a fresh scent of renewal.

Every summer there’s a long dry spell, a draught, the grass and leaves curling and turning brown, and people ask each other, “Think it will rain today?” “Not today. Maybe tomorrow.”

Then the skies darken and the clouds gather and the rain soaks the earth, like a sudden memory that will not go away.

And yet, somehow, even that storm passes, and you come in out of the rain, to where it is dry, and bright, and safe, and warm.

By Kerry Ellen © 2010

What We Have Lost…

June 9, 2010

Gone, but not forgotten. Nothing but memories now, but what good memories they are…
I am remembering idyllic hours spent in Paul’s Book Store, in University City, a few years ago, before the big chains and franchises ran most of the independent small bookstores out of business. Before, when books stores had books and cards and calendars – not Blue-Rays, DVDs, CDs, and it was enough, more than enough, if you loved books.
Paul stocked everything worth reading. No romance novels, few best-sellers or blockbusters, but if you wanted a calendar of sumi-e brush painting, Paul’s had it. If you wanted a local poet’s chapbook, Paul’s would probably have it. Or some hard-to-find historic tome – check Paul’s first. Obscure fairy tales – you knew where to look. They had literature for recovery, women’s studies, gay/lesbian-bi-sexual/transgender – when the big chains did not handle those items, for fear they would get picketed or not make a profit.
This was a store for book lovers. Artists. Philosophers. Poets. The avante-garde. Outsiders. College students. Parents who wanted more-than-Disney books for their children to grow up on. It was a safe haven and meeting place for intellectuals.
I bought my first copy of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones at Paul’s Books. For creative writer, Paul’s was an excellent resource, well-stocked with everything for the lover of words!
When the big chains starting putting the small independent bookstores out of business, it affected the small independent publishing houses as well. And the writers were further restricted – there were fewer vehicles to publish work that did not fit into mainstream categories. This was before the Internet was well-known to the general public.
I miss Paul, the store, the books, the cameradie. I don’t know what happened to Paul himself after the store closed. I hope it is a happy ending.