I got lost in a book store recently. I don’t mean figuratively, as in looking at all the books and lost track of time. I mean, I got lost.
Anyone who has visited Chamblin’s Bookmine on Roosevelt Blvd in Jacksonville, FL knows how huge that store is. Since I go there about once every couple of months, and since they rearrange the layout regularly and don’t move the signs, I got turned around back in the Annex. I was looking for the writing section and tried to remember the directions the sales clerk gave me last month. I thought I was going the right way, but I circled the Horror section twice and dead-ended in a tiny little room that housed books about American politics, I think.
The ‘lost’ part came in when I thought I’d finally found the one narrow row that holds the writing books only to be disappointed and confused to find books on Fix-It Yourself. I gave up at that point.
I was able to make it back to the main building (which apparently I was already in) and to the check out desk (my point of reference). I finished my unsuccessful search for a specific homeopathy book and wandered back to the Young Adult section again. I spend most of my time in that section when I go to Chamblin’s. I check out front cover images and back cover blurbs to get ideas for my own book cover. It’s cheaper than going to Barnes & Noble; if I get the urge to buy a book, it’s at least half price off retail.
Now, you’d think that I’d be frustrated with this trip – I didn’t find the writing section and I didn’t find the homeopathy book I was looking for – but to alter an old adage from my country roots, “A bad day at the book store is better than a good day at work.”
I’d rather get lost in Chamblin’s Bookmine and not find anything that I’m looking for than to have a really awesome day at work. As a writer, there’s just something about being surrounded by books that lifts my spirit. It’s almost religious – this sense of awe fills me as I stand staring at the multitude of shelves lined with colorful book spines. I think, if all of these author’s can do this, I know I can, too.
And it might even go beyond the simple acknowledgement that I have something in common with thousands of other people that I’ve never met. I think it’s the fact that, as humans, we want to create something tangible that others can hold and use and possibly make the world a better place. Or, at least, a more interesting place.
Maybe it’s something more that, even though I’m a writer, I can’t explain in words. It’s just a feeling that anyone who loves books would get. Understand?