A few days ago, I went to my hometown’s Boarder’s and started paging through a book about submitting writing to publishers to decide if it was worth its $3.95 sidewalk discount price. Sort of an exercise in futility, since I didn’t actually have $3.95 and couldn’t convince my mom it would be an investment in my future after I laughed at how obvious most of the advice was. But I kept digging deeper into it, convinced I would miss something important during my 2pm speed-read and equally convinced there was nothing there and I’d be cheated if I paid money for it.
Bookstores drive me crazy. There’s just so much crammed into such a relatively small space—millions of words covering thousands of ideas bound up in hundreds of neat packages stacked together waiting patiently to unleash their power. It’s amazing.
I love the journal sections, too. I’ll pick up each one that has a pretty cover and flip through it like I’m expecting messages already scribbled in there. All those blank pages beg to be filled with ideas instantly so they can start being read.
And it makes me nauseous. I want to read everything at once, so I end up overwhelming myself, paralyzing myself with indecision. I already have so many novels—but I love them, they’re my favorite thing to read—so all the more reason to get something else—but do I get something I know I’ll agree with? Something I can argue? Something entertaining, light, serious, easy or hard or middlebrow but profound? True or not true or just true in the author’s mind? Gah!
Not having money to spend doesn’t help me from wanting. It does help my ultimate decision, though: nothing. I’ll buy nothing but enjoy myself all the same by grabbing a Poets and Writers, turning to its classifieds and scoping out which writing contests have reasonable deadlines and no entry fees. Doing this will also help me decide that chain bookstores need more squishy armchairs.