Farewell to a Local Bookstore

On Friday, I visited Book King, in downtown Rutland, Vermont.  I had read that it was closing, and as for the past year it has been the only place where readers can walk in and purchase my books in Rutland County, I wanted to check in, in person.  As I strolled down Center Street, I noticed other businesses, that I had long accepted as staples of downtown Rutland, were gone.  Vamoose.  No more.  It makes me sad.  I’d love to think that they moved to a more prime location with additional space and parking spaces, but the reality is that they likely closed.  I don’t like change.  I like tradition.  I like trusted, long-time, businesses.  I cherish interactions with people who are passionate about their workplaces. I like walking into an actual bookstore and looking at displays and touching physical books.  I enjoy stopping by a candy store and browsing the cases of sweet choices.  And nothing compares to choosing flowers and plants from the aisles and coolers of a local, family, flower shop and greenhouses.

But times are changing.  The flower shop of my childhood closed several years ago, now.  I find that I most often buy candy at the supermarket.  Even my books are print-on-demand through the Internet.  Life moves fast, and convenience has tremendous merit when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day.  Yet, are we missing out on the little joys in our rush to get everything done?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am thankful for having a print-on-demand option for my books.  I wouldn’t be a published author without it.  However, I dream of having my books sold in actual bookstores.  All four of my books are available for purchase in (or through) your favorite physical bookstore… but it’s “cheaper” and “easier” to just order it online.  But this week, in celebration of Rutland, Vermont’s Book King, I ask you, if you’re in Rutland, Vermont, to stop in and pick up a copy of “Wicked Normal” or “Wicked Weird.”  I don’t mind one iota if you set it right back down again. Nor do I mind if you purchase it.  But just go in, hold a book or two in your hands, and support the efforts of a small business that gave it a go… before it’s gone.  And if you’re somewhere else this week, try to carve out some time to go to your local bookstore and remember a time, not truly so long ago, when you (or, depending on your age, your parents) spent a rewarding Saturday afternoon scanning the shelves in hopes of finding your newest favorite.  And if that bookstore doesn’t have my books (obviously your soon-to-be newest favorites), they can order them for you.  After all, most things aren’t only available online… that’s just typically the most convenient option.

Here’s to not living life solely based on convenience, and to enjoying the treasures we might otherwise take for granted… before we run out of time to do so.  Happy summer.

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Summerfest

If you’re in Rutland, Vermont, this weekend, it may be nearly impossible to avoid Summerfest.  When I was young, they called it Sidewalk Sales, but it has become bigger and better and is now… Summerfest.

But maybe… rather than avoid Summerfest, you should embrace it!  The quirky little Vermont town stuff is what makes Vermont… Vermont.  It’s easy to lose sight of that if one lives in a place that is always quirky, small-town, beautiful, etc.  When trying to find a way around a man-made traffic jam, we conveniently forget that Vermonters are lucky to have celebratory events that bring most residents together.  How good does it feel to go somewhere and know that you’ll know people there… even if you haven’t planned to meet up with anyone? 

So if you find yourself in Rutland, Vermont, this weekend… and you see a road is closed for Summerfest… find a parking place and walk over to it.  You might discover something wonderful that you wouldn’t have found if you had simply detoured around downtown.

And while you’re at Rutland’s Summerfest, stop by Book King and buy autographed copies of “Wicked Normal” and “Wicked Weird,” my first two books.  Yes, they’re now available in Rutland’s bookstore.

In the spirit of Summerfest, wherever you are, rather than detour through life directly to wherever you were heading, explore something quirky and off the beaten track this weekend.  You certainly won’t regret that you got out there and enjoyed a summer weekend.