Tag Archives: Nashville

A Tonic for Perspective Restoration

Jack and I drove from Nashville to our home sweet bookstore on Sunday, dumped our disorganized clutch of luggage, and began sorting laundry, book purchases (from the Southern Festival of the Book and just the one bookstore we stopped at on the way home, heh) and other trip detritus.

My purse wasn’t there.

I’d barely had time to launch a full-blown panic attack when the phone rang. A woman named Sabrina Hensley said she found my purse in the rest room where I’d left it, and would mail it Tuesday when the post office opened after Columbus Day. I told her to take money out of the purse to mail it and to buy herself lunch, but she declined.

Thank you, Ms. Hensley. You are a true mensch.

That was our first return to reality post-festival, but the best was yet to come. A whole lot of people had read the blog, friended us on Facebook, liked the bookstore and cafe, and we enjoyed reading through your comments and stories. We meant it, what I said on C-span about a connected community of bibliophiles and bookstore supporters, here, there and everywhere, and we admit it made us feel good that so many people responded positively on Twitter and FB et al. We went to bed basking in the glow of small-time celebrity.

Monday morning, I woke up five minutes late for a ride-share to an important meeting. As I raced up the stairs our foster cat Ernest Hemingway tripped me, and I grabbed him around the middle–perhaps the wee bit roughly, because he pee-bombed my foot.

It was fun being driven around Nashville and invited to the authors’ reception in the penthouse suite, with that incredible view of the city. It was tres cool not to get embarrassed by the autograph lines. (Book festivals usually line several authors up side-by-side so odds are good you’ll be next to Bill Bryson and his line will extend three times ’round the courtyard while the rest of us sit there twiddling our thumbs, avoiding eye contact. I brought crocheting to cover this contingency, but never got a chance to work on it–whew!) It was great to get to chat with so many people who’d read and loved Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap.

Still, nothing restores perspective quite so quickly as getting pee-bombed on your bare foot by a foster kitten.

Back to what we love doing, then: shelving books, serving customers, killing spiders and all, we love our bookstore and our life in it. Y’all come see us. I promise to have Ernest Hemingway fully potty trained before he sits in your lap.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, humor, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

Serenity and Chaos

I’ve been looking forward to speaking at the Southern Festival of the Book for some time, not least because I’m being introduced by a fellow bookstore owner named Chuck Beard. I’m scheduled for an hour this Saturday at noon in the library (with the pipe wrench).

Of course, looking forward to something involves having done some planning, and I thought the ducks were aligned for this trip. Yesterday, after teaching speech class and racing back to throw professional clothes in a bag for an overnight conference, I went to my “author drawer”–the place in the bookstore where I keep any and all correspondence pertaining to my current or prospective book–and reached for the Southern Festival envelope.

It wasn’t there.

Check to see if it’s fallen behind. Nope. Check the drawer below. Nope. Check the bill drawer in case it got mixed up. Nope. Make accusatory comments to Jack about moving envelope. Nope. Apologize to Jack. Panic.

Now normally, I can solve simple problems, but this was the week we opened the cafe, my speech students gave their midterms, and the medical organization I work with holds its flagship conference. So instead of choosing door number one–adult behavior involving calling the festival to determine hotel arrangements and reprinting a map to Nashville from the conference hotel–I opted for door two: curl into the bookstore armchair in a fetal position and place a whiny desperate phone call to Serenity, the appropriately-named festival director.

Hearing oneself on the phone saying in a shaky voice to someone you have never met “…and I swear to you I’m a competent adult not a prima donna I just lost the envelope” is kind of a wake up call for how much stress you’re actually juggling. As soon as we get back from this festival I’m enrolling in a yoga class.

Serenity talked me down from the ledge, and Chuck offered us a place to stay when it turned out we didn’t have one. (We have always relied on the kindness of strangers.) Life went on. The sun did not deviate from its normal course. It’s amazing how persepective-a-fying it is to realize, in the middle of a full-blown adult meltdown, that you’re the only one worried. Kinda restores a little sanity, y’know?

Jack and I made it the medical event last night, and are about to hop onto the road to Nashville, the address of our couch-surf B&B in the GPS, coffee-to-go in the cup holder.

Decaf. Best not to take chances, y’know?


Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, humor, Life reflections, publishing, Uncategorized, writing