In a Bookshop

Sitting in a real bookshop yesterday afternoon, waiting, not unsuccessfully, for people to come and buy copies of my own, was a special experience. The signing table was stationed in the fiction section, so had an array of re-published classics on the one hand, and more contemporary literary creations on the other. There was of course time to browse and to ponder. Familiar titles, which I had enjoyed sometime along the way, were ranked alongside others that I`d put somewhere on the `must read` list, that lurks in my mind.

One life is not enough, I sighed, as the next customer appeared.

To say that real bookshops are special places, is perhaps an understatement, for I am of the school that yearns to peruse, smell and touch; an experience that cannot in any way be simulated on-line. And the oft quoted phrase about `use them or lose them`, comes readily to mind. So, this strong feeling of being on hallowed ground gave me a warm embrace.

Knowing from pretty recent experience, of the struggle that goes into the creation of a novel, I could only begin to imagine the row upon row of struggles that lay around me. Of course, there is the imagination and creativity that goes into each chapter; a joy to wrestle with, and then commit to paper. There`s the assembly of ideas and characters, and the structuring of plot; all of which take time and care. And the thoughtful use of words and phrases gives such reward, when it seems to be just right. So, casting my eyes along the shelves it was hard to comprehend just how much of all of these processes, and yes, the struggles were sitting there, row upon row. Author after author in the ranks.

OK, I was there to sell and sign my own, but somehow it fell into the much wider context of longer literary tradition, and an ever-growing respect for the independent bookshop owner. A joy to praise such formidable knowledge and customer care.