It wasn’t an impulsive decision that prompted my departure. It was a number of separate, distinct trends that encouraged my decision. As it was, I hadn’t had many readers for my entire existence. Let’s face it. With a title of ‘The Life of a Woodcarver’ there weren’t many who would jump at the chance to read me.
Even after publishing, it was a short jaunt to the seconds pile at the big name bookstore. I sometimes wonder about the fate of my siblings; did they achieve status in some small town library, or maybe entered some other woodworker’s shop as a source of inspiration. Then, there were my depressing thoughts; did they end up propping an uneven table or worse – used as kindling to heat some wretch’s hovel.
I realize I shouldn’t be so critical about how humans treat and/or perceive we creatures of literature. Just as humans strive to be something more than skin, bones, and semi-random electrons; we books, magazines, and newspapers want acknowledgement as more than paper and ink.
So much for philosophizing. That facts of the matter are much more mundane. Simple economics and an even simpler clientele. Perhaps that should be the other way round. Potential customers chose to spend their lightly earned dole on a four-pack of bitter and some cigarettes. Instant gratification. With a book, there’s time and effort being invested on an uncertain outcome.
Which makes me wonder about the possibilities of my new residence here across the Channel. My printing is English, their language is French. Historical barbarities aside, what rationale could there be for a French bookseller to stock an English language section? Students, surely would be interested, if only to complete some assignment. Some sad tourist giving up asking for directions to the Louvre, opting for a safe night in their hotel room – a half eaten burger that may have been part horse.
I am in print; therefore I impart knowledge. As long as I exist, there is potential. My location, while not entirely immaterial, matters not. My subject matter follows the same logic. At some indeterminate point in the future, I may continue my travels through many lands, pass through many hands. As long as I am intact, I have purpose. And one bookshop is as good as another.