A long time ago, I knew a hippy, dippy, trippy writer who also fancied himself a poet, if you can fancy yourself a poet without knowing anything about rhythm, rhyme, scansion, meter, literature, or history and without having any voice, discipline, or even vocabulary of your own
My bossy little Schnauzer and I were recently confronted with a torrentially rainy weekend, one of those two-day stretches when the sluicing sounds of water in the gutters, the pattering of water on the windows, and the low background murmur of rain blanketing the trees all around the house gradually becomes an unbroken carrier hum around the clock.
A publisher friend of mine many decades ago used to fetch up in my book room every week for wine and calzones and a good deal of complaining. He’d always apologize ahead of time – “You don’t need to hear my woes” – and then launch into some first-class kvetching for the next few hours, and it was wonderful.
The most wonderful thing about all the stereotypical old bookstore stories is that they all really happened. The customer who wanted book recommendations simple enough for her adored Pomeranian and needed to be told that dogs can’t, in fact, read; the customer who’d just heard about the lost plays of Sophocles and wondered if the shop could order them for him; the customer who wanted help finding a book she’d seen in the shop five months ago: “It had a man on the cover – and he didn’t look happy.”