Friday, February 22, 2013

Bookstores Over Night

Today, dear readers, I intend to make you smile. It is Friday. It is the end of the week, and it has been a busy week. While I had a fine post in the making for today, commitments and deadlines and unforeseens all came together in a whirl. That fine intended post will find another day for posting.

Instead, I provide you something guaranteed to give you pause. Enjoy! And be sure to return for next Friday's posting.

After organizing their own bookshelf earlier this year, Sean Ohlenkamp and wife Lisa re-doubled their efforts for Type Books  in Toronto. After several sleepless nights of animating with a crew of over 20 people, the Joy of Books was born.  Music composed especially for the short by Grayson Matthews.

What Happens In Bookstores At night

The Joy of Books

See our website at: 
             Type Books
               883 Queen Street West
               Toronto, Ontario
               (416) 366-8973)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Indie Bookstores, Part II

A continuation of January 15, 2013, Indie Bookstores, Part I.

In 2010, Poets & Writers magazine featured a series of articles titled "Inside Indie Bookstores," by Jeremiah Chamberlin. For each issue, Chamberlain reported "on the institutions that mean so much to the literary community," as he travelled the country interviewing owners of independent bookstores. Mr. Chamberlain introduced me to bookstores I wasn't aware of. For others, it was a better glimpse into what I already knew. It was all good, and I encourage you to read the series.

I followed the six installments with interest, as I was weaned on these small, one-of-a-kind, book shops. When it came time to carve a life of my own, I lived in Washington, D. C., and there took for granted the small, family-owned sanctuaries. In Georgetown, narrow Georgian houses accommodated floor levels of book shelves––creaking boards free. Later, I lived above DuPont Circle, an easy walk to Kramer's Books, which is still there. Working on Capitol Hill, I spent lunch hours in others. I fantasized that one day I would own a bookstore.

In today's posting, I gathered additional information for you, dear readers, to digest: Independent Bookstores Find Their Footing : NPR  Indie bookstores report strong sales for 2012They will be worth to consider in light of how Target, Wal-Mart, the big-box sellers, even grocery stores sell books, further dicing the book business. Independents are holding a competitive ground, and "community" is a big factor. Many bookshops feature exhibits, music, lectures, podcasts, free Wifi, blogs, and online shopping. Customers want the stores to succeed, and will do whatever they can to see that happen.

From sea to shining sea, Independent Bookstores live and breathe––with some older than others. When you travel, take time to visit them. If you're more comfortable with armchair travel in advance, walk through their web sites. You can shop for indie bookstores through: Charlesbridge or Indie Store Finder. Below I've provided a sampling to entice you.

Please let me know if you have one in your home town, and tell a few things about it/them.

Lower Downtown Store | Tattered Cover Book Store
1628 16th Street
Denver, CO
Kramer Books & Afterwards
1517 Connecticut Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D. C.

Creekside Books & Coffee
35 Fennell Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152  
Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenie
Coral Gables, FL

161 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, KY
    talking leaves books
Talking Leaves Books
951 Elmwood Avenue
3158 Main Street
Buffalo, NY

White Birch Books
White Mountain Hwy
N. Conway, NH

Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215

Friday, February 8, 2013


I record drafts of poem, essay, and prose in hardcover, lined, journal books. I write in a fluid, cursive longhand with a fountain pen. The drafts are streams of consciousness, but not always. Sometimes, an observation, a new-found word, or a newspaper article triggers the flow of inked words. I return to these pieces and cross out, add to, or scrawl on whatever white space remains on the page. I become satisfied that substance is building, and traipse over to my computer. There the clicking and the clacking of transcription takes place. It becomes more permanent.

     I have three-and-a-half journals filled with variations on various themes. They are shelved when there aren't any pages left to fill, waiting for my jottings to be further transferred to my computer.

     What will happen to these journals? Will anyone want them? The journals are, after all, written in cursive longhand with a fountain pen whose ink will bleed across words if spilled upon. What if that future someone doesn't know how to read handwriting? Doesn't understand the four keys to legibility: letter size, shape, slant, and spacing? And, gasp! what if they construe the writing as illegible? As hieroglyphics?

     There is a declining emphasis on handwriting in schools. Some teachers don't know how to teach penmanship, others emphasize content over style. Many students learn to print, but do not learn how to join scripted letters. Emphasis is placed on type recognition. Cursive is an option. Educators don't know how to fit handwriting into loaded curriculums. State legislators and Boards of Education are, too, caught up in the discussion. So are students, the recipients of learning to write in script.

     In a front-page article dated January 31, 2013, Wall Street Journal journalist Valerie Bauerlein headlined this topic "The New Script for Teaching Handwriting Is No Script at All." It was chilling to read "that children will no longer be able to read the Declaration of Independence or birthday cards from their parents." Whether it's viewed as an art or communication form, or part of an educational standard, cursive writing is still an invaluable skill as noted in the January 16, 2013, issue of The Week, and blogger, Beverly Rivera, lists even more handwriting benefits.

Did you know John Hancock's birthday (January 23) is designated as National Handwriting Day? Check this out on The History Channel: History.

Do you write in cursive? Do you enjoy receiving written notes in your mailbox? Do you think handwriting is important? Let me know.

Friday, February 1, 2013


With this Post, Flying Pages will run only on Fridays.
Why? I summarized an answer with the following Acrostic Poem. I trust my fellow writers––submitters, contributors, and competitors––will understand.


Deadline demands, can't drag my feet
Erase intrusions for a writing feat
Avoid mistakes, grammatical errors
Delivered on time, rejection defers.
Lines not accepted after submission
Improves writing speed without exception.
Needing a break? Then I'll take one.
Easier tasks feel like a breeze, and the
Sooner I finish, the sooner I'll move on.

Please stay with me, give me a shout of support, and in short order Flying Pages will return to its original schedule.  Wish me good fortune, and that the wind be at my back. Thank you everyone.