No two places ever feel the same. The traveling bookstore in Missoula is quite different than the bookstore set up in Eureka or the Yaak or Ovando. This weekend brought all sorts of surprises both good and not so good. Encouraging people to use the typewriter for something creative finally worked! Maybe it was the $1 off any purchase if you typed a poem. Maybe it was the tipping point when more people started typing so others wanted to join the fun. Kids asked about the different keys, oldsters reminisced about their first typewriter when they went off to college, hipsters told me about the typewriter model they had back at their apartment. So many incredible poems I am setting up a file to keep them in because they deserve to be saved. Like this one written by a young man from NJ to get $1 off the book he was buying for his girl friend back home:
People typing poems in the moment felt like creativity unleashed. As though the typewriter sitting there poised with paper ready to go and an empty chair gave them permission to be a poet. And there were poets. Not just in the moment poets but a man who testified to writing poetry elsewhere and he wrote a long one and then took it home because he liked it and wanted to keep it. And then an older gentleman wrote one and took a picture of it with his phone to save. It almost felt that the traveling bookstore was there to give people an opportunity to write and selling books was a secondary activity.
And then there was a young couple walking past. The woman was pulled, you could see it, to write and she walked slower, slower, turned toward the typewriter even as they had already passed it. I caught her eye and told her, yes, you should write something, it will only take a minute. She stopped walking and just as she was about to take a step back towards the table with the typewriter, she looked up at the man she was with and he said No. Not a No as in sorry hon but we don’t have time. Not a No like don’t you remember you don’t have fingers to type. But a No you are stupid to even think of doing this. She turned back and walked away with him. That moment still haunts me.