I suppose there are people out there who think if one has a traveling bookstore that certain months would be easy. Park the bookstore, stay at home, curl up with delightful books and read through the winter. And then when Spring actually appears, get out the key, turn on the bookstore and hit the road. Although I am ever hopeful there will be more traveling bookstores in this country (and abroad), I should dissuade you – this is not the case. There is a bit more work involved.
First there are the incoming books that pile up and pile up and PILE UP until the garage/warehouse is overflowing, and the top of the washing machine (don’t ask me why except it is a flat surface) is full of books and the floor space next to the front door has boxes of books which tip over when visitors come by and everything has to be sorted so the very best reads can then be put in the bookstore or boxed for upcoming trips.
Then there is applying to festivals (Yaak River Fest, Libby’s Riverfront Blues Festival, Montana Book Festival, Baltimore Book Festival, etc) and setting up trips. The first long distance trip this year is scheduled May 15 – June 7 and is called in my notes, “The Western Bookstore Adventure”. This means getting out the maps, the phone, the computer, and starting to talk with anyone and everyone who might know something about Sheridan, Denver, Grand Junction, Sacramento, Ashland, etc etc etc. How many miles is it from Casper, WY to Buena Vista, CO? Who do I know in Salt Lake City who might put me up when the bookstore is there? Is it a good idea to set up in Winnemucca the last weekend in May during the Run-A-Mucca Motorcycle Rally? Will the owners of Populuxe Brewing who I briefly met let me set up in their parking lot when I am in Seattle? And how do all these places fit into a three-week travel schedule? The mantra becomes Pace Yourself. Balance. I am typically not good at either.
Because of course there are so many places I would enjoy taking the bookstore. And there are invites from people whom I would dearly enjoy seeing and meeting. But for some reason whether I use a paper calendar or the one on my phone, there are only so many days in a week, weeks in a month, months in a year. There are community commitments in Eureka, MT up until May 14 and the Trash2Flash fashion show/fundraiser June 8. These make bookends for when the traveling bookstore can be out-of-state. Of course the rest of June and July, the bookstore will set up in Eureka and other parts of Montana, land of my heart.
But for now, its back to organize books, maps, phone, computer, and oh, remember to order business cards, set an appointment for the bookstore to get a tune up, pace yourself, and balance.