So much more

It is the sort of early afternoon when I could be stocking more reading material in the traveling bookstore, as I leave for the Yaak in an hour for an event there. But as it is raining at the moment, I decided to squeeze in a few short thoughts about the bookstore because its adventures never cease to amaze me. Of course I realize there are many incredible bookstores around the world and, hopefully, someone somewhere is making a comprehensive list. At this moment though, in the gray August drizzle of Montana, I want to acknowledge the one I know best.

Perhaps this train of thought began during the past week when Marla Goodman, a thereminist from Bozeman, who was in the neighborhood to give a concert, turned me on to Elizabeth Brown’s “A Bookmobile for Dreamers.” It seemed appropriate for Marla to perform a piece of this chamber opera in the traveling bookstore. This extraordinary event triggered an avalanche of other bookstore experiences for me. There was the first time a parent brought their baby into the bookstore, the afternoon a bride and groom stopped by and I captured their radiance, someone asking to spend the night in the bookstore, two of New York City’s finest posing in front while it was set up at the Brooklyn Book Festival, an older woman approaching me in a cafe when I stopped for lunch in White Lake, SD asking if that was my van parked outside and could she please see inside. There was the day I set it up in Minneapolis and a snow storm blew in, and the night driving across the mountains in Kentucky with fog as thick as soup. There was Lee Connah’s crankie performance at the bookstore during the Baltimore Book Festival!

I suppose brick-and-mortar bookstores have their own sets of adventures but it is hard to imagine them as exciting as a traveling bookstore’s. It is just so damn versatile! But now I need to finish getting it packed. Shirley Jacobs, an incredible accordionist (she specializes in French cafe music from the 1920-30s) is riding along to provide music for the shoppers when we set up in front of the Yaak Tavern and Merc later this afternoon. So I need to have room for the passenger and her accordion.

p.s. The Yaak trip went very well. We saw a grizzly cross the road on the drive up. Lots of book sales, t-shirt sales, conversations and appreciation of Shirley’s music.

From home to the bookstore

It is still the beginning. The bookstore left Eureka last Wednesday.  By late that afternoon, it made it to Bozeman, MT for the first bookstore tour event which was at Wildrye Distillery.  Quite the opening with old friends, new friends, and people who happened to pass by, who were curious and lingered.A38D0EE1-F225-48EB-968B-BA7C8044BA4C

Then miles of road across Montana and N. Dakota.  Rain and snow and sun, mountains and plains.  A beautiful full moon. Some questions arose. Why is the place we ate in Custer, MT called the Junction City Saloon?   Some questions answered. Fargo, ND has a population of about 120,000 with Microsoft being the largest employer.  Had a wonderful meal in that city at Passage to India. 

Some new experiences.  A person passing the bookstore on I-94 took photos and posted them on social media.  A woman who saw the bookstore in Glendive wrote inviting us to set up there the next time we pass through. Although typically the bookstore is parked in winter months, in N. Dakota there was the challenge of driving on ice.

Tomorrow the bookstore sets up at the Birchwood Cafe. Then on to Illinois, Kentucky, and N. Carolina.  So many more adventures waiting to happen.  So many new people to meet, stories to hear.  The bookstore shifts into a new realm this season. So many new horizons.

Count down to take off

The traveling bookstore has been around.  It set up on a street corner in Brooklyn, New York and in a field in Yaak, Montana. It has been visited by cool kids, hipsters, grooving elders, cowboys, cops, waitresses and parents with babies.  And now it is setting off on a crazy cross country adventure that is bound to push the envelope even farther.  If you don’t have time to read this entire post, here are the bare facts of where we will be so you don’t miss out:

3/28  Bozeman, MT    Wildrye Distillery 6-8collins05
4/2  Minneapolis, MN    Birchwood Cafe 9-3
4/4  Woodstock, IL  Isabel’s Family Restaurant 10-1
4/5  Indianapolis, IN  Coal Yard Coffee  9-3
4/6  Smiths Grove, KY  Quarter Moon Antiques 10-1
4/7  Asheville, NC  French Broad Food Co-op 10-3
4/8  Asheville, NC  French Broad Food Co-op 10-3
4/9  Asheville, NC  Moog Store 10-1
4/10 Raleigh, NC  Nickelpoint Brewery 5-9
4/11 Raleigh, NC  Nickelpoint Brewery  5-9
4/12  Raleigh, NC  Lonerider Brewery  2-9
4/13  Wake Forest, NC  Page 158 Books 12 – 8
4/16  Morgantown, WV  Fawley Music 9-2
4/20  Sheridan, WY  Studio Cafe  10-2
4/20  Sheridan, WY  Black Tooth Brewery 4-7
It might strike you as ambitious that a rather unpretentious bookstore carrying about six hundred volumes with a 132 inch (335cm) wheelbase is willing to set up in all these places including the urban clatter of Minneapolis and the small town calm of Smiths Grove, KY.  And, needless to say, a traveling bookstore deals with details your average brick-and-mortar shop rarely considers – like the oil change by the time we pull into Asheville.  Storage is quite limited and mostly given over to books, a manual typewriter, a small folding table, some folding chairs, a theremini and a spare tire.  While sorting out where the bookstore will set up (a major thank you to the businesses that agreed to partner with us on this trip!), we also figure out where to spend the night.  There have been times when I sleep in the bookstore especially after some remote Montana events.  On this trip though there will usually be two of us traveling so more space is required then the one aisle between fiction and biographies.
No doubt this is going to be a buffalo size adventure.  Hope that you are able to stop by to visit. And just in case you aren’t in these regions of the country during March/April, the summer bookstore tour to Washington, Oregon and California is already taking shape.

 

 

Mark your calendar

It is getting so close.  The bookstore pulls out of Eureka, MT on March 28 and sets up that evening at the Wildrye Distillery in Bozeman.  A great send off on this cross country bookstore tour.  By Apbookstoreril 2, the bookstore will be in Minneapolis at the Birchwood Cafe.  Then on to Woodstock, IL to set up at Isabel’s Family Restaurant on April 4.  Then on to Indianapolis, Smiths Grove, Asheville, Raleigh, Wake Forest etc.  WOW!  The bookstore has been cleaned from top to bottom, stocked with lots of wonderful reads.   It had a tune up and tires checked so ready for the road.  New tshirts to commemorate this Grand 2018 Tour and greeting cards are stored safely in the back until we get to where we open the doors.  Friends will join me on different parts of this tour which is over 5,000 miles. Ya’aqov will start out and then in Minneapolis turn over the co-piloting to Brittany,  In Indianapolis, Jana joins the tour and has been practicing the theremin so she is ready for our debut at the Moog Store in Asheville.

Quite the adventure and hope that friends, fans, family and all those folks we haven’t met yet will stop by to check out the most amazing traveling bookstore in the US.