The 2022 traveling bookstore season officially begins Thursday, May 5th at the Libby, MT farmers market. A slow start doing that Thursday market for a few weeks and then hit the road going west. The bookstore sets up twice in Portland, OR – at Extracto Coffee on May 30 and then at Cathedral Coffee on June 1. A day’s break to enjoy Portland and then the bookstore heads north to Bainbridge Island for a three-day event at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art on June 3-5. Back to Montana after that to open the season at the Eureka farmers market on Wednesday, June 8th.
But although getting these dates and places out to traveling bookstore fans and readers in general is, of course, valuable, I did want to reflect a bit on something that happened today. I was in my role of volunteer at the Historical Village as it is Rendezvous Days in Eureka, MT this weekend. Explaining all that would take more time then you might want to spend reading about small town Montana. Suffice it to say, lots of people turn out to look at booths, watch a parade, and catch up with friends they haven’t seen all winter. I was in the looking at booths stage when I began talking with a woman who said she had recently moved here from the Bay area. She mentioned that she is an artist. I suggested she consider showing her art through a local nonprofit that has rotating art exhibits at the Eureka, Fortine and Trego post offices. She was very interested in that, and to give her a way to get in touch for more info, I gave her one of my traveling bookstore business cards. She looked at it and asked, “Did you set up in San Francisco?” And I said yes, various times. I had done a few gigs at Mission Pie and…”Yes!”, she said, “I met you there.”
Of course this involved having a long conversation about Mission Pie (which has since closed) and other places I had set up the bookstore in San Francisco, and how this woman ended up moving to Eureka, MT. There are times especially after a long winter, when I am not entirely sure having a traveling bookstore puts even a tiny dent into the world. After all – World Book Day was a week ago and there I was stocking the van, getting oil changed, making sure tires were good as I anticipated hitting the road on May 5. Today, April 30th which is Independent Bookstore Day, I volunteered in my community rather than setting up my bookstore. I’m not having big events at my bookstore today, authors aren’t doing readings in the van followed by wine and cheese this evening. I am excited to be setting up at the Libby’s farmers market on Cinco de Mayo though, and pleased with how nice the bookstore looks and with the selection of books now on the shelves as I start the new season.
And there is a young artist who remembers the traveling bookstore set up next to Mission Pie at least four years ago. Not only was the bookstore there, but we did some awesome type-in events as well. Hard to know where one makes a difference.