Thursday, April 15, 2010

the room

The literary saloon is on.
sitting on a light-green velvet arm-chair next to the tiffany lamplight we have Violet, and across the room,next to the fireplace, that fine piece of chocolate from Torino, Italy. It's a sweet start to say the least, and since it is now out of my control and whim ,you will never be able to read the body and the onion part two,nor digression B.
Let's,instead, focus for a second on the notion of writing love,versus typing it.
Granted we can indeed type love lines on a screen and send them full of warmth and the intended love, with the simple gesture of pressing the "enter" key on the keyboard, let's consider the more intricate production of picking the right type of paper and the perfect pen, the one that makes you write cool "a's" and artistic-looking "b's", think of how much thought goes down on a piece of paper, where you know words are going to stay and if you need to erase them you have to draw a line that makes them to be there even more. You have to write down the date, possibly the place, you have to consider style over the more colloquialism that e-mails tend to make acceptable, but most of all, the act of writing a word takes more seconds over typing the same word, and it is during those extra seconds, where the eyes follow the ink lines that mark the paper, that the heart expands and feels the love it describes.
As for the receiver point of view, the beneficiary of the loving words, imagine the emotion of finding a letter in the mail box, holding it in their hands before opening it, savoring the pleasure that it contains, imagine being able to smell the page thinking it was touched by the loved one hands (in case the receiver is not in love with the writer,than forget about all this non-sense!),imagine the reader smiling at the clumsy drawings and cute spelling mistakes that the computer program wasn't there for, or watching the line of words progressively sliding downwards, making the whole serenade out of symmetry, a little bit like an out of tune song, but oh so truthful.
And finally, as my far-away friend pointed out pretending he doesn't know about this blog of mine, you can go back and shuffle through old letters and re-read them and re-feel them, but do people do that with e-mails? and would that have the same effect? and I would add this: that invisible string, that tension that keeps the love birds tied together in the waiting period between the moment the letter is sent and the moment it arrives at its destination,making it through long journeys and being at the mercy of a reliable postal service, doesn't that add to the whole experience?
The best love letter I have ever written I destroyed.It was a gigantic sheet of orange paper the table was too small to hold, I wanted that to represent the vastness of my love ,it was bigger than an open newspaper,you could have made it into a kite and stain the sky with a big orange spot full of words.that's what I should have done with it.
Dear Violet I hope you underline your books with pencil only!
My dear Gianduiotti ,I know you will always hold your spoon and fork in separate hands, it has to do with being the sons of the sons of the sons of the daughters!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

digression A

I'll get to part two in a minute....but I have to throw this thought out there first.
As I was driving to the bookstore this morning and spilling coffee over my skirt again ,because there is that bump just before the Ballard bridge that I always forget about , I thought: what if the kindle is to books what a nuclear bomb is to humanity? a bit negative I know, but I couldn't help letting the teasing self of me scare the wimpy self of me, and so I started writing this sci-fi novel in my head where,since books don't exist anymore, and we all depend on a screen for our reading, we might then as well try to get rid of all the primary activities of our existence that involve the use of our hands holding an object. Therefore, so it follows, that eating with fork and spoon, or spork (spoon and fork combined, I'm not kidding, they have it at my daughter's school lunch-room, why didn't the foon version of it make it?),would be inappropriate because it is substituted by a simple gesture of ingesting a pill full of proteins and vitamins (wait a minute, don't we do that already?), and what about holding that phone in your hand when you can have it attached to your ear? (hold on, that too is already in existance)...I can't bring up the example of writing letters cause that would fall into the category of the historical novel.
What will the act of looking at a book on a screen do to the act of holding a book in your hands? will we slowly drift towards a reality where reading a real book becomes as an obsolete act as writing letters to somebody? My opinion, and opinions are only opinions, is that ,what about those love letters? there's nothing that can replace them, you cannot write a love note via e-mail, or you could, but it would take so much warmth out of the message that you might as well leave a love message on an answering machine on your way to work. So,just as well, i don't think there is anything that can replace the act of holding that book in your hands ( or one hand if it is a paperback that one decides to wreck by bending it in two and having the front and back cover kiss, and making it instantly un-re-sellable, sorry, it's the merchant in me speaking now), unless we want to become so charged-batteries dependent.
I was having only a fraction of this conversation with a customer who was agreeing with me,but had to spoil it all by adding that her sister takes a full suitcase of books on vacation with her ,so a kindle would be good: why does her sister spend money on a vacation only to read is beyond me, but I refrained from demanding clarification, maybe reading Michener's Mexico in an expensive Cabo resort makes it a better read, and that is a thick book so thank you Mr Kindle, yes! the other question would be different plugging and electricity systems in order to maintain the device alive, but I think we can end the digression here.
ah ,one last thought goes to the fathers of Mr Kindle(digression B will be about why it is Mr Kindle and not Mrs Kindle) and the atomic bomb : why Mr Oppenheim decided to be the next Prometheus could become a long dissertation, by whom the Kindle was invented is clear: it must be somebody who suffers from mysophobia, fear of germs, never bought a used book ,and thought: the hell with the damn dirty things,I want to hold a clean screen instead!

Monday, April 12, 2010

the body and the onion- part one-

the word that connects these two images is "layers", and I like to think that everything is made of layers, like the body, like an onion, and the more you dig through, the more you get closer to the core. So it is with this metaphor that I will approach the digging into the body of the bookstore.
Like the outer skin of an onion and the skin and muscles of our body, Lamplight first layer consists of bookshelves, hand made one by one by a carpenter that once described himself as the happy carpenter who builds and works with wood like Mozart worked with the notes on a sheet of music, and if you are even only a little bit familiar with Mozart's combinations of notes, you can let your imagination run wild on the potential of his home furniture.
Those bookshelves that I found myself caressing with sand-paper and then coating with another layer of some clear paste product meant to protect them,on the first few days of the store's life, are the bare skin of its body and the bearers of the muscle system : the books. Hand-picked books, one by one, the chosen ones among many, individually spotted and transported into their new home, singled out and selected to be the strong muscles that will sustain the body and make it work.
since i'm talking about layers and beginnings, i will unveil the title of the very first book that was sold on that very beginning, the one that gave me the first dollar I should have symbolically put up on the wall and still have displayed and never did:
or maybe I should let you take a couple of guesses and answer in "the body and the onion-part two". Yes, that's what I'll do. a little hint: it was july 2003, what was popular then?

Friday, April 2, 2010

lets begin

this is the very first post of what is intended to be a virtual literary salon of a bookstore too small to have one for real in its premises.
As the sole participant so far, i will take the liberty to chose the subject and shape the monologue.
There will be updates on books i recently stumbled on, books i'm reading ,books i've lost, things i find in books, and so on and so forth.
the world of books is infinitely vast and to stare at it means to sit at the edge of a cliff with your feet hanging down looking at an abyss without end, and as you are doing that, your ego falls down into that abyss and you lose it ,because no matter how much you know about it ,your knowledge still ends up being a speck of dust blown by the wind.
However, it is that wind that takes us places and makes us discover new worlds and peep into new universes, and then ,being the social animals that we are, although we do everything and anything to deny it, we inevitably come together to share those travel adventures....and in the meantime life goes on
enjoy the journey