“I went to a cobbler to fix a hole in my shoe/ He took one look at my face and said, ‘I can fix that hole in you.’”
-Jenny Lewis, “Acid Tongue”
We live in a physical time and space so full of material good that no material good amounts to anything meaningful.
That’s why we shop at Lemuria: not simply to purchase a book, but for the historic writerly voodoo spread like trails of fairy dust along our floor-to-ceiling shelves. The legacies of the writers who have made Lemuria have fermented into a sense of destiny presented by the pure chance on which you place your trust, your “blind date” with a book.
We had someone call the other day and ask if we still did the blind-date-with-a-book thing that was a Valentine’s Day promotion.
“Every single day,” Abbie told them.
(Or, I hope she did.)
We had another woman call and ask if we had anything nearly as good as Ed Tarkington’s new novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart. I put her on hold and collected a fat stack of novels that ran the gamut of mine and the other booksellers’ favorites.
“Send them all via UPS,” she said. “ASAP.”
Booksellers do not deal with the emergencies of emergency room nurses, doctors, and EMTs. Booksellers do not provide the therapy of speech pathologists or psychologists, and we definitely do not give massages. Booksellers do not go home with the existential exhaustion of school teachers, police officers, lawyers, and policy makers.
Instead, we are here seven days a week for all of your happy emergencies of inspiration. When you are not arguing legislation, testing water samples, planning units, and climbing scaffolding, we will ride with you through your exhilaration about discovering Greg Iles for the first time. We will guide you towards private forays in the foreign fiction section with writers like Roberto Bolaño and Elena Ferrante.
I am only here for two months, but I encourage everyone, when told, “Let us know if we can help you find anything,” to respond: “Yes. My name is [your name here.] I am [insert description of daily life]. I’d love something to temper the everydayness.”
A former Lemuria bookseller, Whitney is back with us temporarily before she heads off to Tallahassee to start her MFA in Creative Writing at Florida State University.