You know, I hope, what a bookseller means when he says he’s had a good day. A good day is the kind of day when you discover an excellent “find”, perhaps nestled among the shelves of a library sale or another dealer’s shop. A good day is the day when you sell a fine book to someone who is happy to buy it. A good day is a day when you get to talk to book collectors or other booksellers. A good day is the opening day of a book fair. Actually, those days are great days!
Today is not by any means a bad day, but it is not a day that hits the apex of a good day as a bookseller. You see, I want nothing more than to prepare for this weekend’s book fair. I want nothing more than to lock myself in my house and work on nothing but the Dante catalogue until it’s complete. I want to do nothing more than plan my August trip to UCLA Rare Book School. Today, I couldn’t do any of these things.
We’re coming into the home stretch of school and sports in the Bay Area. This week we have the last book report, the last history report, and the last science project of the year (Tom’s 4th grade assignments — he is fairly independent, but does need to be supervised when working on these big projects). We have the last class field trips. We have the final guitar lesson/recital. We have the final Cub Scout meeting of the year. Soon it will be the final Little League Baseball game. Add to that a dog who needs veterinary care, cooking, and laundry and I’m too tired to think straight.
Meanwhile, I do not have a final list of books I’m bringing to the Gold Rush Book Fair nor a final draft of the Dante catalogue. I want to work on building my business but there just aren’t enough hours in the day this week. Life can be like this, sometimes. The balance you work hard to attain between your life and your work shifts heavily in one direction for a while. This week, the balance has shifted toward family activities. While I like all of the family activities very much, I also like it very much when I get time to work on my book business. Soon enough it will shift back to a more even distribution.
On days like today, I remind myself that one day in the not so distant future my children will be grown. They won’t need me to drive them to sports practices and games, to supervise their studies, or to listen (for the 100th time today) to what they’ve learned to play on the guitar. If my posts seem a little rushed lately, or less bookish, or more like a daily diary rather than a thoughtful reflection on the bookish life, this is why. I remind myself that my books, permanent objects, will still be here when my kids are grown, but that childhood is ephemeral. I want to make the most of this time, even — no — especially — on the days when family demands leave little time for books and blogging.
School is out for the summer in just a couple of weeks. We’re in the home stretch, now, and running toward the end-of-the-year finish line with all our might. I expect things to shift back toward a more balanced approach when we reach it. Thanks for reading!