Bibliophile essay contest – Entrant #13

From Craig Harris @ Bridge of Dreams

Ok, I’ll admit it.
I started out with comic books.
Just a few at first, but it got out of hand pretty quickly.

I graduated to the hard stuff and quickly spiraled out of control. In high school I’d skip lunch and spend the money in musty bookstores on Jackson Blvd., their names long forgotten. By the time I was 16, I was over the edge. I conned my father into a major advance on my allowance to buy the signed, limited edition of Gary Snyder’s Regarding Wave at my regular haunt, Circle Books.

One day Doug and Gordon, who owned Circle and put up with me hanging around almost every day, paid me $20 to help them unload a shipment of books. Of course they knew full well I would spend that $20 right away – on more books.
Little did I know that would be my last paying work in the book business for almost 34 years.
Yes, I had been pulled into the maelstrom of … book collecting!
Almost five years ago I woke up, found I had been working all that time in the Family Business I Never Wanted To Be In, was running it in fact, and there was a bit of a rough spot – actually a major crisis. I did all the right things and was still turned out. There always has to be a fall guy. I looked around at the alternatives, and the more I thought about it – be your own boss, work from home, low overhead, no employees, travel on your own terms, and look at all this, well, inventory I’ve got to start with – the more sense it made to reinvent myself as a bookseller.

Now I ask myself why I waited so long to do this, and I don’t really have a good answer. So be it.

It’s not easy, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. There are advantages. I have very short meetings since it’s always clear who screwed up, and if I want a quick lift I can listen to the traffic report when I walk to the garage. And there’s never a lack of books to read.

Even that copy of Regarding Wave.

Craig

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