Bibliophile essay contest – Entrant #6

from Dennis Mulcahy @ Second Story Books, Springfield

I am selling ideas and the wisdom of the ages. Masterfully constructed tales that can inspire hope and provide solace. I am selling entertainment and humor to lighten the ravaged soul. I am selling exotic theories and the simple universality we all share in being human.

I am selling Voltaire, Twain, Dickens, Vonnegut, Dunning, Erma Bombeck and Orson Scott Card. People come to me when they want to utilize solar energy, or build a canoe, save money for their retirement or delve into the infinite mysteries of the cosmos.

I sell time, hopefully well spent. To children, men, women and the occasional reading bear on the unicycle. Time that heals, and teaches and that fosters dreams. I sell dreams. Think of it.

One chain in the link. Writer, publisher, retailer, wholesaler, thriftstore, dreamseller. I have the power to decide which books will survive into the next decade, the next century, and which will be left unbought and tossed onto the scrapheap of mediocrity forgotten. I have the power to decide which books will survive…..
I sell a friend on a boring bus ride home from work. I sell the miracle of a child at play. I sell an old woman a memory long forgotten that is welcomed back with the blush of coy youth. I sell a man down on his luck the strength to continue, and an idea to better his lot.
I sell the uninitiated, initiation. The unloved, love. The uninspired, inspiration. The collector, the collectible. The unwanted a sense of belonging. And to those who thought they couldn’t ever dance again, I sell Happy Feet.

Sometimes, I give them away, free. And sometimes I make a lotta money from these ideas, these dreams. But most times I make just enough to get by. I am rich in books.

“An unlocked box, filled with leaves, speckled with ink” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

That’s what I sell, but I guess it all depends on how you look at it.


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