Sunday, March 14, 2021

another hard anniversary

i don't even know how to put this day into words.  one year ago today, as things were ramping up with the virus, i left the store on what would be the last "normal" day.  it's so strange to remember what that time was like.  we all knew things were about to change.  the store had a very good week because folks were stocking up on books to read for the inevitable shelter-in-place order. (if only we had known what was coming.)

i got my first COVID symptoms just 5 days later.  some of the next days and weeks are hazy at best.  i was sick for several weeks.  tests were scarce then; i didn't officially test positive until mid-april.  businesses in nashville weren't allowed to reopen until mid-may.  i had to wait another week or so to get a negative test.  

i knew by then that my new landlord was not going to renew my lease and that i had to be out of the store by june 30.  i had just 6 weeks to sell what i could and pack and store everything else.  i scheduled appointments with regulars and first-timers too.  gone were the days of walk-in customers.  

the dream of my lifetime was coming to a swift end.  

it's impossible to describe what the store meant to me.  to walk in there every morning and see the fruits of my labor, to leave every night and say, "goodnight bookshop" like i was talking to a friend, was what i always wanted.

there is nothing like the feeling of having a complete stranger come in and have a good time, compliment the curated selection, the music playlist, the d├ęcor, spend a few minutes talking about their favorite book, get a recommendation and buy a few books.  that will always be my greatest professional achievement.  i don't expect anything to ever rival that feeling.  i miss it every day.  

i don't know what the future holds for me.  i try to be grateful that i got to live my dream for a little while.  but today it really hurts. 

grace and peace and bookstores forever  

Monday, June 29, 2020

the night before

i'm heartbroken tonight.  tomorrow is the last day on the lease for the bookstore.  even though the store is closed already i still have a key to the place on my keyring.  i still have a few last minute things (2 pictures of wintson-the black dog) on the walls yet to get.  

tomorrow i load the last of my stuff and leave my key behind.  i'm looking forward to a few weeks of rest and recovery but i dread the emotions to come.  i cry at the drop of a hat these days and that's to be expected, i guess.

i dread the inevitable "you'll find something better" comments on my social media posts because i don't want to hear it.  why is it so damn hard for people just say, "i'm sorry.  this sucks!"?  there will never be anything "better" than owning my own bookstore.  I may indeed find a great, fulfilling job but it sure as hell won't be "better!"

i can't believe everything got done.  when i got there yesterday morning i didn't think there was any possible way.  4 loads yesterday and 3 loads today and it's all but in the books (no pun intended). 

it's almost 10:00 pm and i'm headed to bed -about 3 hours earlier than normal.  i just need a little rest to face tomorrow. 

grace and peace    

Saturday, June 27, 2020

a dreaded day

today is the day i've dreaded for days, weeks, months:  the day i had to move the contents of my office to a storage unit.  the bookstore is almost completely empty now.  i have 3 days left on the lease and i'll have to work part of all 3 of those days to get everything done in time.  i was blessed today with helpers (in fact, i had more than enough) but i still felt like i was alone.

the problem with not having a business partner, an investor, even a husband, is that i have to suffer these kinds of things - the big stuff - all alone.  no matter how many people show up on a day like today, i still have to face it all on my own.  i have to sit with all my decisions and all my sadness alone.  

(full disclosure:  my brother just called to check on me - he helped today.  full, full disclosure:  i prefer to be alone - i don't mourn that decision.)  

anyway, i'm beyond tired and sad.  i just want to pile up in bed with my pug and my book and not think for a while.  

grace and peace. 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

a decade beyond

ten years today since the flood.  it feels like a lifetime.  it also feels like one continuous event that has a definite beginnning but no discernible end.  

in light of the events of the last several weeks i find that some of the anxieties i haven't felt in a while are back:  the sensitivity to sirens, the disdain for filling out forms, AKA begging for money, (for unemployment, for a small business loan, for any and all help for which i'm eligible), and an overwhelming agoraphobia.

i've been behind the wheel of my car only 4 times in 6+ weeks.  three times i went to my bookstore (1 mile from my home) and once i went to get a COVID-19 test (about 10 miles roundtrip).  when i was sick i didn't have the energy to feel my anxiety but now that i'm symptom-free it's here with a vengeance.  just in time for this anniversary.  ugh.  i avoid social media and all local news on this day.  it helps.  i avoided a breakdown today until the 23rd hour.  

at 11:00 pm i happened upon a hill street blues rerun.  the music from the opening credits (if you're my age or older you know what i mean!) sent me into an emotional frenzy.  once the tears started to flow it took a while to get them to stop.  

i'm wrung out.  i do my best not to let the day get to me.  but my body knows and responds anyway.  it's a quarter till midnight.  i will watch for the clock to greet may 3 (my best friend's birthday) and i will fall into bed.

grace and peace and more peace, please          


Tuesday, April 28, 2020


my bookstore has been closed for 6 1/2 weeks but i certainly don't feel like it. i was sick for 4 weeks! (3 of which i had a fever) so that time is just lost. the only way i am sure it's been so long is the state of my bank accounts.  after 5 weeks, my unemployment was finally approved. i still haven't been paid yet but i know it's coming. that's something. i'm expecting my stimulus check any day now too. i've applied for tiny small business loans and other resources as well.  

no news on when i'll be able to open. we have to have 14 days of declining numbers. as of today i think we are on day 1. (and we aren't testing on tuesdays-just monday, wednesday, friday.) we'll see.  

i miss this place but i won't go back until it's safe. it's a lot of stress to know that i have to make this decision. having had the virus, i know how scary and serious it is and i will not put my customers at risk.  

each of us is in a tough spot right now and we have to make the best decisions for ourselves, our families and our neighbors. i do feel the added pressure to not make a mistake that affects one of my customers.  that last week i was open i felt like i was doing everything right - i cleaned the door handles, the bathroom, the tablet, etc. after every customer left the store and i still contracted the virus.  

stay safe, y'all. stay home if you can. wash your hands. wear a mask. we're all in this together.

grace and peace and health


Monday, March 30, 2020

more of the same

today i don't feel good.  i mean, i really don't feel good.  i'm not worse i'm just exhausted from the shortness of breath.  i feel like my lungs weigh 100 pounds a piece.  y'all, this virus is no joke.  

i applied for unemployment yesterday.  i wasn't sure i would able to since i'm self-employed but these are extraordinary times.  i hope that it is approved because i can't live without it.  my money is disappearing and i have nothing coming in.  i'm quarantined until at least april 8 and there is a mandatory closure of non-essential businesses until april 15.  i can't imagine for a minute that the date won't get pushed.  we are weeks from the apex of this.

i don't feel well enough to be anxious.  all i can do is concentrate on breathing.  maybe that's a blessing.  i'm unsure about everything right now but i'm not very anxious at the moment.  i am, however, anxious about not being anxious.  i'm worried that it will blindside me when i finally feel better.

i'm gonna try not to borrow trouble and keep doing what i'm doing.  i'm reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies (and more tv than ever in my life) and listening to a lot of records.  i want to write more than i am but i don't really feel well enough to be creative in that way.  here's hoping it comes before this is over. 

grace and peace           

Thursday, March 26, 2020

virus from hell

well, y'all, is this surreal or what?  i'm having a hard time getting my mind around it.  i've had mild symptoms for about a week now.  my doctor's office is confident i have it and that i picked it up at my bookstore.  i really only spoke with a doctor because i have asthma and i wanted to be sure that i had a new inhaler handy just in case.  he called it in and CVS pharmacy mailed it to me.  i'm now quarantined until at least april 7 - which is my birthday.

i'm glad i closed the store when i did.  i've been closed since i left there on saturday the 14th.  unfortunately i ran a few errands on that weekend, and early last week, to stock up on groceries, etc.  i sure hope i didn't make anyone else sick. 

i'm anxious about the store being closed and no money coming in.  however, for some inexplicable reason, i'm only a little anxious.  maybe it's that i'm sick.  maybe it's that i can't do one single thing about it.  maybe it's that i know that no matter what happens - whether i'm closed a month or whether i never open again - that somehow i will be fine.  see, i've survived worse.

so many people are in my boat right now.  i am confident that we will pull together and survive this.  and there are so many folks who are very sick and dying and so many families who have already lost loved ones that my little bookstore and my chest pain and my shortness of breath seem inconsequential.

i'm angry that people still aren't taking it seriously.  i'm angry that huge corporations are putting profits ahead of people.  i'm angry that the federal government will bail out the corporations and that most of us will get a $1,200 a few months.  how will $1,200 pay for months of my closed store?  how will $1,200 help a family who lost one or both incomes for weeks upon weeks. how will $1,200 help most people when it won't even cover one months rent?  

ugh...i'm exhausted.  take care of yourselves.  wash your hands, keep your distance when you have to go out, stay home as much as you can.

grace and peace