Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Raisin in the Sun (with apologies to Langston Hughes)

On Monday, the Two Writing Teachers had this quote:

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
— Harriet Tubman

Once upon a time, I had a dream. And every now and again, I still have it. Wouldn't it be cool to own a bookstore?

 I know the world of books is changing. I've heard the battle of paper vs e-ink, of Amazon vs everyone, of closing locations and "no one reads".  But. I still have this dream.

When I first had it, I was pregnant with my now 17-year-old daughter. I was gonna call it Books and Beans. Because you can't have a bookstore without a coffee shop. But, I wasn't being practical. It was just a dream.

Many years later, it came back. This time, the opportunity came in the form of moving from the elementary classroom into the middle school library. From 2nd grade reading, writing, and arithmetic to books. The only thing I knew at that time was it had to be similar to running a bookstore. I could get the basics: budgeting, ordering, displaying, "selling".  And in the meantime, I could learn about opening a bookstore. 

So, I got that book: Opening a Bookstore. And Bookselling for Dummies. And I got on the ABA mailing list and, at first, even joined GLIBA, the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. I visited children's bookstores in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois to get ideas. I worked at Starbucks for 6 months to learn about coffee. I corresponded with a bookstore owner. I did a marketing plan. I was on all the publisher's mailing lists, I got Shelf Awareness (before it came out with a reader's edition), and Bookselling This Week. I put it in writing. I prayed about it. I had all these plans: a blue box for book rentals (you know, like RedBox?), a teacher's book club complete with lesson plans and huge discounts, a frequent buyer's card that you didn't have to pay for, an audiobook sample station like they used to have for music, a fantastic e-commerce site to rival Amazon's, a bookmobile, readers as sales people. I would be like the Shop Around The Corner on steroids (if you haven't seen You've Got Mail, I'm not sure what to say to you.). 

One day I was going to do this. After the daughter reached this age, or finished that grade, or something else. 

I kept deferring.

Then, I just stopped dreaming. 

Could this be where my flux capacitor went?

I'm joining the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I'm late to the game but I'm staying until the end. #slice2013


  1. I think that running a bookstore is one of those things that sounds WAY better than it really would be. Maybe working in a bookstore would be enough. All the worry for someone else! And I had to do that poem in speech in high school... along with reading from Jonathan Livingston Seagull!

  2. I would totally be there at your bookstore... I bet you could find a job for me :)

  3. I kind of wish I could fly over to you, Ms. B, and just give you a giant huge and a major motivational speech.

    I think you have the knowledge and the guts to actually make this happen, and I think it would be a huge hit. There's not really any good independent book store in that area (aside from Anderson's, which is 4 hours away), and there definitely is a large base of readers there. So if you're looking for me to say something, I say go for it. Because clearly, with all the research and dreaming and believing you did when you became the middle school librarian, you know how to do it.

    You just have to do it.

    (Also, Raisin in the Sun? I kind of feel like you put that title up there for me to get all emotional about English Bowl and about how much I miss doing it. Although this could be just being sentimental.)

    1. Funnily enough, I was missing English Bowl myself! I gave it up last year to Mr. Howard because I was too busy. Now that they are taking WDMS back off my plate, maybe I can convince him to give it back to me??

      I think I just have to do it too. It just keeps coming back. I am going to take a business plan writing class or entrepreneurial class and start there.

      Thanks for always having my back. I miss you.

  4. Gasp! You are so ready to have your bookstore!
    One day...which day, specifically, did you stop dreaming?
    What happened that day to make you stop? The moment you gave up...


Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


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