Beneath the moonlight
The cliffs are fingers of a
Great hand that shakes me
I’ve got less than a month left here. I’m not sure when I’ll be back and at the same time that this lack of knowledge worries me I am assured by my memories of January that set dates do little to add or take away from the sort of excitement that this place implants into your consciousness.
In a game of chess the master will ride on the wave of singular victories en-route to a checkmate that has been in the works since the first successful attack. In this way the constant building and rearranging and detailing have transformed the bookshop of my earlier memories into a storefront that rivals any bookshop on the planet. The downstairs living area sleeps 12 comfortably with the second level that Tim and I put in just before the masses began to arrive, and since Quinn and Karisha have moved into the space and detailed it to their liking it has become a section of the compound with its own personality. It must be mentioned that the arrival and building expertise of Quinn has sparked a third major building phase, one that beautified and sectioned off the living area in a way that all can appreciate. The cubbies and shelves that Quinn built have made our floors less clogged and the office area of the downstairs back bedroom has been transformed from a mess of cables and computers into a functioning workspace that is safe from the deadly dust that has caused all electronic equipment great pain. The photographs on the walls outside leading to our stairway have sparked the curiosity of more than a few otherwise cautious tourists, and everything from the newspaper rack to the plants to the freshly painted benches with poems written on them make every visitor understand that this is meant to be a place where the casual browse is only the beginning. We have even devised a way of diverting their attention from what is obviously a bathroom, placing small book displays on the stairs to keep them from adding to our plumbing problems.
The store is a place that I feel drawn to from all corners of this small village, including the downstairs living space. I find myself alone in the back room at different times of day, on windy mornings before the sun has risen or after midnight if the others are downstairs watching a film, staring blankly at the massive icon that pulls in unknowing costumers and leaves them gazing in wonderment at the entirety of our living dream. The books of the back room, fiction and drama, new and used, engulf the parameters of your sight whether you like it or not, and I like to imagine the masses of words that speak to each other when the lights are turned off, whispering so as to not wake up Craig sleeping in the mezzanine. Of course, Craig has probably just gone to sleep as the sun begins to rise, but the all of the characters in all of our books, tattered or crisp, must quiet themselves out of respect for the one that makes their shelf life possible. Having known Craig as long as I’ve known anyone, I can think of no one else that I would have followed out here as blindly as I did. I didn’t know these people, I didn’t know this place, and I didn’t know how much of a pampered baby I was before coming here, but with one month to go in my first season here I can safely say that coming here was no mistake. I sit in our bookshop and remember the shelves as empty vessels waiting for knowledge and magic and failure and triumph, stories about an anonymous turd in a toilet and stories about bullfighting and California, plays about nothing and Shakespeare plays that I’ve never wanted to read. When I look at the shelves now as the people slowly duck their heads in from the blinding light and staggering view, I feel a kinship with each character in every book and I’m overwhelmed by the feeling of wanting to walk around the shop with their wellbeing in mind, handing books to travellers that might have only come down the stairs to ask for directions or thinking we were the way down to the beach. I want to sit them down and talk about their favourite books and I want to invite them back.