Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Bookworms' Thrift Shop

Sunday I went to the festival.

Not Coachella or Stagecoach but books, festival of books.

In high school, I would spend random bits of time I had free between when school let out and when rehearsal began. That was usually an hour or two. The library was still open for business and I always found that my favorite game to play as major bookworm was a version of musical chairs, but with shelves filled with books.

My fingers trickled through each colorful bind, touching lightly the titles of my adventures into another place, another time. My head cocked completely to the side and pacing one foot in front of the other, I would entertain myself with the selection. Fiction was my first home and in it I found mystery, drama, psychological intrigues, romance, and unknown love of my literary life: Harry Potter.

The librarian, Mrs. Dacker, came to be a lovely friend of mine through the years I spent playing my game. She was always willing to recommend and I was always willing to accept. She was a hilarious woman who had a vivacious passion for books. I loved her immediately.

And then she spoke three words. Three small little words:

"Festival of Books."
Me: "I love you too."

She was making an informal field trip with her literature club and asked me if I wanted to come along. I was 15 and I knew I wanted to spend my Saturday in no other place but this festival of everything-I-loved. But, I wanted a buddy. Again, I was 15 and the idea of going with other kids I didn't know was not really cool, so I needed my buddy, my bookworm no. 2 : Elise Herrera.

Elise was two grades older. A senior, but a great companion, despite the age. (I mean any grade above your own was like the equivalent of 10 yrs.) She taught me to dance, and I taught her to bring out her inner geeky bookworm. Together, millions after millions of pages would be read.

This past Sunday was year 7. Yup, 7.

Elise on our Sunday morning walk from the shuttle stop to the Etc. Stage spoke of our future fame in later years to come as the number increased (we have no plans to stop ANYtime soon) and the L.A. times will one day catch on and BAM! we got a cover story and our own booth. That, would be our shining glory: our own white-tent booth. I would totally request as much artistic freedom as I could and make that booth the belle of the ball-or festival.

I'm thinking color. We'll have some drapery going on the walls. Patterned fabrics to bring out the homeiness of the tent. Have a painted fireplace to place in the back. And of course, shelves. Shelves of our books from festivals passed: the best of our collection and now handed down to the future festival-goers. Pictures framed of all our past visits will decorate the shelves, aging as you move along to really give our visitors a true scope of our tradition. Elise and I would sit to one corner, sipping herbal tea because it's better for our health at this age (mid-60s). We'll have a nice cafe table with two arm chairs because again, this place is a home.

We'll have our banner: "The Bookworm's Thrift Shop: our library is your library."

It'll be a hit, because any good bookworm knows the wisdom of another good bookworm and recognizes the quality as well as the quantity. Recommendations between book lovers never disappoints. The love shared for the printed word is so universal that despite genres, or different authors and tones, or subject matters, or techniques, one book lover to another will find a way to common ground and exchange.

It's the most diplomatic relationship in world.

Nothing would give my retirement pleasure than this future booth. And a picture in the internet paper (let's face that fact: newspaper is going full viral by my mid-60s).

My quest as a passionate advocate for literacy will find a satisfied destination in sitting in my comfy armchair, with my herbal cup of tea, watching others purchase and carry on the same books that I hope will move them too, with my friend Elise by my side telling me about a book I just have to read.

Long live the festival.


megs_elyse said...

I love the Festival of Books. I am jealous you have been going for 7 years!

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