speaking volumes

this post inspired purely by erin’s post this morning.  if you aren’t already following her blog, why the hell not?  she is phenomenal as both a writer and a woman.

powell’s has meaning to so many people, and for me i don’t have anything especially creative to write, just thinking about some of the memories over my life thus far of this place…

(for those of you who don’t know about this place, it’s over 68,000 square feet, over 1M volumes, takes up an entire city block, the rows all look like this picture, and you can usually find a used version of whatever you are looking for – i stopped buying new eons ago, not just eco-wise but it’s hella cheaper!)

*  first and foremost, i’ve been going here since i was teeny weeny.  the coffeeshop used to be much smaller and the kid’s section was on the way up the stairs to the coffeeshop.  my dad and i would go and he would seek out louis l’amour and i would get another book in the black stallion saga, or louisa may alcott.   we wouldn’t look together – we’d split up and meet in an hour at the coffee shop.

* i read the basketball diaries by jim carroll based on a recommendation by a cute geeky boy (ooh, my favorite!) behind the counter when i was 14.  it was a whole world far away from the purity of my own youth.

* ee cummings.  someone shared somewhere i’ve never traveled, gladly beyond, and i was absolutely hooked. he’s been my favorite ever since.  i have a big old ancient collection of his work i got at powell’s (my dad also got me, years later, an even bigger collection, from the tattered cover in denver, but it was shiny and new and i still rarely open it, funny huh).

* ally sheedy.  when i was 16 or 17, ally sheedy (the coolest of the breakfast club alumni) wrote a book of poetry and i sat in the front row at her reading at powell’s, watching her read excerpts from her life broke out into stanzas.  she was beautiful, it was an effort for her.  i couldn’t afford her book at the time but she signed my copy of rolling stone with sinead o’connor on the cover (funny the things we remember) and said how much she loved sinead.

* maya angelou – i have every book of hers, and every word has meaning, and every volume is an old used paperback from powell’s.  she has helped me in my thirties really see how beautiful it is to have led a non-traditional life, to not worry that i haven’t followed the path i was told i needed to follow.  that i will still find what i’m looking for in a way that fits me.  a few years ago i saw her speak and it was like church.

* my dad used to collect old peanuts books.  his younger girls never understood it.  they didn’t get lost in books, and in powell’s, like we did.  we never left powell’s without stacks of books under our arms.

you can guess who i think of, when i think of powell’s.  it, like roses, is his ghost that watches over me.


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