Calm Chaos

It’s a bit weird, isn’t it, that bookstores are such calm places?

Because books make such good agitators. They change our points of view, our lives, the world. Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath terrified politicians so badly they dissed it and him. To Kill a Mockingbird literally changed the way we do justice in America (Gott sei dank). Speak, We were the Mulvaneys… they and their sister titles gave voice to a group the rest of society considered illegitimate and wanted to shut down.

You don’t need a thousand other examples of titles that have left a lasting impact on us as individuals and societies to agree that books are revolutions in bound covers, waiting to unbind us.

Yet bookstores and libraries, the places where we access these whirlwinds of the mind? Calm, quiet, classical music playing in the background, librarians at the gate waiting to shush at the drop of a pin…..

Just another of the great ironies surrounding bookstore life; on the one hand nothing could be more relaxing than shelf-lined walls keeping out the bad stuff; on the other, we all know how much bad stuff is dissected in those pages.

I never have satisfactorily wrapped my head ’round the idea that in the midst of a maelstrom of literature advocating for change, the bookseller in his or her store sits like the eye of the storm, placidly passing out pieces of the Great Undoing.

But I really, really, like sitting in that eye….. :]

And now for something completely different: Don’t forget that the annual Big Stone Celtic Festival is gearing up for its usual mayhem and merriment. Held across the greater metropolitan area of Big Stone (four blocks) the festival is Sept. 22 this year. Even now the sheepdogs (and their sheep brethren) are working on their routine, the little Shetland ponies cleaning their hooves in anticipation, and the committee is going nuts trying to advertise with no money. So if you enjoy music, dance, story and/or food from the seven Celtic nations (Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales) c’mon down. Southern hospitality meets Celtic swords. It doesn’t get any better than this!


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Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized

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