By S.A. Harris
As an aspiring writer and avid bookworm, I depend upon the emotional inundation that springs from the four-letter word… book. It isn’t unusual for hopefuls to line up in sequence, a garland amongst snaking bookstore sidewalks, in anticipation of purchasing newly released tomes from their favorite authors. “Whatever it takes!” are the fluid words encamping dedication amid writers and readers alike.
Recently, having journeyed a notional superhighway of wireless connections, I had the pleasure of corresponding with The Secret Lives of People in Love author, Simon Van Booy. His acclaimed short story collection presented quite the impossible conquest, to which I lacked any amount of actual preparedness. Often curious, an about-face cartwheeled numerous inadvertent measures of having first seen his paperback prose—to wishing I’d purchased it—and infinite web surfing that serendipitously connected me to an award-winning writer with a keen sense of humor. Seemingly, a harmonic disarray of geographical persuasion, I muddled through an illusion of chaos as one such hopeful.
In the chill of early February, a monochrome skyline released a layer of snowfall that danced as if powdered sugar through a hopeful breeze… blanketing my bucolic hometown in a whimsy of white. Never a hindrance to the wiles of feminine philosophy, I ardently prepared for the day’s bargain adventures that commenced the bustle of Brentwood Boulevard. In a remote corner of Borders Bookstore, a friend stumbled upon a paperback of muted tones that nestled a nearby shelf of possible interests… she handed it to me saying, “Look, it’s autographed.” Thumbing the pages, we skimmed one after the other until contractual obligations and our disheveled shopping bags lent reminder to the rest of the afternoon’s binge activity. Alone with thought, I absorbed prevailing curiosity, and marveled at this writer’s collection of poetic themes… languishing details that hadn’t secured its bookshelf placement among the others in my library.
Two weeks later, as chance would have it, my fingers provoked the realms of MySpace, and I discovered an official page, which is not only maintained by the author, but also by someone called Tim, who loves Batman. After deciphering a personal blog entry posted in October 2007, with a deadline long since expired, I communicated with Mr. Van Booy regarding his imminent Writing Workshop… a picturesque escape through the Redwood Forest of Soquel, California, held in May 2008 at the Land of Medicine Buddha. A precarious inquiry tested the destiny of my aspiring vocation, but I leapt unreservedly at opportunity and with serious avidity to learn. Soon an onslaught of research was underway and after several e-mail inquiries concerning the retreats ‘facilitative guest amenities’, my girlish blow-drying requirements were obviously exposed. Though, Simon Van Booy assures a valid realization, “There is electricity; I’ll even bring a blow dryer if you want…”
Suddenly, a compelling need to read his collection flooded as I hoisted the anchor of expectancy… completely innocent of the challenge ahead. Somersaulting beyond credence, from Borders Bookstore to Barnes & Noble and back again, I attempted a return venture to the original bookshelf where I had last seen the illusive, waiting copies of The Secret Lives of People in Love. After this moronic escapade, I was affronted by a window display verifying an obvious Blue Period in the world of book findings, as a daring glare of flagrant, crimson letters quantified my contempt…Temporarily Closed Due To Water Main Break. (To this day, the aforementioned remains a depressing carcass of orphaned literature.) My mind marveled a series of Machiavellian tactics before frantically dialing another prominent bookstore.
“I’m looking for…,” I said evenly, having collected myself during the twenty-second stride of Murphy’s Law to the warmth of my car.
“Great, we have books!” And I wanted to exile the anonymous salesperson.
Briefly I explained, confiscating submerged particulars, and she responded empathetically, “Borders has it, but it’s probably floating in water by now.”
“Yes... thank you, I’m in the parking lot.” I offered gently, before strangling my cell phone and ineffectual city navigator.
The literary conversion of crisis and circumstance shed an air of Hitchcock to the universal declaration of booklovers… though when I shared this turnabout during the untailored flow of conversation, the Secret Lives author responded wittily to the tale of idiosyncratic pangs of calamity and fate, “That’s funny… I wonder if they were inside in rubber shoes with wrenches…”
Outwardly, I discern this technology driven amusement as it seeps from the realms of a luminous computer screen, bludgeoning me with cybershopping awareness, I wish I’d thought of first.
Yes, Mr. Van Booy… I’m convinced they were.