I walked by the shell of my local Borders today.
It was a bittersweet moment. I know most people have already processed their feelings about the chain, but I - well, frankly, I didn't think I had any to process. Borders didn't carry my first book in hardcover, and it was a while before they started carrying any of my books at all, so I had a sort of immature petulant response to them - if they didn't want me then I sure as hell didn't want them.
And their customer service, the few times I went in the last few years, really was indefensible. No one knew where anything was. No one *cared* where anything was. The lines were long and they were always, frustratingly, out of the one thing I really wanted.
I remember taking my kids there, years ago, to the children's section, which had little carpeted benches and racks of delightful softcover books that were inexpensive enough I didn't mind buying a stack of them, knowing they'd be scribbled on and ruined. (I am *not* of the books-are-to-be-respected camp, despite my dad's best efforts. Books - like quilts - should be loved up and used up.)
I remember searching, furtively, through the how-to-write section when I was kinda sorta thinking of writing a full length novel. And later, I bought my Jeff Herman guide (remember those?) back when I didn't realize I'd have to query every single agent frog, hundreds of them, before finding my perfect one.
I worked in the cafe on my first manuscript, hoping no one would get close enough to look over my shoulder and see the embarrassing prose I was writing.
And once in a while I just browsed those lovely stacks of magazines, all the ones you couldn't get at the grocery store. Sometimes I bought Ellery Queen. Or Quilters Newsletter Magazine. Or the Atlantic. Or Ms. Or Allure Makeover edition. Or In Touch. I'm a magazine junkie, and on a bad day, it was an easy pick-me-up.
When I took this snapshot, the guy working on the construction, or demolition, or whatever they're doing in there, looked at me like I was nuts.
Not nuts. Just a little wistful.