They say a busy person gets more done – they do say that, right? I really hope so because this month for some reason I find myself working 4-5 shifts a week at the bookstore/bar. Why did I take on more shifts?
Maybe I was picturing the days of yore, two or was it three years ago when I first started working there, where I would drift around a peaceful store with a book in my hand, dreamily place it on a shelf. I’d pour someone a beer, pick up another book. That was before Hudson became everyone’s favorite weekend and mid-week destination. We used to serve beer and two kinds of wine, red and white. Now there are ten wines, and even dreaded sake. Food to prepare and all the accompanying greasy dishes to wash. The tips are better but my cozy little slacker job feels like a full-time grind right now.
When I was driving to Hudson yesterday, a guy on a radio show was talking up his book about the good old days when artists like “Lucinda Williams…and, and Patti Smith!” worked in bookstores to get a foothold in the arts. “Quentin Tarantino worked in a video store!” How thanks to big corporations those days are gone, the little stores are gone, and artists are becoming hobbyists now because they’re not able to make a middle class wage publishing poetry or putting out records any more. I was clawing at the radio, practically driving the van off the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in exasperation – yes people don’t pay for music that much anymore and my quarterly BMI royalty check this week is half what my weekly bookstore paycheck is but I still have to believe I’m working for something greater. I wanted to grab the well-intentioned guy and say stop being a doomsayer and see individuals still coming up with new stuff and don’t equate having to do it in a different way than grandma or grandpa who had things like record deals, don’t equate that with failure. Can’t we see the job to make money part as the hobby and the work, the work goes on forever. same as it ever did?
And then I slung beer, wine and sake for eight hours and sold the occasional book. Talked about Hemingway with a customer. Wrote in my head. Came home with a wad of tip money. The warm cozy feeling has gone out of the place for me because my friend Karen isn’t there anymore. She lovingly ordered the books, rocked as a bartender, helped me get the job and we were compadres. Got to have someone to moan with – I miss her. At least we play music together now. There’s a Schoemer Formation show next week. It’s good to play again – even after all the touring my hand is out of condition for this stuff, it feels like a shriveled paw on the fretboard and keyboard. Must rehearse!
Got to keep up with the gym and yoga. I made a quick trip to the city last weekend and I hate to say, aside from the beautiful Matisse show the highlight was finding a pair of jeans at Uniqlo that fit me. Okay, maybe that was number one. Bette Midler in the elevator down from the Matisse exhibit, THEN the Matisse exhibit.
I have a goal to get to 100 pages for my draft revision by the end of February, I’m up to 40 so I still have a lot of work to do. How can I get anything done when I have to spend most of my waking hours hydrating my skin? Either moisturizing, drinking water, eating oily fish – this winter is killing me. And to think I didn’t go for living down south partly because of the humidity.
There’s an Eric & Amy show at our house at the end of this month, a Homemade Aeroplane January 31. We have a wonderful special guest coming over this weekend to work up a set with us, I am so excited – one of my favorite singers. Must rehearse!
The house looks like a tornado hit it and the laundry is piling up. Eric has been putting new cabinets and a counter in the kitchen, it’s beautiful but I swear everything we eat comes with a side of sawdust.
And before the end of the month, looking for that magic moment when the tire balance and check engine lights haven’t come on yet in the van so I can get it inspected. It can’t pass with the lights on. What repairs does it need? Maybe that’s why I’m working these extra shifts…
That’s enough of this list. Don’t you hate those “I’m so busy…” people? I’ve got to go open up the store.