Thursday, November 14, 2013

The name, of course, is a lie

Some facts, in no particular order:

I miss Usenet. I miss Usenet like I lost a limb. No, not a limb; a digit. Not vital, but still, not nothing. Usenet was where I found my community - communities - online, where I found my voice, where I admitted, once on a second Sunday of a blue moon, that I might Write. I miss the connections, the arguments, the thinking, the humor, the flirting. Wordplay, food, sex. Yup. Usenet. It changed my life.

Books. I am a bookworm. When I totted up my life experience once, I realised that nearly every job I'd held, except for McDonald's and a battered women's shelter, had been book-related. Public libraries, new bookstores, used bookstores, a university library: book jobs. It still took a while for me to warm to the idea of opening my own bookstore. It seemed, and is, a lot like work. So I own a bookstore, on the Main Street of my hometown, Perry, Wyoming County, New York. The part of New York State with cows in it.

*The blog name is a lie. Well, it's a play on Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend, the comic strip by Winsor McKay. McKay drew Little Nemo in Slumberland, probably more famous, in which the child Little Nemo would have dreams of adventures in a fantastic country. The Rarebit Fiend comic was also dream-based: each strip was about someone having a fantastic dream, then waking to realise they'd eaten rarebit, a supposed cause of nightmares, for dinner. McKay's drawing were intricate and beautiful line work. He also did early animation, with a character which emerged from an ink bottle, and Gertie the Dinosaur, drawn so that McKay would interact with her on stage, touring the country. (I was lucky enough to see a screening of some of his animation, in the year I spent in college.) So when I wanted a name for the as-yet-unrealised comic strip I daydream of someday writing (illustrator(s) needed), I came up with "Dreams of a Rare Book Fiend", combining my love of books with my love of McKay's work and of wordplay. My love of accuracy, however, makes me admit the lie: I am not a fiend about rare books - or not _particularly_ about rare books. I am a rabid and voracious book accumulator. But there's no fun title in that.

So why a blog? One, to connect. Usenet connected me to people - my people? - all over. I miss the conversation. I want to join a conversation. Maybe I'll start one. What about? for now, books. Of course. A savvy bookseller would probably be promoting new books that you can buy in my store. Me, I'm kicking off with the books I love, the books that, maybe, made me, me. You'd think that owning a bookstore would give the opportunity to sell those books to others. Not nearly enough. And I don't care if you buy them, but if you love them already, let's talk; if you don't, maybe I'll introduce you to one that you'd like to read. Maybe it will change your life, too. A little.


  1. However, book fiends are not as common as they once were, so in that sense you may well be a rare book fiend.

  2. I know what you mean -- Usenet changed my life in similar ways, pretty much all for the better.