All that was great and has served me well, but there was a missing component which, strangely enough, I just “got” very recently. The cosmic joke is that it was taught to me by the very people to whom I had developed a natural antipathy – the new breed of booksellers who, along with their corporate counterparts, have discovered that used, out-of-print, and rare books are Big Business. For years now I have ranted over their rudeness at sales as they shoved past me -- and into me -- to grab as many fetching little moneymakers as they could, rolled my eyes when they made such inane statements as, “You don’t gotta know nothin’ to sell books,” and seethed at the eternal beeping of the scanning devices which allow them to check the going rate for books on the Big River (a.ka. Amzon.com) via ISBN number.
“There sure was a lot of communing with the great god amazon today,” I’d tell my husband after a sale. We’d laugh, but inside I was becoming less and less amused.
Meanwhile as the hobby sellers reproduced like one-celled microorganisms the corporate entities became greedier and ever more paternalistic in their dealings with sellers. Little by little the original joy I had found in bookselling began slipping away. It’s not that I didn’t love my work. Nothing could take away the deep satisfaction of the books themselves, the exhilarating interaction with the customers, even the pleasure of such mundane tasks as cleaning and wrapping. But my attitude was nonetheless becoming as sour as an old pickle.
So then. Railing at external forces is a monumental waste of energy, not to mention damaging to the soul. Far better to simply live in the Light, walk my own path, and follow the river -- just not the one with the dot com extension.