Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crossing Borders

So, we've come to that fork in the road. I guess I should have seen it coming as soon as I heard, as early as 2008, that Borders was in trouble. It was eventual that they would be losing business and would be closing some stores. Naively, I just thought they would close twenty or thirty. Surely that can't mean all of them, I thought.
But, no, it was true.

It hits me hard to know that a fine chain like this would be closing its doors.

Why does it hit me hard?

Several reasons.

Borders, namely the one in Oak Park, was always my constant escape hatch. When things weren't so cheery at home, all I had to do was walk, hitch a ride with a friend or just drive there myself. I'd go there to relax, read, drink a mocha frappe from the cafe. The usual. I was so used to coming in, the minute I'd walk in I'd stretch my arms, roll my neck and head for the shelves.

I think the longest stretch of time I spent in a Borders was nine hours. Yeah, I bought a couple, okay, several, okay, a couple bags of books but that was just my thing. I think twice I've taken a nap in a chair at Borders. That bookstore was my second home.

A couple years go by and I finally come across the fact that there's an open mic night called the Lucid Apple once every month. I told my first story, Failing Upwards, there in February of 2010. It was the night of my life. I told more stories as the months went by. I did mostly stuff from my first and second short story collection. I read The Nature of a Second Hand, Powerless, The prologue to Mr. Dead Eyes, The prologue to Wearing Donnie Torr, Lighter, The Graveyard Shifters, I Want to be a Monster, The Flight of Red Sophia, and finally Ghostbusted, which was my first nonfiction essay.

Each night I had weak knees, terrified, but still came running back for more.

Now, with Borders liquidating, everything is falling apart. No more Open Mic's. They are trying to move to a different place, which I hope they do, but right now they are negotiating for one more night which seems damn near impossible to get. I hope they keep it going, though. I will definitely show up. But it's a rough sock to the gut.

I knew what the problem was. It was eReaders. A takeover. If Borders was just a few years earlier with the Kobo, who knows, it might have been Barnes and Noble closing.

I stopped by the Borders in Naperville for one quick look at what I feared most.

July 23rd, 2011: To borrow Roosevelt's line is, "A [day] that will live in infamy."

This one picture gives me chills...

Everything must go, hardly anything did...

I weep for the Future...

Had to do my last tribute to Borders by planking. The two books in my hand are Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski and The Man who Loved Books Too Much...

So long, Borders. I wish I could've stocked my books in you.

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