In Honor of National Indie Bookstore Day.

Gertrude & Alice's bookstore

I admit, I’m a bit of a stalker when it comes to indie bookstores.

Whenever I visit a new city, the first place I look for is the nearest independent bookstore. I’ve even amassed quite a collection of bookmarks from The Tattered Cover in Denver, Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor and Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

It was in an indie bookstore in New Hope, Pennsylvania that I stumbled across a book called The New Diary by: Tristine Rainier. I had attempted to keep diaries over the years with many pages filled with the hastily scrawled words “forgot to write.” The obligation to write on every dated page was stifling. The New Diary opened up a new way of journal writing that was more spontaneous, deeper and even (gasp) fun. I began filling up blank pages with my words.

Then one day I was attending a seminar in Philadelphia. During the lunch break I browsed this amazing little bookstore off Sansom street. I can still see the table filled with this book called Writing Down the Bones. Just the title gave me goosebumps. I picked it up, stroking the image of ink spilling across the cover, already aware on some level that my life was about to change.

I began filling notebooks with what Natalie Goldberg called writing practice. Practice made it easier to approach. I wasn’t “writing.” I was practicing.

I was becoming a writer.

Of course, the flip side of writing is reading.

Read the rest of the article here.

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