Monday, March 23, 2015

This ain't the Rosedale library. Anymore.

Goddammit. I'm so mad my bowels are in a knot, or maybe it's the wassabe peas I had for dinner – nevermind – truth is, I am more sad than mad.

I just lost an old friend.

News yesterday of the grim reaper locking the doors of my all-time favourite bookstore made me want to puke. This Ain't the Rosedale Library was more than just a place to buy books. It was the boyfriend who opened the door, and guided you though a room with his hand on the small of your back – and not just because he was hoping to get laid.

This Ain't the Rosedale Library, when I knew it, was located deep in the "fruit belt" as they called that particular section of Church Street in Toronto. I stumbled in there one day because I loved the name, and I loved reading.

Love at first sight is the only way to explain my experience with this small, independent bookshop. The less-than-librarian-looking staff gleefully recommended one book, which started a domino effect of reading one can't-put-down book after another. I became a regular. I even had a "This Ain't the Rosedale Library" t-shirt. I recall walking in and commenting, "I just read this and loved it" and the owner, Charlie would say something like, "If you loved that, this one will blow your mind." They were always right. It was there I fell in love with travel writing, short stories, Raymond Carver, Dervla Murphy, Barbara Trapido and a myriad of broken spines that kept me going long after my lights flickered on and off, and on again.

This Aint't the Rosedale Library knew me. They got me. They liked me at a time when I didn't even like myself.

I started this blog at a time when I didn't even like myself. Business was dead bloody slow and many of my long-established clients were unable to advertise the way they used to – the way they needed to in order to keep their cash registers ringing. I naively set out to somehow help independent businesses by tying in their existence with my miserable life.

Along the way, together we won a few – and lost a few. Havenot lost one of its lovely, independent bookstores when Frog's Hollow went tits up. And Buckley's Music store died. Sadly, the list is growing. Competing with amazons like Amazon and big box stores is like pissing in the wind. At some point your spirit breaks and you succumb.

Holy crap, this is beginning to bore even me, so all I can say is: shop locally if you have a choice. Atlantic News. Sweet Janes. Woozles. Thornbloom. Jost. Blossom Shops. Juliens. The Teazer. Maritime Travel. Pete's Frootique. What would our streetscapes look like without Mills, Sock-it-to-Ya, The Armview, The Ardmore, or The Trail Shop? Go stand in front of Walmart and see how warm and fucking fuzzy you feel.

Having said that, I confess to wading into Chapters on occasion. They usually have what I want.

But they never, ever, have what I need.