My house groaned like an old angry ghost, one with a fondness for my closet or at least the attic area above it. Unable to sleep, I pulled my covers up to my chin and tried to ignore it. I knew it was just the sounds of my house fighting against the Nor’easter winds. I wasn’t actually worried…OK, maybe I was worried a little…
I hated to admit it. But I felt like a little girl again, lying in the dark and staring at her closet, worried the boogeyman might jump out. However, this time my boogeyman was the wind trying to snap the rafters of my roof in two.
As I listened to my house make sounds no house should make, I felt terrible for mocking my daughter’s school district for canceling classes because of “high winds.” (What would be next, I’d thought just hours before, canceling school because the sun shone too bright?)
The aching house even roused my dog from her very deep slumber. I pet her and cooed “everything will be fine.” She settled back down and went to sleep in seconds, as only animals can do. While I stayed awake, my head swirling with thoughts of trees crashing through my roof.
When I woke the next morning, there was no giant tree in my roof. However, the winds continued to lash so hard roads were closed and power outages stretched across the region. It was generally assumed people would stay indoors.
A day indoors? Who was I to complain? It was just an excuse to read! That was fine for Saturday. By Sunday I was done with nature keeping me inside. I needed to get out. Specifically, I needed my book fix!
I had two goals. 1) Print out the latest version of my sequel to The Travelers (very aptly named Travelers II) for my final beta reader, who prefers hard copies and 2) visit my favorite bookstore, Scrawl Books, which just reopened.
Sure perhaps these weren’t the best reasons to head out into 70 mph winds. But the internet just said “gusts up to” 70 mph, which I translated to mean just a few here and there. (And who am I to question the internet?) Plus the groaning attic ghost seemed to have settled down and when I looked out the window, I saw sunshine. How bad could it be?
(You see, while the upper Northeast states got hit with rain and snow along with their crazy winds, we just got wind and confusion. Because no one expects to be smacked in the face by a cold, harsh wind while the sun is shining outside like it’s spring.)
Undeterred by the potential for a wind-lashing, my daughter and I set out in the morning to accomplish our bookish endeavors. But first, we had to eat. This would not have been a notable activity if not for the strange thing we encountered in the market.
I’ve often thought you really can find literary references almost anywhere. Apparently, anywhere includes the Probiotics section of your local health food grocer. As my daughter and I scanned the aisles for fun new vegetarian options (chocolate hummus, you’re my new favorite food), I noticed an odd collection of magnets hanging above tubs of yogurt and bottles of kombucha. As I got closer, I saw they weren’t just magnets, they were finger puppets in the supposed likenesses of literary greats like Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Zora Neal Hurston, among others.
The Jane Austen puppet was particularly disturbing. But, I kind of loved that instead of superhero magnets, this store had literary puppets. If it weren’t for the fact that I couldn’t possibly choose between them, I would have bought one.
After lunch and our little excursion to the market, it was time to visit Scrawl Books. On a normal day, walking the cobbled pedestrian walkways of our local town center isn’t something one remembers. But as my daughter and I turned onto Scrawl’s little street, it felt as if we’d been sucked into a giant wind tunnel.
The unrelenting wind actually lifted me up off my feet. It wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds, no Mary Poppins moment. It was just a little skip in the air. Still, I’d never felt a gust of wind that strong before. It felt as if my daughter and I were blown by nature into the bookstore.
Windblown and flushed, we walked the aisles of Scrawl, which smelled of fresh sawdust and paper. The books spines looked like rainbows against the crisp white shelves. The location was so new, they didn’t even have a proper sign yet. Something I found very charming.
Of course, we bought books. Bookstores are like animal shelters for me. It’s nearly impossible for me to leave one without taking something home. (Which is why I cannot visit animal shelters or my house would be overrun with animals and my husband would never stop sneezing.)
With three thick books tucked under my arm and one more on order, I gave Scrawl a wistful glance goodbye. By this time, the deceptive sun started to lean against the horizon. I had to hurry to get to the print shop to pick up the hard copy draft of my book before it closed.
Although nature did its best to suck us back through its wind tunnel vortex, we eventually made it to the car and arrived at the print shop with time to spare. After standing in line long enough for my daughter to comment on every single type of candy in the store, we finally got the printout of my book. (Question: why does a print shop need 50 different types of candy? I fail to see how candy relates to someone’s desire to print a giant sign.)
With our bookish goals accomplished, my daughter and I finally headed back home. Not even nature could stop us. At least now we were weighed down by books so it would be harder for the wind to carry us away.