Tonight I spent a very happy couple of hours in a bookshop. After hours.
There is something rather special about being in a bookshop when it’s closed that I can’t quite put my finger on. This evening I was there for a poetry reading (Katherine Stansfield’s excellent Playing House, out today), so there was wine and good conversation and a chance to browse through the stacks.
While I was there, I snuck into the children’s section, with a very particular mission in mind.
You see, tomorrow, Arthur and Me hits the shelves and there was one thing I needed to do.
I needed to make a little space in the T section.
Years ago, when I was younger, my Dad caught me moving the books around in a bookshop, moving the ones in the T section around so that there was a book shaped gap on the shelves. ‘What on earth are you doing?’ he asked. With the confidence that only comes with being 12 I said ‘Well I’m making room for mine.’
That was years ago, but the idea that someday there would be one of my books on a shelf has never left me. I can’t help it. When I go into a bookshop now I don’t move the books around, but I do look longingly at the ‘T’ section and mentally nudge them about a bit.
So this evening I did creep into the T section and made just a tiny space. Because tomorrow there won’t be a space. There will be a copy of Arthur and Me. There on the shelf. Just as I told my Dad there would be all those years ago.