Sunday, March 30, 2008

When I was graduating from college and preparing to uproot myself and move 3,000 miles to a town where I knew no one, I had this plan that at some point in the nebulous future I was going to open a bookstore/bar. It seemed like a good idea, combining two of my favorite things, and I figured that owning a bar would be a pretty good way to make friends. I had this whole poem in my head that people would sit at the bar and talk about their problems, and I would solve all of them by handing them exactly the right passage in a book. I had absolute faith that the power of other people's words could fix nearly anything.

I was thinking about that bookstore bar today, picking out books to bring with me on my trip. In China I read Kundera and Proust, and every time I re-read "Identity" I find myself right back on a crowded late night train, exhausted and homesick and sweating. In Italy, I'll be reading Carver. I hope he and I are both up for the trip.

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