Come Visit Us!
Phone: (250) 595-4232
Fax: (250) 595-1458
#111-1644 Hillside Ave.
Victoria, B.C. V8T 2C5
When I started my sabbatical in April, I had a definite set of plans and goals for my five months off: write a novel. Finish editing Black Feathers. Take some trips. Take up yoga. Read more. Return to work Tuesday, September 3.
I’m pleased to report that I’ve followed through on almost all of those plans. I finished the first draft of The Fallow Heart last month. My edits on Black Feathers are back with my editor, and the book will be out in the spring. I’ve discovered that reading in a pub on a sunny summer afternoon is really one of the most delightful things in the world. I’ve traveled to St John’s, Seattle, Portland and Tofino, and my son Xander and I are headed to New York next week.
A couple of them, though… Well, I never did take up yoga, though I do still plan to.
And — this is the gist of this note — I won’t be returning to work on Tuesday, September 3.
Or at all, really. (Though, see below.)
Yes, after much deliberation and soul-searching, I have decided to tender my resignation to Bolen Books, effective… well, I guess 4 months ago.
It seems strange, seeing it typed out like that.
It seems very strange to not be a bookseller anymore.
I’ve been a bookseller for more than twenty years; it’s how I identify myself. How I think of myself.
I suppose I’m going to have to shift that into past tense.
I’m a writer now.
Well, a writer and reviewer and commentator and speech-giver and teacher.
But yeah, I’m a writer now.
And that’s thrilling and terrifying and vertigo-inducing in the best of ways.
It’s what I’ve always dreamed of, and I am so excited about being able to make a go of it.
But I’m also really sad.
Bolen Books has been a part of my life for more than fifteen years. I’m saddened to be leaving (and it took a good deal of soul-searching and, finally, closing my eyes and leaping, to get to this point). Mel Bolen hired me when I needed a job, and coming to work for Bolen Books was like being welcomed into the family. Samantha Bolen (the store’s owner) has been one of my biggest supporters for a huge chunk of my adult life; she was there for me when I was adrift, when I became a dad, when I started reviewing, when I published my first book, through the good times and the bad. I can’t imagine a more supportive… well, boss really doesn’t cut it, does it? And Colin Holt, the store’s general manager, has been a rock in a stormy sea, exactly the person you want having your back (in oh so many different situations). Mio fratello.
I’m going to miss working with them — and with all of my fellow booksellers — every day.
And I’m going to miss all of you, Bolen Books’ dedicated and loyal customers. Whether it was seeing you at one of our events, or helping you find that perfect book, you brightened my days and kept me on my toes.
Wow… I’m going to miss it so much.
All that being said, you haven’t seen the last of me. I’m still going to be in the store every second week, picking titles to talk about on CFAX (I’m thinking they should start calling me Bookseller Emeritus, but we’ll see). And I expect to be behind the tills and on the floor come the Christmas season.
But that everyday thing. That community. All of you.
Oh, yes. I’m going to miss that. And you. So very much.
I guess all that remains is this: thank you. Thank you. Just… thanks.