Monday, November 17, 2008


Trust in humankind
Montreal, QC, August 2008

It speaks volumes about a storeowner who is confident enough to leave inventory sitting on an outside windowsill. It's almost enough to restore one's confidence in the future of the human race. Almost.

I came across this scene while walking through the McGill Ghetto. There's something about dusty old bookstores that just pulls me in. I fear the Chapters-Indigo (sorry, Barnes & Noble/Borders) generation will never get to appreciate the feel of a dog-eared literary retailer. Progress, they call it.

Your turn: Is it? What other genteel slices of life are we losing?

One more thing: Written Inc. hosts two kinda-fun, kinda-kicky weekly activities, Caption This and Thematic Photographic. Click the links to dive into both.


bobbie said...

I am so with you on this. We just recently lost the only small book store in our area. If I travel several miles up the road, there is "The Book Barn" which is literally a huge old barn jam full of second hand books. I could spend a week there! What makes me sad is Disney. They have taken - and destroyed - so many classics, and today's children will never know the beauty and charm of the originals.

awareness said...

genteel losses?

blueberry pie and peanut butter cookies the size of your head from the local bakery. the bakeries are all closing.....

Sunday drives.....the gas is too expensive....and it's not considered environmentally polite

Carla said...

I love these kinds of bookstores. We have one in a wee little village about an hour from here and I swear they have the best selection of almost any bookstore I've ever been in.

As to what else we're losing...good independent coffee shops. Boycott Starbucks.

Mamie said...

I wrote a blog entry the other day about the practice of pulling over for a funeral procession. This used to be the norm, but when I saw people doing it last week when a friend died, I was amazed and touched.

I love the shopping center experience; it makes me feel nostalgic for the first times you could visit several stores in a row. I hope they are coming back into vogue now that the big box stores are going under.

Barbara said...

Believe it or not we used to "dress up" when we traveled by plane (I'm not that old, really; this custom phased out when I was quite young. ;-)

Also dressing up for church, company, and going out to a restaurant.

One more thing, Sunday 'dinner', usually with our grandparents. Every other day of the week was 'lunch' and 'supper'.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for the Visit, Carmi...
I love the Old Style Bookstores, too....And this one with all those books out where anyone can pick one up and brose OR, I guess steal....But I don't think REAL Book people would do that. Maybe that is!
To know that this era of Book Stores is almost over is a true crying shame.

Nikita said...

:) in Guernsey all the stores are like this. In one drive around the island you can stock up on fruit and and even put your own petrol in and leave the money. I hope it doesn't change...the financial crisis has not touched the Island so bigger and bigger buildings are rising everyday.

Star said...

This really doesn't fit into the genteel catagory. As I watched my almost 4 year old grandson at the computer, picking items from menus to create a scene featuring his favorite cartoon characters, it dawned on me that this was a hi-tech version of colorforms, one of my favorite pasttimes as a child.

Hilary said...

Everything, really. All specialty stores are rolled into one these days. Here in Ontario, Walmart, Shopper Drug Mart, Zellers, Loblaws, Costco.. just to name a few now sell EVERYTHING. They all have coolers for perishable foods. They all have clothing. They take over every aspect of shopping. I can't stand it. Every store is a carbon copy of the next. And yup, I realize that carbon copy is outdated too.. sigh!

MorahMommy said...

I love this picture. I can almost smell the musty odor from the books. There's something to be said for the large chains, where you can get everything that you want, plus have a cup of coffee, too. But there is something about an old bookstore. It's like a treasure hunt. You never know what you'll find. I also like to think about the person who read it before me.

Pamela said...

walk in... close your eyes... take a deep breath.

Thieves aren't bright enough to know a real "steal" when they see one.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Just read where more and more mags are going paperless.

As a lover of books I don't think I could ever pass up a real hard copy of my favs for the internet. It is just not the same.

Musty bookstores are great places to check out. Love them!

G. Harrison said...

because we have a small bookstore, bakery and two good coffee shops within walking distance in Old South, Wortley Village I feel spoiled after reading the comments above.

whenever i step outside the village I miss the small town atmosphere.

because we seem to design cities for cars and industry, ahead of pedestrians and a village like atmosphere, i'd say many are losing a sense of community.

i'd say more but after reading about cookies the size of one's head i'm going to walk over to the bakeshop for coffee and dessert at the Black Walnut.


gord h.

G. Harrison said...

because we have a small bookstore, bakery and two good coffee shops within walking distance in Old South, Wortley Village I feel spoiled after reading the comments above.

whenever i step outside the village I miss the small town atmosphere.

because we seem to design cities for cars and industry, ahead of pedestrians and a village like atmosphere, i'd say many are losing a sense of community.

i'd say more but after reading about cookies the size of one's head i'm going to walk over to the village for coffee and dessert at the Black Walnut.


gord h.

Anonymous said...

In addition to losing these kinds of stores, we're losing the way of shopping that went along with them. When was the last time you went for a good ol' fashioned poke through a store without watching the clock or worrying about the next thing on your jam-packed agenda? It's the retail equivalent of stopping and smelling the roses. We should make a point to do it more often while we still can.

photowannabe said...

Customer service and actually caring about the patron and the product being offered.
Lost now is the fact that cashiers Those are really my two pet peeves.
What else is going...homemade anything....

me said...


sorry what were you saying?

Wendster said...

I too feel the pull of the used book store and its treasures. Each time I find a new used (ha) book store I think: Maybe THIS will be the day. The day I find that old story book I have been wanting for thirty years: The Milk White Thorn.

One day it WILL be that day.

It gives me something to look forward to.

I like the title of your blog. It reminds me of:
Written IN ink. ... with "in" and "ink" run together into one word. Clever. I don't know if that was your intention, but just watch as I run with it.

(sound of bare feet running madly)

Have you seen that episode of Cheers where Frasier Krane loses it and begins running around the bar with scissors, and with an absolutely mad look in his eyes declares:


Then he dashes off, drama king style, while the other patrons look on, and then unconcernedly return to their previous conversations.

That's the picture we summon when we picture me running off with your blog title. But a little less "mad" if you please.

Pleasure to meet you.

I will most certainly stop by again.

You'll find that unlike Pamela, who recommended your blog, I have neither mastered brevity nor wit... however it doesn't keep me away.

Oh yes. And thank you for stopping by my blog.

(And I enjoy your writing style very much. Nice.)


Wendster said...

oh yes. The question:

I don't know if anyone else lost marshmallows, but I certainly miss the outdoor barbecues followed by our parents going indoor, leaving my brother and I to monitor the actual charcoal briquettes ... not a propane barbecue, and watching the briquettes burn down until embers were the only remaining light, but it wasn't time to go in yet because if we blew on them they re-ignited, so we could stay. And even on those little barely burning coals we could get some degree of toasting to happen to our marshmallows. If we blew. Alot. And the dogs laid on our feet, and we sat on the wood stumps and our butts never got tired.

It used to be the norm on summer nights. Now it's the microwave.

Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

There is nothing like the smell of an old book, you know it is old and automatically handle it with care so as not to damage it, unlike the press printed books in their thousands that you get today. I remember the books where the pages were sewn(bound) together and then gum/glue put over the spine and the cloth covers.

Unfortunately like everything in life we have lost what was once treasured and valued to have it all replaced with mass produced products. Such a shame.

darkfoam said...

thanks for dropping by my blog..
you have quite an interesting groups of blogs. i've been snooping.
one genteel slice of life we seem to be loosing is the ability to slow down and take time to cook decent food//

kenju said...

Here in Raleigh, we have a great old used book store, and they have a whole store front of books on shelves outside their doors. It's not far from a university, so I wonder that they don't lose a lot by theft.

Anonymous said...

You know, I miss typewriters: The clack-clack-clack, the ding, the satisfying sound you make when you return to the next line.

photowannabe said...

Oh my, I just reread my comment from the other day. It didn't make much sense. I guess i got interrupted and really made a mess of it.
I was talking about the inability of cashiers at restaurants etc. not being able to count the change back and how its just dumped into the patrons hand.
It really is a pet peeve of mine.

All This Trouble... said...

Tag! You're it! Not to be confused with Da Bomb. That's different.

Check it out...

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

hand written letters and cards, for sure!!!!
sunday comic strips.......we havent bought a newspaper in a long long time.....we read news online.....:(

lissa said...

Besides types of businesses being lost to the Big Corporations, we are losing a special slice of life that I can remember enjoying: night times. See, the world used to be safer for us to go out at night. And now, unless we are in groups, or with at least one other person, being alone at night outside - other than our back- or front-yard areas - just seems to be disappearing.

I grew up on a fairly main street and after suppers in the spring and summer months, into autumn, we would all gather in one person's driveway - either mine, or the across-the-street neighbor kids - and play Stand-O, hopscotch, Champ, skipping rope, anything...till we were either mosquito bitten to kingdom come, or our parents would call out the various windows for us to come on home.

No more. Our kids have to be inside where we can watch them, or outside where we can watch them. And nighttimes are out of bounds, it seems. Or at least in my 'burb they are. There are probably smaller, more trusting areas in various towns across this country and the neighboring one(s) where kids still play outside without worry. Or without their parents' worry.

But I have my kids call me when they get to where they're going, and they don't leave till I've come to pick them up. It's sad not to trust in Outdoors at Night the way I knew when I was growing up. But it's also a fact of our world these days.