Some while ago I found out about the Authors for Indies day and thought about my first discoveries of poetry and world literature came from being a kid and exploring independent and small bookstores in 1970’s and 80’s Calgary (South West). So I signed up and looked up the nearest participating bookstore in the East Van area. I love East Van and wanted to support independent bookstores here and there are none so venerable than the People’s Co-Op Bookstore on the Drive. To my delight they asked me to participate with them. They also brought in two poets and another environmental author, Arno Kopecki. I was paired with Arno for the 4-6 pm shift, and I was so impressed with his writing, his devotion to ecology, and his unique and piercing mind. He was soon to be a first-time father of a girl and we sat and talked all about it (me being a dad of three girls).
Anyway, it was one of those perfect Vancouver spring days. Warm sun and bright flowers. Everyone getting out their shorts for the first time and walking in parks. My girls spent most of the day going back and forth in the garden and trampoline and climbing the trees. One did a lot of drawing. I had an amazing walk with eldest kid all the way through the old grand neighbourhood streets of East Van (from 6th east near Nanaimo to the same block as Storm Crows on the Drive). We talked about ethics and tattoos, gender fluidity and taboos, gardening and budgets, and some really stupid things too. By the time I got there I was already so happy that I felt bouncy. As soon as I met Arno I was impressed and really enjoyed the beginnings of what I hope will be a long conversation in the future. Deborah bought his books, which we intend to read.
The bookstore itself is actually considered the oldest in Western Canada; it is a true gem and has old couches and and other assorted places to sit and read their books, which I have done once just to get out of the rain and it was the coziest place in the world on a rainy October street. Well, needless to say it felt like such an honour to be sitting side by side with Arno and to be promoting such a great bookstore on the Drive on a sunny warm bright day, and Deborah Augustus Ella there too. But precious few others. A couple young guys came for Arno, aforementioned Deb+co, Rudolf P. (randomly), an Ethiopian woman from my church, and the store manager, the coolest cat ever, Nancy. We decided that we should do the readings outdoors on the street side.
Thus began the bringing out of chairs. There were two folding metal chairs (i can’t stand them), four were something resembling a knee high box with a cut out handle, except with a step built in, two dinner table chairs with totally different fabrics (rickety), and a table which had to be carried carefully so it didn’t fall into two halves. This collection of furniture outside on the street was absolutely random and fit in with everything around them and everything had the bright green new leaves across from us near the sidewalk as a backdrop. Those present seemed like they had a satisfied mind, and a warm, splachna-deep glow. It was great. And we had fun. I have to say that proclaiming passages from my book about loving nature and loving God and loving each other and love, love love, and doing so on the my favourite (and if you know it, you’ll know why) street in Vancouver, and doing so at People’s Co-Op Bookstore, with the loves of my life present, and the sun shining all around – that this was all a gift and I am filled with gratitude for it.
Here’s best place to find out more about the People’s Co-op Bookstore, and it’s worth a look and easily worth a like, especially if you live here:
And here are Arno’s two books:
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