Warning: These are not words of encouragement.
If we ever moved, we'd have to fold up the bookstore and take it with us for a whole other community of literary types to snub. I'm tired of the word "grateful." How about honest?
People don't want to shop local. They want quick and easy, shrink-wrapped and shipped to their doors from a warehouse. People don't want to read poetry. Even poets don't read poetry! Well, that's not fair. Some do. A few, I guess. Then there are those who just read their own poetry. Writers around here are "grateful" to have a literary community to sustain them, then never visit their local independent bookstore. Most don't even approach to ask if they can give a reading. I'd be thrilled to have a poet come in and ask to give a reading. Do I want to chase them all down to offer them readings so they can feel extra good and puffy-bloat that they are now published? No. No, I don't. Your poems have been published. Great. Now go find places to read them.
Do I want to carry your book? I don't know. Have you ever been in the store before to see what we carry? No? Then no, I probably don't want to carry your book.
This is nasty, I know, but it's honest. Sometimes I sit in this store and wonder why I'm here at all, in the same way I sometimes sit at my desk and wonder why I ever bother to write poems. No one cares about any of it, because they are all too busy caring about themselves.
I know the grass isn't greener. It's just other grass. Other grass that will still be a pain in the ass to mow. And I don't know why I titled this post with tea, honesty and pee, and then ended it on a cliché. It's not a metaphor. It's just tea with pee in it.