A while back, I wrote a piece on the kind of bookstore I would open if I had my druthers. While that process creeps ever forward, I keep brainstorming about things I would do to make bookstores ever more relevant in our communities. One of these would be to have a Resident Writer at Bella’s Bookshop. I think every bookstore should have one.
Think of a golf pro mixed with a poet laureate. Chosen by the bookstore, the position would rotate every two or three years. I immediately think of James C. Humes, who sits at the same desk in the same coffee shop every single day in Pueblo, Colorado to get his writing done. A prolific author whose places of publication include the Moon (no, really), Humes is someone I and lots of other writers admire for his work ethic and how he gives back to not only his local community, but to the community of readers and writers. James is just the sort of Resident Writer every bookstore should have.
On a prominent plaque, their names would accumulate. And this display would be less about those writers’ egos and more about the dreams and aspirations of bookstore shoppers who would want to follow in their publishing footsteps. Bookstores should be more than warehouses for bound stories, because someone will always find a way to do that cheaper. Bookstores should be about reading groups and writing workshops. They should foster communication and be places of wonder for children. The Resident Writer would have a hand in shaping all of these. And of course, they would have an honorary desk near the cafe and as much coffee as they can drink.