And so, the massage. I explained to him about the aches and pains, which are natural with chemo, of course, and, even knowing that, it is hard to feel what a chemo treatment does to me. This was my third massage, so I had the first one after a chemo treatment, and felt the tension, and then, I had another one before the next chemo treatment, and I felt the difference, , and here I am again after a chemo treatment. I am shockingly held. There was some softening in the protection, though not evenly, and yet, I did note how I feel young and old at the same time, and how that possibility is probably always available for each one of us. As a child, I felt mature. Now, at times, I feel like a child. I am all at one time. I felt that clearly today. I walked out in an expanded state, and stopped at Book Passage to get a snack before the dentist, and there I was confronted with shocking news.
Barnes and Noble is planning to open up a store three times the size of the one they currently have across the freeway, but it will be within walking distance of Book Passage and it will be located at the mall. It must be going in where the Good Guys went out of business at Corte Madera Town Center. It seems Town Center had discussed it with Book Passage but not "in good faith." There is a meeting tomorrow night. Here are some important statistics from Bay Area Business Woman. The article is by Lisa Wilhelm.
"A Civic Economics 2002 study showed that Big Box super bookstores return $13.00 to the local economy for every $100.00 of books sold. Local bookstores return $45.00. Do the math: on $10 million in book sales, Barnes & Noble would return 1.3 million; Book Passage 4.5 million, a 346 higher return."
Lisa Wilhelm continues, "Big Box super bookstores are predatory loss leaders with deep pockets, steep discount pricing power, and sweet publisher-promotion allowances. Their successful growth formula is simple: steal sales from local booksellers and wait for them to go out of business. The strategy works. Today, only 1700 local U.S. bookstores with just a 10 percent share of the book sales market remain (down from 84 percent in 1972.) Almost three quarters operate in the red or at a barely marginal profit."
I will add that Amazon is responsible for some of this problem, but, still Book Passage has held on. They have every major figure in the world today coming through to promote their book. They are an asset to the community that must not disappear. I bought a book today to assure myself that will not happen. I accept the sacrifice. : )
So, I go to the dentist, where I am well-greeted and hugged. My dentist hugs me and I am able to say that this whole thing is a gift, and she understands. She married a wonderful man, and they wanted children, but were unable to have them. I knew that, but not, in this way. She told me that she was told infertility is a gift, and it has turned out to be so, for she and her husband appreciate life in a whole new way. I looked into her eyes, and saw a side of her I had not seen. I knew she was disappointed when she found out they could not have children, but I never realized the depth of it, or that she had found a gift in infertility. How deeply she let me see.
For me, chemo is nothing compared to not being able to have had Jeff and Chris, and, I understand what she means. All of this brings us closer, deeper to understanding the majesty and preciousness of being here, of absolutely every precious moment here.
I write this, knowing that one of the chemo lessons is about change. Nothing ever repeats. Nothing stays the same, and yet, I remember when Book Passage went in. I was in my Terwilliger Nature Guide training, and there was such enthusiasm among the owners about this new building area and book store. The books seem hand-picked. It is that kind of place. When I go to Barnes & Noble, it seems to be all about best sellers. None of the local poets and writers are there. They are well-featured at Book Passage. The Marin Poetry Anthology hangs out in vivid display at the end of an aisle at Book Passage. I guess I am a bit upset, and struggling in my acknowledgement of change. I have watched one after another of the local independent book stores go out of business. I felt each one as a painful loss. I made the assumption Book Passage was so well-connected, it was a given, but I don't know if it can withstand this. But, hey, I'm making it through chemo. Come on Book Passage and your patrons. Dump Barnes & Noble where it doesn't want to go. According to Lisa Wilhelm, "Barnes & Noble traded at about 20.5 estimated earnings per share." They don't need Book Passage, and we do!