If you've followed this blog, you'll know that we enjoy visiting thrift stores. This is not always a healthy endeavor for admitted hoarders. We have more dishes and such than we have space for – but then, we already did before we ever discovered these places. Austin has some excellent stores, each with their own personality. Next-To-New has serious furniture and dinnerware and I have quite a nice collection of photos of the Tranniquins at Top Drawer.
Every once in a while we'll come across an objet d'art that we recognize. I always enjoy finding in these thrift stores old pieces that my friends have made (even if this might tend to indicate [or confirm] that the clientele for contemporary art is retiring, downsizing and/or going home to meet their maker.) We found a pigeon that my friend, Glo Coalson, had made about 20 years earlier. He was cracked, but he was a Glo Coalson.
Eventually, we came to see this as a milestone for the artist. We came across a piece made by Jason Hooper, who began working as a professional artist full-time relatively recently. It kind of felt like he had 'made it', because his work was surfacing in these stores. Another friend of mine – a weaver – found a garment of hers at Goodwill. (She had sold it originally for $400 and Goodwill had it marked at $12.) We now have a quest: Barry always checks the jewelry sections when we go to one of these stores, just to see if his work has made it here yet. (His work is already on the black market in Dallas. Two clients have reported that they had Barry's jewelry stolen there.)
So, I have mixed feelings about finding books by my hero, G. M. Malliet, at a used bookstore. On the one hand, I know that authors aren't generally paid royalties from their books that are sold in 2nd-hand stores. But, is this a milestone for her? Surely this is an indication that she is selling well enough to be able to have landed in a Half-Price bookstore. I'm excited, regardless. She may not make any money for these three copies that are here, but I feel that this speaks volumes for her career.
Fortunately for me, I already own all of these books, so I wasn't faced with any moral dilemmas. I very much believe in financially supporting artists that I like, though I have been known to buy the occasional book from a used bookstore. I have this romantic notion that I'll find the Next Big Book for me there – one that will make all of my literary dreams come true. I usually stumble across gems by accident. One can hope...
I'll leave you with this bit of advise: If you think that drinking 16 oz of espresso is a good idea – even if you REALLY think it's a great idea and have visions of being so very productive afterward – don't. Just don't do it. Trust me.