The sun-dappled porch was quiet and cool. I was lost in my thought. The ideas were stuttering their insight. The yellow legal pad tried to capture them before they wafted away on the breeze. 

In my effort to stimulate my thought, I was reading snatches of “The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard. As I work to carve out space for more writing, I thought it might help to read how others did it. It was liberating to read that it takes 2 to 10 years to write a book. Patience, Moseley.

As I reveled in Annie Dillard’s spare but vivid words, I turned the page and there, hiding between pages 32 and 33, as if waiting to disrupt my revelry, was a bookmark. The picture was of a cat standing on top of some books, underneath were the words
                Your Personal Bookseller
                 Mills Bookstores
                 Belle Meade
                Hillsboro Village
 And hiding under the bookmark was the receipt, still legible, $12.89.

And my mind whipsawed back some 25 years when I was trying to figure out how to write a book. And back to the old, tightly packed and chaotic Bookstore in Hillsboro Village in Nashville, TN, where I frequented not only when I was served a congregation there but also 50 years ago when I was studying at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

And there I was stopped in my tracks. My musings were hijacked as I was swallowed by the warm memories of small privately owned bookstores where books spilled out of the shelves, crying out for me to pick them, open them and have my mind introduced to new worlds. It was a place where you could talk books with those who knew them. I am so grateful for the chance to be embraced by such places.

I know there are still places like Mills Bookstore, but, I don’t live near them. And anyway, there are times when I just want to revel in warm memories. This is one of those days.