I was an early member of The Bushwick Book Club Seattle, before I moved to Ithaca, NY in 2011. Before Bushwick, I hadn’t done much writing about books at all, and my first few shows were quite a challenge. Now, more than a decade into my career, I lean heavily on literature to bring new ideas and freshness into my writing. (I used up my quota of whiskey-swilling country songs in about 2005.)
Ithaca, much like Seattle, is a literary town. The two major employers in the area are Cornell and Ithaca College, and during school sessions there are as many students as locals. There is also a lot of turn over – people constantly moving in-and-out and every spring free piles of books pop up like crocuses. There is also a huge book sale that takes place twice a year over the course of three weekends. By the last weekend, they are giving away books by the bagful — a quarter a bag. Between those two sources, I have several books that have become trusty inspiration when I sit down to write: an old volume of Scottish songs, some contemporary Irish poems, an ancient hymnal, and a book of Sylvia Plath poetry. I also found and toted home three volumes of Tolstoy, Niezche, and James Joyce, but those are currently serving as coasters. One can dream.