19 September 2015 - 1:51 pm

Imagination Open

This is the sort of thing I'm talking about! (Picture of the Open Book store by Trint Williams)

This is the sort of thing I’m talking about!
(Picture of the Open Book store by Trint Williams)

Quite often, I think about what my perfect writing situation would be. Because we all like to dream, right? Dreaming is easy and free.

I love to write. I love to share my writing. I love books: reading, sorting, shelving. I love to talk about books and writing. I love to curl up on my own with a book or a laptop and let my imagination run. I love to read and write with company.

So what would be perfect is my own little dream bookstore. It would stock fiction of all kinds, from regular fiction to science fiction to horror to mystery to erotica to graphic novels. There might be a small non-fiction section, stocked with books about writing and with a selection of choice research materials that changes on a regular basis. There’d be as many indie books as I could get my hands on, as well as traditionally-published offerings.

It would be a store of nooks and corners, with armchairs and beanbags scattered among the stacks for reading and writing purposes, along with little tables with chairs and powerpoints. Each nook could be themed according to the genre it is located in or near, for extra fun (horror beanbag, steampunk armchair, romance love-seat, scifi desk!). There’d be a selection of random stationery available – pens, post-its, notecards, journals and stickers (writers love stickers) – so writers can brainstorm and plan stories if they wish.

There would be a little cafe in the back serving copious amounts of coffee, cookies, and cupcakes. Next to it would be an open space with tables, chairs, and sofas, easily pulled into groups for: book clubs, writing group discussions, brainstorming sessions, write-ins, or workshopping stories. The chairs would be squishy and comfortable for hours of occupation at a time, because writers can be sedentary creatures. In the corner, there’d be a little stage, for readings and maybe the occasional visiting musician.

The tables and chairs would spill out onto a deck at the back, looking out over a back yard with a half-wild, barely-contained garden. The garden would be trees and bushes and those flowers brave enough to survive (and it would probably come with a ‘don’t pet the wildlife; this is Australia’ warning). It would extend back from the deck some way, the foliage thick enough to hide its boundaries so it feels like an entrance to a jungle wilderness.

Little paths would wind through the garden, daytime dimness and night-time darkness alleviated by strings of colourful lights, leading to little half-grown-over fountains and mossy parts of someone’s spaceship and a statue of a wingspread griffon rising out of the weeds. Here are there, along the paths, would be areas to stop and settle with a story to read or write: outdoor tables under canopies, with lights and power points for writing; a hammock cradling cushions; and a little grassy bit for blankets and sprawling.

Roaming through all of these areas would, of course, be a cat or two. At least one would have ‘free hugs’ on his/her collar (it’s worth a try, right?).

The store would be open 24/7, so night-owls can come in and write, and restless readers can come find something to read when sleep eludes them. After-hours, the lighting would be dim and cozy, gathering in pockets around the store and garden. It would grow quiet with a goal of peacefulness.

The store would run on an honour system, particularly at night: people can scan and pay for their books themselves, and leave an appropriate donation when helping themselves to coffee/cupcakes. There would be somewhere for them to leave notes and requests for us, and there’d be a place for us to leave the book they were looking for, for them to pick up when they’re in next. We’d probably only have staff on during the day, to keep the place tidy, help customers, and restock books.

I’d live over the store, with a shady balcony above the deck for alonetime, but I’d probably spend most of my time downstairs.

I think I’d call it something like Imagination Open.

What do you think? Would you enjoy a place like this? Would you come hang out, spend time, dream here? What do you love about it, and what would you change?

What would be your perfect place to read and write?

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