We are the stories we allow to affect us.

Bookstores – like churches – are in a way a lie, for they imply the place where all stories (and faith) reside.

To be sure, bookstores are a place to broaden one’s connection to stories in their recorded form, but is this all there is to experience?

Surely not, seek only the dissatisfaction of one whose only experience comes from the occasional trip to a bookstore, to the vacancy of he who knows God only from a knelt-before altar.

Before we continue, allow me to right any misconception:

Bookstores are valuable. Churches are valuable. Neither is the beginning. Neither is the end.

To be certain, stories are enshrined on many a bookshelf, but Story exists outside in far greater abundance.

Dubliners is grand, but an afternoon in Dublin is divine.

A trip to the foreign books section can set one on a path to discovery, but then so can asking your Uber driver about his home country on the way back home.

To limit one’s experience with Story to places whose rent is paid by transacting in them is problematic.

Seek stories everywhere, recognize that your muse is in he that makes your coffee, not just in the steaming cup as it sits before a window on a cool winter’s day.