Ringo was only around the first few months Tangible Books was open. He was an old dog. Joe said that on the farm in Arkansas Ringo went everywhere he went. At the store, he mostly sat on the rug by the New Arrivals, his paws crossed. He was twelve when he passed. A full life for a big dog. A came across a photo of Ringo recently and made Joe a painting. It hangs behind the desk in the new store.

After moving a big share of the 60K stock, we’re reconfiguring the sections to make the most of all the new room. Joe built four new 9-foot cases to make a wall of Biography in the back room, where the Cozy Crime and Mystery sections used to be. I moved those shelves to the back corner of the room.

When Lisa moved all the boxes of books meant for the internet in the old basement, she discovered ten boxes of unshelved Biography. These had to be incorporated into what was already six cases up in the store. It took a whole day and half of the next morning, but I made most of it fit. It’s amazing who gets books written about them. Sometimes multiple different ones by different authors. An actress I never heard of named Sarah Miles published three hardcover memoirs. How much is there to say about a young person’s life? More than I can imagine, clearly.

I like putting all these books in order but I think it’s making me not want to add to the ever-growing pile of publication. Once my art book comes out in a month or so maybe I’ll be cured of the habit. I need to find some other ways of sating the demands of my ego. Something that kills fewer trees.

The empty former Bio shelves cried out to be filled. For the entire time I’ve been at Tangible, people have come in asking where our Romance section is. There were a couple shelves full of historical fiction in the old store. Books set in ancient Rome or some medieval castle. Full of men wielding firm staffs and gushing, feinting maidens. The Fiction stacks were dotted with titles illustrated with sunny beaches and young women in tight dresses. Joe and I had many debates about what constituted Romance rather than just Fiction.

The newly-empty shelves made Joe cave and let me cull some beach reads and historical fantasies. I pull the red wheeled cart up to the A’s and start scanning book spines. I look for bright colors and pun titles. It doesn’t take long to fill the cart. Any writer with more than six or seven books is a prime candidate. I joke with Joe that my cart is like the one in Pinocchio that takes bad kids to Pleasure Island.

Most of these are written by and marketed to women. But there’s a mens’ version. These involve war rather than love but they’re often similarly rooted in a specific historical era. Whatever the time period, kink, or fetish, these are wish-fulfillment books. They’re for people who want to imagine themselves into other worlds and different bodies. In the hours I spend picking up, carrying, and arranging hundreds, not a single one has made me want to stop and read it.

I’m off from the store a couple days. I don’t know what project will grab me the next time I come in but I look forward to finding out. It feels more and more like the bookstore is where I want to be when I’m not making art. I can see it occupying me for years to come.

But no more Romance for the time being.