Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Walk the Walk

A few years ago there was a great outcry at the proposed closing of one of Boulder's branch libraries. I was all set to join with the others in writing an indignant letter to send to the newspaper, when the thought occurred to me: I had never actually BEEN to that branch; I had never used it even once in my then-fifteen years in Boulder.

Now, I'm not saying that you can or should protest only on behalf of causes that affect you directly. That would be to recommend a very insular and narcissistic view of what matters in the world.

But still: if this library was supposedly so important that I was ready to denounce those who would abandon it, why wasn't it important enough that I should actually GO there sometimes?

So my thought for today is: if we value something in our communities, we need to support them not only by our signatures on petitions to save them when they are threatened. We should support them by, well, supporting them when they still exist.

Yesterday, Kim and I supported two wonderful local treasures. I took Kim to my now-beloved Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe, and we didn't just browse the shelves and comment on how terrific it is that Boulder has one of three poetry-only bookstores in the entire USA. We bought three books. And then in the evening we went to a most delightful evening of jazz performed by CU faculty and students (including my own Gregory), as well as anyone else who wanted to drop in and jam with them. And we didn't just say how great it was, we had a most tasty light supper there and two most tasty glasses of wine.

And I must say that the poetry cafe was bustling, and the jazz evening was thronged. If all of us support what we love by making time and space to include it in our busy lives, maybe it will save us the sad effort of having to write letters protesting its cancellation.


  1. I heard a piece on the radio this morning about a store closing somewhere in the South - the owner was closing, and on the day she was moving out of the store, she said that several people came in and said, "Oh no, you're closing? I've been meaning to stop by!" The owner pointed out that "meaning to stop by" is decidedly not the same as supporting the store by *actually* patronizing it.

  2. Of course, as William James convincingly argued that what we truly believe we act on. When we don't it's because we don't truly believe what we claim to believe. Many people bemoan the effect of Walmart on their communities, but then they shop there. I'm sure many justify their actions by making themselves the exception - but we know how far that gets us :) By the way, I visit the library branch in question fairly often. Sophia loves it.

  3. Bravo, Claudia! What an inspiration you are to me!