By Matt Pearce
I had an amazing experience today.
A friend of mine, Darren, has just bought an old school book exchange in the bayside suburb of Wynnum.
This amazing little suburb has a great little high street. A younger generation are moving in and it's thriving.
I must admit I was surprised with my friend’s choice. In this modern age where everything is digital, and bookstores are suffering because of Kindle et al. I thought wow, what a risk.
My friend has taken the store over from an owner who had passionately run it for 30 years. It was evident with the breadth and depth of the books on hand, he treasured the written word.
Having some time free, I offered to jump in and give a hand in sorting the store out.
My job was to find the duplicates. I was scanning every single book in every shelf.
For most people this would be a tedious task, for me it was Nirvana.
I have been book worm from an early age and my tastes are wide and varied.
Wandering the aisles, looking at every book, it was like travelling back in time, so many books, so many memories.
When there were multiple copies, I chose the best one and placed the duplicate in a box for storage. I had to look at the spine, the wear of the pages and find if it had been over dog-eared (I am shocking for that).
Whilst I was there, I realised something as I was watching the customers coming through. They were young, old, mum’s with kids, and couples. They were a true cross-section of life, they were the community.
My friend was brilliant. He introduced himself, explained what he was doing to update the store and his passion for the his newly acquired business.
Everyone was interested and were keen to support him. The community was engaged.
As I searched for the dog ears it got me thinking.
Wandering through the aisles and aisles and aisles of books this was like an outpost of the pre-digital world.
Ironically, the “old” world has some things right, especially on how it supports the development of community.
Community is about finding common interests and allowing people to physically interact with it and each other in pursuit of this.
As people entered the shop, chatted and searched for a great read, they were participating in a community and a passion.
It made me think of the community we built with Wanderhome.
It is why co-living is fantastic. It gives a physical place for communities to grow.
It’s about recognising in the new, digital age we shouldn’t forget how through the physical world happiness can be found.
We shouldn’t forget the importance of physical interactions, whether alone with a book or over a table having a meal with friends.
It’s amazing on how a store filled with dog ears, dust and obvious love it reminded me the importance of the tried and trusted ways to find contentment.
So much has changed but some things never will.
BTW – The book exchange is Gigglefit Grammar. Google it, drop in and support Darren’s passion as he grows it.