original drawing by: Bill Rogers
pencil and crayon drawing with acrylic paint on notebook paper
This was inspired by a dream. The girl is Su Unzon (pronounced Shung - song) and she was ending her shift at a bookstore and was waiting for me to sell her a book. The clocks represent me waking up four times and resetting my alarm.
In this dream, I was the young woman's supervisor and she was waiting on me so that she could purchase a book. As she was logging off on her terminal I noticed that her name was Su Unzon. In the dream it was pronounced Shung-song. She was going to buy some tropical island mystery-adventure. The four screaming clocks represent the four times I had to wake up and reset my alarm. I had a couple dreams after this one but this is the one I remember the most. I believe the young woman was of Irish descent. The counter top behind her echoes the shape of the counters at two different bookstores I've worked. And the bookstore in the dream itself was primarily based on my very first store which was over on Hillsborough Avenue.
Somehow doing this drawing and pondering it afterward has been helpful to me. Having enjoyed a long and rich career in book retail, which spanned two decades and involved at least ten stores, my life for many years was formed around bookstores, book enthusiasts and of course the books we all loved. In the dream the young woman was ending her shift for the day. But as I look at the dream it is allowing me to accept the end of my long-term shift in the book world. In the aftermath of the financial crisis and for reasons which are still largely unknown to me, my career as a bookseller was suddenly and sharply ended. Though I was hurt and missed the field which had become so familiar to me, I also knew that the world was changing and this was my way of being moved gently along. This dream has offered me some kind of reflective closure. I look back on those years now with profound gratitude. Sure the ending was surreal and harsh, but that was just the times we were living in. For anyone to be able to say they had over two decades working in a career they loved without a break is something to smile about. And to add to that all the exposure to the arts, sciences, great literature and contemporary events that such a career provided and you have a recipe for quite a lot of happiness. So at the end of my shift, I can look back and say, inspite of one or two nasty road bumps, that I am so grateful. I don't know if I'll ever work in books again, but it's perfectly valid for me to say that I did and that I did it well and that it counted. I thank God every day for those truly wonderful years.
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