This post is dedicated to the stranger I recently encountered, sitting on a park bench, next to a community garden, reading a book in the sunshine.

I am lucky to live within walking distance of three extraordinary bookstores, Literati, Nicola’s, and Crazy Wisdom. What a privilege! While most people don’t live within walking distance of any bookstores anymore, in recent years this had begun to change. Brand-new small independent bookstores had been opening up in neighborhoods all over the country. Needless to say, the pandemic has been a blow.

Today is Independent Bookstore Day, a good opportunity to remember bookstores that have made your life richer, that make your life richer now, and send some love their way in the form of what we used to call cold hard cash. If it’s within your means, please buy a book or two or three from a bookstore today. If it’s not, send a message or drop by, masked of course, to say hello.

You might even be willing to place a pre-order for my new book, A Fine Canopy, which will be releasing on October 6, 2020, into a pandemic. I won’t be able to visit bookstores, read poems, and sign copies of my books—a tiny heartbreak, but a real one. I was really looking forward to teaming up with some of my favorite booksellers in some of my favorite bookstores for author events–celebrations of poetry, books, book lovers, and the essential communities that form around these. We won’t be able to do that for awhile. Nonetheless, publishers continue to publish books and bookstores continue to sell them, and many of us are reading more than ever, then gathering online to talk about what we’re reading. For now, this will have to do.