Monday, February 15, 2016

The art of a bookshop

 They say a good bookshop is not just about selling books from shelves, but reaching out into the world and make a difference.

    It was not until my visits to this special bookshop to fully feel what this quote truly means. Typical bookshops sell loads of things, treasure of knowledge from around the world, escape to a whimsical fantasy land, culinary recipes... So many things that makes you so hard to pinpoint one particular purpose of visiting a bookshop.

   This bookshop i made frequent trips to is not like that at all. On an open road on the 39th street and 7th, this bookshop opens its door to the road yet somehow does not seem eye catching at all is the drama book shop. Those kind of window decoration you can almost walk past without noticing it is a bookshop.

   When i first found out about this bookshop online, i can't help but let out a sigh of wonder of how amazing this shop must be for it sells any performing arts related books, from every play and musical script, sheet music of everything you can name of, self-help book, monologue book, films and fashion books and magazines, it basically is a world of wonder to every performing artist. If you had tried finding sheet music and monologue online, you would know what i mean.

    My hand pulled opened the glass door framed with black metals and it swung opened. I was instantly greeted by the warmth of this little place and a welcoming voice saying hello at the back of the shop. The shop was lighted with some warm yellow light and decorated like a little cozy home you can drop by any minute of the day, in the early morning after your first coffee warming your hands through your gloves or after you had an intense dance class in the evening. Wooden shelves at both sides of the walls and the middle were filled with colorful books in different genre, movie, dance, fashion, plays, musicals all in a decent line filling the whole shop. It almost felt like you had different classes to pick in just one little place. The floorboard was in an irregular shape of earth-tone colors with combination of peach sorbet, oat, beige, sage and deep brown.

  I couldn't help but rush to the musical session. To see so many scripts in front of my own eyes on a shelve a feet taller than i am was wonderful. Though i did not buy or spend time reading any of the full-length script, flipping through the pages was a special feeling. Almost felt like i had access to anything i want to find and know.

   To my surprise, the section i spent most time in the bookshop was the monologue and play section. I bought myself two monologue books in different times and you might have imagined i did "talk to myself" in my own room while reading out the monologues and every time i tried to speak like as if i was having a conversation on my phone to make it sound less awkward. ya, having a break-up, quitting my job, talking about life seem totally normal on a phone conversation... Since they say you can't really pick monologues from a monologue book, i also spent some time to read some short plays. Every new play was published without a beautiful cover but a simple formatted typical script book, just in different color. That was the time i really did not judge the book by its cover but to see its title and synopsis at the back cover to see if i was interested to read more. If i had found one or two or three that i like, i would pick them to sit at the table in one of the corner of the shop and let the play unfold to me, imaging actors playing on the stage or zooming them in like a movie lense in this little space.

 I like this bookshop so much because it almost feels like a community. Every one in this bookshop is doing something, are here for a reason. It was so cozy you can pick up a conversation at the table discussing the plays the others are reading. One time i also have heard two people doing a reading off a play at the table. That was a community. A place to gather all the like-minded and a place to offer materials for one to learn and grow.

After my first visit at the bookshop, i took out my camera and snapped a few shots of the front of the bookshop, i felt like it would fit so nice on a blog. If only i had one back then. While i was snapping a few pictures in different angels, a woman in a coat with curly hair reaching her shoulders, looking like in her 40s came to me and asked what i was doing and if the pictures were for a blog. I lowered my camera and turned to look at her in my smile and said no. And in my mind i was thinking a lot of things, does she has a blog? would she like my pictures? i would like a blog that have readers to read my reviews, why is she asking? who is she? To snap me out from questions, she then invited me if i would like to go inside the bookshop, as i have just spent some time in the shop and have just walked out, i said thank you to her and she walked inside with the tinkling sound of the bells of the door behind her. Gracefully and quietly, she began her little journey in the shop. It was not until minutes later i realized i should have gone in with her, not for the bookshop again, but know a little more story about her and what she was  doing in the shop.

  "Is it for a blog?" little did i know it is now and the woman is having a featured on it too. I like this bookshop just the way it is, small and cozy yet so big in its collection, reaching out to every visitor to provide the materials and inspiration they need, a small community and maybe some encounter of a real life story that could inspire you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How we see the world

 It has been such a long time for a post to emerge on this blog. Just like the long-awaiting anticipation for spring to finally crawl her feet into winter, when signs of leaves start to emerge from their bulbs, showing their little green heads on barren trees, when flowers begin to blossom in the cold, bringing in colors of hope and enlightenment. Spring to me has never been that exciting until now, specially when it can bring a little more energy and life to a white washed winter wonderland. I have been waiting for spring, that color, that energy since forever like you may have waited for this blogpost. or not...
   Speaking about the anticipation of spring, allow me to insert a little story here. I still remember how during a walk with a classmate to the mailroom after the acting class, we had to cross a parking lot area where the trees were still barren and only a few branches had signs of green bulbs. He was speaking something about spring break and said, "Everybody's going away, it's so dead here".Part of me understand what he means as it is the most isolated area yet you can call it a paradise in other way and everyone's dying to get away to have some fun. But i had to stand a different viewpoint from what he had said, simply because life is so much more than what you see, the trees, which little pieces of green leaves had been growing from the trees and every grass and every creatures running across the field has a life. Spring is coming, it's emerging, it has a life. Here i have to quote the lyrics from a song - colors of the wind:

   The earth is just a dead thing you can claim
   But i know every rock and tree and creature
   has a life , has a spirit , has a name 

  The point is, i have never truly loved spring until the spring in New York. Spring is so special here. with its huge contrast to winter and most importantly, my favorite part, every corner, every street is filled with flowers of different kind, tulips of different color, one of my favorites, daffodils, purple pansies... the city has never failed to amaze me how beautiful spring is, sometimes all you need is to stroll down the sidewalk and feel how much this city has offered you about the beauty of spring.

   One of the amazing flowers in spring has to be cherry blossoms. I have never seen so many pink flowers growing on a tree, let alone a line of them. Ah.. dont you love spring like that? From all white and barren to the color of the rainbow. Nature is such a beauty.

   So one day i decided to take a trip to downtown Manhattan, or you may call it the financial area where lies the Brooklyn bridge, the memorial, wall street etc.

    That sounded quite irrelevant but since the city basically plant everything in everywhere, of course cherry blossoms can also be seen in downtown as well.

    The day was bright and clear, Clear blue sky with some patches of clouds as soft as marshmallows filled the sky as quite and serene just like the mobile toys hanging above a baby's crib. When i was strolling around the financial area, not only was i able to see the skyscrapers, monuments but also all the flowers! I'm that kind of person who would spend 20 minutes to stay in the area of where it has planted flowers. Because tulips. my love.

 Moving on my trip, i stopped my pace in a small park, probably it was the city hall park, surrounded by some beautiful monuments,statues and pink cherry blossoms! It was so beautiful i had to linger around to take pictures for the next 30 minutes. During my shots, a lady with her sunglasses walked towards me and said, "can you help us to take some pictures? you look like you know what you are doing" Having heard that, i was more than pleased to help them because a) why not and b) someone is appreciating my photography skill. even just from the look of it. So after i took a few shots of them i asked if they liked them, they said yes and very unusually it was me who said thank you the first as i felt like oh my god you liked my photography (Even though she probably doesnt mean like that) She might not have seen it that way but me knowing her like the photos made me happy and i said it was also to thank her for believing me that i knew what i was doing with my camera. Plus the fact she did not go around to ask somebody to take the pictures for them again also made me content.


  Pictures are a way to show how you see the world, sometimes i want my photos to be taken like a certain way and i asked people to help and the result was different, to be honest, i was quite frustrated. Knowing not everyone would be interested in the art of photography, but rather just capturing people standing in front of something, it's okay. But sometimes i just wish more people would see every picture every frame as a form of art, not just a statement of who has been to where. And sometimes include a little bit of grass and flower in the frame because they also have a life. Appreciate every tree and every creature. And sometimes just communicate more to people around you, because if pictures cant speak for you, speak with others, appreciate what they are doing, even you don't really mean it, it can make a person's day. Because it did to me.