When I Left Los Angeles in the fall of 2000, the first thing I did was go and find myself a day job. I'd been working in comics for 6 or 7 years by then, and while projects popped up from time to time, they never came regularly enough for comfort. So I went looking for something that I could do at the same time as my comic book work and not steal too much of my creative energy. Being a voracious reader, I of course applied to every bookstore in the area, and ended up as a bookseller at Borders.
I've worked for them off and on ever since, with some time off in the middle for my stint at Crossgen Comics in Florida. Eight years, more or less, which has always amused me since one of the other bookstores I applied to didn't hire me because they thought I wouldn't hang around for very long.
Now, with the new project DC/Wildstorm under way, and the novel still in progress, I had to finally give up my position behind the information desk. Today was my last day. It's a strange feeling, knowing I won't be coming back, at least not as an employee. And I'm not sure how I will handle not having a day job to get me out of the house and interacting with people on a regular basis.
Working out of your house seems like a great thing, but you soon learn that it's far too tempting to work all the time and forget to go outdoors and spend some time away from the art table or the computer. Working at a bookstore was the perfect excuse to get away from deadlines for a little while and meet interesting people.
I could tell horror stories about difficult customers, but I can also tell you about helping someone find a new author or a book they've been trying to find for years, but couldn't remember the title. I've often said that my head is filled with useless information. It's a useful thing, especially when you work at a bookstore. You'd be surprised how often something you remember from a documentary on Post-Modern composers helps you find a piece of music for a customer.
But today is also the last day for the Borders I started at, eight years ago -- Borders #35 on Wolf Road in Albany, NY. I didn't plan it that way, but that's how it worked out. I haven't worked in that store for years, but I have fond memories of it and the people I worked with there.
So to all my friends at Borders #35 and #389, thank you for your kindness over the years, and the hours of interesting conversations about books and movies and music, not to mention your help keeping a roof over my head in between projects. But I think what I'll miss most of all is coming into work and seeing all the new books waiting to be shelved. There's nothing like putting away a stack of books and finding something interesting buried between all the romance titles and the Stephen Kings.