Online Edition 04.12.06

Pilgrims | by Andrea Avery

Work | by Aaron Belz

Music Man | by Daniel Durchholz

St. Pete's | by Franklin Jennings

Left Bank | by Brandyn Jones

The Training Ground | Tony Renner

Shoe Jail | by Stefene Russell

Work is a Four Letter Word | by Brett Underwood

Print Edition   

Shoe Factory | by Andrea Avery

All Eyes: The Mansion Hotel | by Thomas Crone

Why We Never Leave South City | by Julie Dill

The Man Who Ran Corn for Mister Otha Turner | by Chris King

How I Became a Zackaroo | by Brian H. Marston

On Being Mr. Bibbs | by Michaela McGinn

Six Things About Barges You May Not Know | by Butler Miller

Businesses and Buildings | by Dana Smith

When The Honest World Has Passed Away | by Stefene Russell

My Road | by Tom Weber


Left Bank | by Brandyn Jones

Through the heavy door on the corner I go. From the world outside to the world inside. Perhaps I take a quick look around, smile at people, take a breath, but almost immediately I head down the stairs. Hair-pin turn to the left.Öand there I am in what feels to me now like a home away from home, a place to calm the nerves, a port in the storm, the used book oasis in the basement of Left Bank Books.

Sometimes I go through the door and then skip the effort at making eye contact, proceeding with specific purpose down the stairs. Occasionally I worry someone will think Iím up to No Good entering that way, but so far no one has stopped me to inquire about my intentions. Perhaps Iím not the only one who anxiously darts down the stairs.

My favorite spot in the lower level stacks? The art book section. Catalogs from a multiplicity of art shows can be found Ė some headliners, some intriguingly out there. Histories of artists of all stripes, histories of particular periods, guides to museums and collections, academic books, books that are themselves works of art. Some are marvellously old, others are newish -- all have the warm feel of books that have been handled with appreciation.

From my usual spot I often see, through a half-opened door, a mountain of books to which I donít yet have access. Typically I am not given to inappropriate boundary crossing, but I always find myself tempted to breach the public space and dive into those off-limits stacks. I havenít and I wonít, but it does cross my mind.

What prevents me from giving way to the more reckless side of my nature is that Left Bank Books staff is usually in that back room working Ė moving the books through the process and keeping the place going. Keeping the place going has not been easy over the years so I pause a minute to appreciate everyone who has helped in this effort, and remind myself I should show them the respect of not bursting into their private workspace. I can wait.

Amongst the books in the basement, LBB also has exhibition space where there is always an intimate art show going. Intimate because of the small amount of exhibition square footage, intimate because (by virtue of said limited show space) the work is usually fairly small, and intimate because it is in a bright, cozy basement surrounded by books. Books and a quiet feeling of reverence for thought.

Itís a refuge from the world outside the door. Key to survival in a city. That special spot or nook one comes to know Ė most often discovered by accident - where anyone can duck in out of the chaos or the weather and find a momentís peace.

The basement level of Left Bank Books is such a place.