This is my favourite bookstore and bookseller in the world. Bar none.
I used to get to Seattle every six months or so, and whenever I visited I always made it a priority to stop in BLMF and ask its keeper what he’d been reading lately. He possessed an inexhaustible memory, a comfortable lack of snobbery, and impeccable taste. The first book he recommended to me, upon listening gravely to my litany of at-the-moment authors (Barbara Kingsolver, James Clavell, Maeve Binchy, Neil Gaiman, Charles DeLint, Anthony Bourdain) was Tipping the Velvet. He also later landed me with Geek Love, Anno Dracula, half the Aubreyad, and more modern Literature-with-a-capital-L than I could carry home.
The next-to-last time I dropped in, I asked if he had any P. G. Wodehouse.
"I have zero Wodehouse," he said, "and here’s why…"
Turned out that some fiend had taken to creeping in every month or so expressly to inquire of any Wodehouse and, once led to the volumes, to buy it all. ALL. Didn’t matter the condition, the edition, or whether he had another just like it in his possession; the villain bought every single P. G. Wodehouse in stock, every single time.
Was he a fan more comprehensive, more truly fanatical than any other I’d heard of, let alone known? Was he virulently anti-Wodehouse, only purchasing the books to keep their wry poison from infecting the impressionable masses? The world may never know.
I didn’t get any Wodehouse then, and I didn’t really feel the lack. I found plenty of other treasures that trip. But here’s one reason why BLMF and its proprietor are my favourite of their kind: that was two years ago, you see. Maybe three. In all that interim, I never planted foot in that bookshop. Never called. Never wrote. And I’m one face out of hundreds of thousands, dear reader; one reader he saw twice a year for three years, then not again for another three.
But I walked in the shop last Friday. Nodded hello.
"Can I help you find anything?" he asked, lifting his head from the phone.
"No, I’m good," I said.
"Wait—hold on a second." He set the phone down, walked ‘round the towers of books balanced precariously on the desk, on the floor, and atop other, only slightly less precarious towers. He jerked his head conspiratorially toward the far end of the shop, led me carefully to a shelf way in the back, removed a tattered stack of mass market paperbacks and motioned me closer to see what they’d been hiding.
Fifteen pristine Wodehouses: crisp, heavy, and—
“Hardcover,” he said, and waggled his eyebrows.
Reader, I bought them all.
talk street magic to me
drawing power from the metro lines
illusionists busking illegally, shimmering lights disintegrating as they run
plant mages tending tiny rooftop and windowbox gardens
elementary kids learning basic sigils on the playground
wixen taking a while to key into the magic in new cities when they move
alchemists dealing on the side to support their experiments
middleschoolers making friendship talismans and amulets for everyone
numerologists who’ll do your math homework for $5 or divine your fortune for $10
kids mass-texting luck and speed spells when their parties get broken up by the cops
Hell yeah, let’s talk about magic.
Like elementary kids learning silly (or inappropriate) charms from each other on the bus, the same way we learned our first swear words. Clapping games across the bus aisle, but with spells instead of rhymes.
Worrying that your friend is getting into dark magic, but not knowing how to talk to them about it. Intervention programs for kids abusing hexes and runes, because magic has given them control over something for once in their life, and they’re starting to make some dangerous choices.
Psychic teachers knowing when you’re cheating. Knowing when you’re having trouble with homework. Or at home. Knowing when you need tutoring or an AP course because you’re just not being challenged or a different teaching method because you can’t process what you’re learning in class no matter how hard you try, and the teacher tells you it’s okay, they know. They know.
Magic graffiti. Graffiti in wild places, and graffiti that vanishes when certain people roll by like the police. Or graffiti that only appears when the police walk by to insult them. Murals. Swirling, living murals on the sides of buildings. Murals that—if you listen closely—can be heard, not just seen.
In the evenings, kids hiding out in someone’s backyard or an alley passing around a joint and casting minor illusions to watch while high.
Chalk artists making works that are so realistic, they come to life off of the sidewalk.
One man bands in the park, with instruments floating around playing themselves.
Punk concerts in empty lots with amped out music and lights, but noise-cancelling spells and illusion hide them in plain sight from anyone outside of the lot.
Mediums predicting people in need, and making sure to be there at just the right moment to lend them a helping hand. “You seem upset, do you need to talk?” “Oh, you’re a dollar short? No, don’t put the milk back; I’ll cover you.” “I think your hair looks perfect today.” “You really ought to try taking your resume to this store. Trust me.”
Necromancers in forensics speaking with the dead to solve homicides and cold cases. Living lie detectors as beat cops and detectives and DEA agents.
Strangely cheap five star food diners that bake actual love into their apple pie, and they always know your dietary restrictions without being told.
Service golems in various sizes and shapes, making sure their magic users aren’t crowded, get medical attention, go where they need to, etc.They don’t get distracted, they can be hollow to hold things like medications, and in rare instances… they seem to develop loving attachment to their users despite not being alive.
Little old landladies who dabble in witchcraft brewing homeopathic remedies for people in their apartment complex.
Street magic is an amazing concept.
I understand why it would make you uncomfortable; a lot of ace-politics spend so much time trying to debunk myths that they end up sweeping some identities under the rug.
This happened with the gay/lesbian community too, with people saying “not all gay men are girly” or “not all lesbians are bulldykes” etc. It’s to combat stereotypes, yeah, but in the end it shits on a lot of other identities that are only negative because of cishet culture.
While it’s completely true that asexuality is a huge umbrella (that ranges from those that have sex to those that don’t), social politics often try to “soften the blow” with attempts to “normalize” aces because we live in a “sex-is-normal” society. They succeed in one thing but completely ignore another.
Aces can have sex and some don’t want it whatsoever. By boxing everyone into “aces have sex and relationships too!!” it defeats the purpose of awareness by not being all-inclusive.
Ultimately, it’s a lack of intersectionality, and it’s pandering to sex-normal society.
Please know that you aren’t the problem, it’s how other people are going about spreading “awareness.”
I hope nobody minds if I add some general commentary to this. The point brought up by the anon OP and by dyemelikeasunset is very important.
Sex positivity can all too easily become sex normativity, which can be outright harmful for many asexuals, especially those of us who turned to the asexual community because we felt alienated by the sex normativity in mainstream culture. According to a community survey, 70% of those on the asexual spectrum have never had sex before (77% of asexuals, 61% of gray-As, and 59% of demisexuals) and an additional 11% have had sex before but are currently sexually inactive (9% of asexuals, 16% of gray-As, and 14% of demisexuals). Thus 81% of those on the asexual spectrum (86% of asexuals, 77% of gray-As, and 73% of demisexuals) are not sexually active. Yet, too often our outreach efforts say, “Some asexuals are sexually inactive, but others have sex,” as if these two were equivalent groups.
Moreover, the community survey also showed that 55% of those on the asexual spectrum are sex-averse or repulsed by the idea of having sex (65% of asexuals, 51% of gray-As, and 37% of demisexuals). Only 4% say they enjoy having sex (1% of asexuals, 4% of gray-As, and 11% of demisexuals). Again, saying “Some asexuals don’t like sex, and others do,” or talking a lot about, “being asexual doesn’t mean you can’t have and enjoy sex,” while true statements, may misrepresent the experiences of the majority of those on the asexual spectrum, especially of “core” asexuals (i.e., not gray-A or demisexual).
Other times, important concepts are presented in a very simplified form that ends up erasing the experiences and identities of many aces. For example, gray-asexuality is often presented as just experiencing sexual attraction rarely. In fact, there are many ways to be between.
Or take romantic orientation. This is often presented in a way that makes it seem like watered-down versions of sexual orientation categories. (This graphic, for example, just reproduces the Kinsey scale - right down to sticking aromantics off to the side as though we’re not related to all the other orientations. Kinsey’s study did the same thing to asexuals, calling us “Category X” and thus most people don’t realize that Kinsey knew about asexuality.)
This way of thinking about romantic orientation can result in dividing asexuals up and putting us with the related sexual orientations - something that erases asexuality. Moreover, heteroromantic asexuals are often treated as though they’re straight. They’re NOT. They’re asexual. People typically only identify as asexual after coming to realize that other identities don’t work for them, and that includes heterosexuality. Heteroromantic asexuals often face significant alienation in heterosexual relationships because of their asexuality, including coerced sex and rape (in fact, heteroromantic asexual women may be particularly at risk of domestic violence or sexual abuse, similar to bisexual women with male partners).
Another part of this is when non-asexuals decide that some asexuals get to be “queer” and others are excluded. Curiously, it’s not just heteroromantic asexuals who are excluded, but also aromantic asexuals. People who make these arguments often have a binary view of queerness, that is, that anyone who is not queer must therefore be straight. This leads to the nonsensical result that an aromantic asexual who is not attracted in any way to people of a different sex or gender, and who most likely has not had a relationship with them and does not want to, is called “straight” and told they don’t belong in LGBTQ spaces and need to go away. Isn’t it about time that we recognized that same-sex attraction is not the only way to be non-heteronormative?
But that’s not all! According to the same community survey quoted above, 29% of aces do not fit into the “Kinsey scale” type model of romantic orientation. That’s the largest single category in the survey! Some aces have developed the concept of wtfromantic to convey that this model leaves them out. Stop and think about this next time you say something like, “All aces have a romantic orientation, and the romantic orientations are just like the sexual orientations.” Whichever group you belong to (biromantic, heteroromantic, etc) there are more wtfromantic aces than there are of your group, and nearly third of all aces overall are wtfromantic.
If the way we present asexuality and the asexual spectrum to others does not resemble what the community actually looks like, and erases the experiences of many aces, we are doing a grave disservice to our own community and we need to stop and think about why it’s more important to be “accepted” by the mainstream than to do what’s best for our fellow aces.
I really need people to see this again
Oh look at that, you defeated the final boss
It would be a shame
if they were to have another form
the scene where i thought sakura was the most beautiful asked by anonymous