Powell’s Books – Portland, OR

I went to Powell’s City of Books on a mission to find a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot. Doesn’t that sound romantic?

The funny thing is, I wouldn’t have gone without making such a quest, because I felt that for me to go into a bookstore, without such purpose, would be so disingenuous to who I am.

But to say I rarely ever pick up a book, would be a lie. I totally pick them up, I just rarely read them.

Powell’s is open until 11 pm every night including Easter Sunday. It’s a convenient thing to do at night, that is a block away from my hotel (Ace Hotel). After grabbing a quick bite at Clyde Common, I entered Powell’s ready for my quest at 9:23 pm.

I was able to find exactly the collection I wanted in a 1978 almost pristine hardcover print from The Franklin Library. The bookstore is color coordinated and well labeled. I found the book at 9:28 pm. Quest over. The end. *sigh*

A little dumbfounded by how easily my mission had been accomplished, I continued to look at other poetry books. “It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Poetry of Breakup” screamed out to me with its simple cover and cliche statement of disinterest on the cover. I found a step tool in the next aisle to read it in.

While reading poetry written about divorces and cheaters, I paused drew a breath and looked up. I found myself in the Greek Mythology section. Quick flashbacks of me sleeping through Classics 128 lectures in college just to try to run into the guy I was crushing on as we would leave the lecture hall. But also how I had adored reading about Homer, Odysseus, Medea, and Antigone. Much of what was written so long ago resonate so well with modern times.

Clutching my T.S. Eliot collection I realized I wanted to be inspired. I want to read about love, everlasting friendship and triumph over adversity. I put down the other book and wandered deeper into Powell’s.

Up and down the stairs it’s like a maze, I wandered into the architecture and interior design sections because I enjoy those topics. Unfortunately, the web has made it so much easier to digest those topics, relegating these books to things you keep on your coffee table for show.

Then I ended up in the young adult section and discovered Nancy Drew again. I sat on the floor looking at the bottom shelf which contained the books I currently store at my parents’ house, I was actually missing a couple from the collection they have here. I used to get so excited about buying these books.

He once said something like, “You’re writing at best is mediocre, pedantic at best.” I had retorted back, “It’s easy to judge someone else’s creations, but at least I try.”

But still, in that the singular moment he robbed me of the joy I get from sharing an experience. I stopped writing for 2 years because of that comment. But after an hour and a half in Powell’s, I purchased the book and rushed back to the hotel because I wanted to write again.

Thanks, Powell’s. You inspired me with the thoughts of many and resuscitated my will to write once more. And I love the way it smells inside, some mistake it for musk, but it definitely reeks more of inspiration.

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