Second Careers, Second Lives

Many of you will remember reading at least one novel by Judy Blume when you were growing up.  The impact of her best-seller, Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret was so great that the book’s title has slipped into popular culture’s lexicon, most recently as a snarky one-liner by that Spandex-suited superhero Wade Wilson in Deadpool.

But whatever happened to Judy Blume?  Life happened, that’s what.  Just because you write several books whose income stream eventually dries up (as all such streams do) doesn’t mean your heart stops beating or hoping for new adventures.  In Blume’s case, she and her husband opened a bookstore in an unlikely place:  Key West, Florida.

The profile gives a good sense of all the many details that must be attended to in running such an enterprise, including the constant need to dust the shelves.  (Another serious problem, although it’s not mentioned, has to be Florida’s humidity, which has ruined many a well-made book.)

It is a delight to know that someone like Blume is involved in a bookstore.  Most authors are involved only with the writing and the production of their own works.  A few, however, have seized upon the opportunity to participate in all facets of the book business.  Such people have a unique perspective on the creative process.  They also have something to teach all of us about the pleasures and challenges of staying close to the profession we love at all points of our lives.

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