The quite awesome Karen Lillis not only has a new serialized memoir happening at Undie Press titled Bagging the Beats at Midnight - Confessions of an Indie Bookstore Clerk about her days as a bookstore clerk at the quite awesome St. Marks Bookstore, but a quite happening interview about the project with TBWCYL, Inc. favorite and This Zine Will Change Your Life contributor Jen Michalski at the JMWW. Anyway you slice it, its goodness all-around, and we do love the goodness.
JM: So what came first for you—the idea for the bookstore tour or the idea for the memoir?
KL: The memoir idea came a few years ago, when I was in library school and all the 22-year-olds in my classes were saying that books didn't matter to them, that they were just "information containers" like any blog, e-reader, or PDF. I think my blood pressure went up during library school because of this ongoing conversation. The thought came to me, "Everyone I’ve ever loved, I related to through books." In 2007, I started keeping a notebook of book anecdotes, of my life spent with books, of my friends and loved ones and the books I associated with them. More recently I decided to make my book clerk years the parameters of the book—because St Mark's is so unique, and because those years were the ones most intensely lived with books. St Mark's was at the center of so many book-related friendships I made.
Cultural Tourism is an idea I have been really interested in ever since I found Larry Portzline online (maybe 2007), he invented Bookstore Tourism. Over the past few months, I’ve written about Small Press Tourism, Creative Tourism, and Library Tourism, and it was from these writings that SPF (Pittsburgh’s Small Press Festival) asked me to do the two tours.