Often in the pages of Riddled with Arrows we talk about writing embodied: story personified as a self-aware character (meta), the writer’s tools as the physical extension of an abstract process, the written word as a kind of immortality for the fleeting human psyche. In a way, Riddled with Arrows 3.1: “Libraries & Bookstores” is a further exploration of this enduring idea.
As you well know, Dear Reader, libraries and bookstores are much more than the sum of their shelves— they are more than just repositories where humanity stores its books. These places are the physical and spiritual home of writing as a communal art. They are centers of learning. They are interactive museums, a kind of living history. For some, they are a place of worship; for others, a refuge. Throughout the wide world, libraries and bookstores are at the heart of our communities, housing our book clubs and poetry workshops, our open mics, our hobby meet-ups and support groups. They serve society at every level, quietly feeding our private research and our public revolutions (and vice versa).
Among the many submissions we received in response to the Call for this issue, nostalgia was, by far, the most commonly invoked theme—and rightly so. For many of us, the libraries and bookstores of our youth were magical places, the setting of our own personal origin stories, the gateway to a lifelong love affair with the knowledge, fantasy, and flourishing we find in the written word. These spaces live on inside us, just as every writer, in some secret corner of their heart, wants to live on through the discovery of a future bright-eyed, budding learner between the pages of a book on a dusty shelf.
Read here, woven throughout the virtual shelves of our first issue of 2019, variations on this same yearning: an infatuation with the sentimental, sensory indulgence of a book; an urge to linger, outside of time, with ghosts among the stacks; a desire to protect all the precious pages from the ravages of chaos and decay—impulses all the more poignant, perhaps, for their impossibility.
Please feel free to peruse the content at your leisure. Our hours are whenever to always, including Sundays. Speak as loud as you like, borrow as much as you want (though please be sure to use proper attribution). Dig deep into that virtual book smell. We hope you find your visit edifying, invigorating, and inspiring.
Oh, and while you’re here, be sure to stop by the Riddled with Arrows Browsing Library, which celebrates its Grand Opening with the launch of this issue.
Thank you for your patronage.
–>Shannon Connor Winward
Riddled with Arrows 3.1: “Libraries & Bookstores”
Foreword | Contributors
Visit the Riddled with Arrows Library ~ Grand Opening!