My First Visit to the Last Bookstore

Editor’s Letter: My First Visit To The Last Bookstore

DINNER ON DECEMBER 19 TOOK LONGER THAN EXPECTED. I attended a press dinner for Bone Kettle (Pasadena, CA) with a friend and what was expected to be a two-hour event at most turned into five and a half hours of eating and best of all, conversation.

We talked about what transformation looked like after a passed relationship, what it means to be loved, our favorite moments of the year and so much more. Lately, have been reflecting on growth from goals and progression of the personal and professional self, but haven’t really taken the time to think about the most definitive moments of the year.

In this year alone, there were painting parties and fashion shows featuring runway collections created by at-risk youth and survivors of the sex trade and other social injustices.

There were airplane flights; one to a city laden with cherry blossoms and the other took me to a country covered in ancient ruins. There were rooftop brunches and seats perfectly close to jazz bands. There were moments of revelation; both took place within two weeks of each other, and both served as a reminder of what it is that I want in this life. Will be writing about both for you, but for today, sharing one will do…

Valentine’s Day 2016

I was honored to be able to spend this day with one of my very close friends, Daisy, where we did some exploration in Downtown Los Angeles. We visited a 7,000-square-foot cake castle called “Break Bread” at Think Tank Gallery. It was a six-room cake maze ornate with what looked like sugar cream frosting and chandeliers made of gumdrops and hard candy.

Afterwards we visited The Last Bookstore, which was on both of our bucket lists being bookworms and all. When visiting bookstores, I unfailingly always go through the following sections: classic literature, biographies, business, leadership and careers, and poetry.

While perusing through the aisles with curiosity, I picked up a few poetry books I had been eyeing and was reminded of a love I had at a very young age. A love for writing and reading. This love was first encouraged by my father, who bought me more books than I can count when I was a child, and secondly by the fact that I lived literally next door to the city’s public library. I spent most of my childhood in that library and read an abnormal amount of books compared to the average child.

At the start of middle school, my sister purchased me my first book of poetry, by Emily Dickinson, and gave me an accompanying journal. As mentioned before, my journal entries were nothing more than a recount of my daily activities and simple interactions with other boys. It wasn’t until middle school when I developed a better ability to write from the heart and to write about what really lived in my mind.

In an attempt to consolidate all of my belongings before I moved out of my parent’s house after high school graduation, I could only recall that I kept all my photos and a couple of yearbooks. The rest I felt had no need as living objects so I got rid of them all.

Viewing these poetry books at The Last Bookstore made me want to read all of the writing I had done in my younger years, but I couldn’t remember if I had ever kept those items in storage or not. Without any recollection of keeping track, I thought I had discarded all of my writing and felt deep regret for not placing more value in holding on to these items.

I have always loved to believe that I would never live with regret, but for the next two weeks after this incident, regret was all that I felt.

At that time, I began creating the editorial calendar for this website and brainstorming original columns and post series that I wanted to implement. I was using Google Drive to store and organize all of this information. While cleaning out what was currently living inside my Drive, I came across a document named after an online community I used to actively participate in by sharing my poetry.

And there it was.

All of my creative writing digitally recorded, intentionally tucked away in a safe space. It turned out that the younger me realized that I would want access to my material at a later age and I am so grateful for that. I have held on to these documents tightly since rediscovering and have even gone so far to printing it all out just to have the files on hand. Additionally have looked up more of my writing living on other blogging platforms (before this website came to fruition) to see how far I have come and the phases of life each piece is part of.

Valentine’s Day 2016 reminded me of a longstanding passion I have quietly and steadily developed that I now want to share with the world more often.

It reminded me how we can all be better in cherishing and honoring our creativity if only we would make more time to review and reflect upon what we have created and how we’ve strengthened our skills along the way.

My mother has always done well in keeping all of our childhood awards (more on that later), and am sure she would have done the same for my writing had she known it was something I loved to do. I was never comfortable with sharing my writing with anybody and there are only a handful of individuals who I have grown to trust in reading and critiquing my work.

In January of this year, I told myself I wanted to write more and the Editor’s Letter is an example of doing just that. All of this appreciation for my previous work, for practicing more writing, for posting the writing prompts, for the ambition to read and digest more, this is all part of a larger dream that’s far too young and undeveloped to share with you just yet, but promise that it will all make sense somehow, someday.

May you take a moment to cherish any creative item you’ve ever produced this week.

Rosie Chuong