A Real Bookstore – located just outside of Dallas, Texas – is without a doubt one of the most badass bookstores in North Texas. In the same way that I as a kid wished for more skateboard parks in DFW, I now wish for more Real Bookstores, at least one per college campus in the region (and there are many). Places where larger-press books can sit happily alongside indie-press books, where readers can go in and get what they want (or discover new writers).  A Real Bookstore has energy, personality, and courage. Additionally – reflective of their moxie – they carry many literary journals, and – and – they host visiting authors, both established and emerging, with larger presses and indie presses. The store itself is spacious, and the sellers know their stuff. To say they support all books doesn’t begin to describe it.

I had a very good time reading at a Real Bookstore.  Right away I was greeted by store manager Lorna Cevallos-Male, who had just started reading Hustle and was excited to talk about it.

Lorna Cevallos-Male: Rocks.

We spoke for a while about the history of the store and how it came to be (that it is run by the people who once ran legendary Legacy Books). Soon I was met by an old friend Amy Dorris, who I grew up with but hadn’t seen in years. More friends from way back made it out as well, including Amy Achilles, who forever altered my life at Mansfield High when she loaned me the Pixies “Doolittle” cassette in tenth grade Chemistry, and Brooke Jacobs, who I sat beside on the school bus in middle school and early high school. We talked about our route, split between old back roads and the area’s new suburbs, picking up kids (such as myself) who lived up gravel lanes and the kids (like her) who lived in brick houses in the area’s developing  suburbs. Brooke and I were the quiet kids who sat together on a bus of rambunctious hollerers, often accosted by the rowdier bunch. She reminded me that she used to loan me five dollars all the time. I always promised to pay her back, and a week later I made good, though I would never say what the money was for. I want for some reason to say it was for candy. But now I think: Candy? and for some I reason doubt it. Her brother-in-law is the poet Chad Davidson, one of the many interesting facts I learned later that night as Amy, Brook and I talked over Mexican food.

An interesting fact about a Real Bookstore: it is located near one of those old, hold-out houses: the somewhat run-down but still occupied wooden places that stand alone in a field, surrounded by a 38-lane freeway overpass and a developing shopping area, in a region where former homeowners have sold off their property to the shopping center builders. A home where, if you put blinders over your eyes and gaze straight at it, you can see what the area looked like fifty years ago. Take your blinders away, and viola. I love these houses. They look like they have a force-field around them.