Updated: May 31, 2019
“[O]ne of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone.” -bell hooks.
Welcome to “Pages;” a monthly blog about the story of Café con Libros, Bk: A Feminist Bookstore. I’m excited to embark on this journey because in addition to my dreams of being a Latin ballroom dancer, another dream of mine is to be a writer. While I have kept a journal for most of my life and have written for several small non-profits, I struggle to call myself a writer. Perhaps it is because most of the ideas that are near and dear to me, remain in my head and don’t make it onto a page for others to witness. In that case, maybe being a writer to me is being in community, have others bear witness and be in dialogue about the ideas I am putting out there...which is SCARY. However, the process of founding and managing a Feminist bookstore has pushed me out of my head and squarely onto several cliffs. It has come to the point where either I jump and grow or stay put peering over the edge at what could be.
The creation of this blog is me jumping from one of those cliffs. Pages was born from a vulnerable, online conversation about how to engage on Twitter as a business versus an individual person. In response, someone suggested a blog. My first reaction was “yes – that sounds good!” Then, I immediately groaned to myself and thought, “another thing to do? Why are things so hard? Why is there so much to do?” Surely, this was partially about 10 months of sleep interrupted by a nursing infant in addition to working full-time. Needless to say, I wasn’t clamoring for another thing to add to my to-do list.
However, in my typical fashion, I journaled about it, went to sleep with it on my spirit and woke up with the name "Pages" on my tongue. This type of community push and engagement is another reason why this blog is important. I am really committed to engaging our community in an attempt to solicit feedback and also, to simply get to know one another beyond the surface level. My hope is that this blog will create a space for us to go deep, practice vulnerability and expand via dialogue through my sharing the journey of my 1.5 year old bookstore baby, Cafe Con Libros.
I have three main goals with this blog. Truthfully, probably more. For example, I hope to strengthen my writing and build my confidence as a writer. However, the core purpose is to share the story of Café con Libros beyond what has already been beautifully written in the numerous articles about us. Please, don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for all the journalist who chose us to uplift yet, as to be expected, there are aspects of my journey with the bookstore that have yet to be fully captured. I think being in the midst of the newness of it all and pregnant, there was so much I missed, had not yet processed and so much more that had not even manifested. In addition, space and scope of any article are real constraints on telling a full, complicated and reflective story. Both are oftentimes, nonnegotiable so, folx do their best within the parameters they have. So far, the humans who wrote about us have done a damn good job.
Finally, owning a business as a womxn of color can be pretty isolating. It’s scary, it f*$ks with my self-esteem and it’s exhausting. It’s also pretty amazing to do something so meaningful and somewhat transgressive; opening a niche bookstore is pretty risky. You can multiply that by 10 with it being a Feminist bookstore owned by a WOC. This mixed bag of contradicting emotions is worth chronicling for myself and for others who may be able to benefit.
Either way, here we are and here we go. I look forward to what we create together.
with all my heart, kqd.
lovingly edited by Blessing Uchendu.