I would sit in the corner with an atlas by myself. If you were to pose me the question: “what kind of childhood games did you play?” – there, my dears, is the answer.
It was the biggest atlas you’ve ever seen. Bright electric blue cover to cover, like the way we all imagine the ocean in our heads at night. The grid of lines a curving spider web over the whole globe. This was Earth. And the pages of Earth were slick and neon white and covered in layer upon layer of colors and texture. The Earth came in so many skins according to this book. It was a rich drink for my eyes. And in my lap on the carpet, the insides of the book splayed over my knees like floppy wings, and the whole thing crinkled with water damage. It smelled alive.
I still adore this atlas. I’m going to steal from my Papa’s house here in a day or two. Though, I don’t need it. The copyright date is sometime in the late 70s. I own 4 separate devices that can tell me about the geography of the Earth instantly depending on how I want to map out the cross section of my existence. But this atlas is better. Because I can still cover my lap with this loopy, musty bird book and show you exactly how the world looked in 1977. This is what we Knew, and so – thus – here is our history.
Plus it just smells so good.
History is pretty fancy. It’s fancy because it happened for real, but – like all good moments – it’s over and finished. And being dead and done and buried and Already Happened and left to memory makes it ripe fruit for creative minds to go to work. Big Fish stories. Tall tales.
And – ah yes – historical fiction. I think we can give you a spoonful or two.
Braving the cold (it’s a frozen, blue spot on Louisville’s map today, folks), author Alison Atlee  will bring her latest book, The Typewriter Girl, to Carmichael’s Bookstore for a healthy dose of love, trials and human experience, telling the tale of a young woman living a history long past.
Atlee, described as a child once given to reenactments of Little Women (I think we would have gotten along swimmingly), writes of heroine Betsey Dobson, recently moved to the seaside town of Idensea in the early 20th century. An unconventional girl by standards, Betsey seeks to break from the drudgery of typewriting in London and make her own way, finding her fair share of trouble, trial and maybe a dash or two of romance managing a new resort hotel on the coast.
Atlee will bring The Typewriter Girl to the Frankfort Avenue store for a special reading and signing starting at 7pm. Copies of The Typewriter Girl are on sale now in paperback for $15.00.
All history is fiction to some degree (feel free to debate this forever). We’re too colorful a species to tell the truth. As for me, if given the chance, I would bring my Papa’s 1977 Rand-McNally World Atlas to a poetry reading. I don’t really think I need to say much more than that. My game as a child was to sit with our Old World in my lap – and there’s just nothing more creative and poetic than that, folks.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information, visit the event page  or call the Frankfort Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com