A cozy little bookstore in Thief River

Held a booksigning in Thief River Falls at the Northern Lights bookstore. The Northern Lights is a store which is staffed by people who are debilitated by mental illness. All the books (and there are plenty of them) are donated. The prices are low. The staffers are kind and have a fun camaraderie.

A steady trickle of people came through the door. Sold 15 books. That is about right for a signing at a small bookstore. Had some enjoyable conversation both with the staffers and with the customers. One couple had driven up the Mt. Lemmon highway near Tucson and had pie just because I had written about doing the same thing!

The store, which has been open for 12 years, has provided a springboard for many mentally ill people to get jobs with other stores and companies. Helping with the books obviously provides the staffers with a sense of dignity. They worked diligently and took pride in their task.

Earlier in the day I ran into a man in another town, a gentleman I have known for years, who told about his new job in the mental health field. Hinted that he had suffered from mental illness himself for years, which I didn't know. He seemed thrilled to be back working after being forced out of his high-stress corporate job about ten years ago. His marriage broke up at the same time, and he moved back home.

All of the sufferers of mental illness I met today shared one trait: A gentle sweetness and a hint of naivette. And a sense of humor. I liked them all. And I admired their obvious courage.