A Hole in the Center of the Universe

Fremont - self-styled Center of the Universe - somehow lost this gem:

Fremont Place Book Co.

The placard outside the Fremont Place Book Co. showed children looking up into shooting stars of books. A flyer advertised Tarot readings in the back room and new books by Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, John Irving and others. Window offerings included Sister Wendy’s Book of Saints and Toni Morrison’s Paradise. Some of the window books were labeled “Staff Pick”, e.g., Rotten Ralph’s Rotten Romance. Beautiful blue tiles surrounded the doorway and entrance, where you could read theatre and fair posters.

Inside was a small modern bookstore with sections on Art & Photography, Performing Arts, Humor, Computers, Gardening, Home and Nature. Northwest History, Guides, Camping, Hiking, Travel and Cooking - all sections that would appeal to Seattleites among others. A magazine rack held copies of the Utne Reader, Mirabella, Wallingford Word, and the Hemp Activist Times. No comfy chairs in this store, but there was a small chair in the children’s corner.

Lovely wooden bookshelves contained very good selections on women’s issues, gay issues and writers. The excellent fiction shelves held both Kesey and Kerouac, but no King! On a card rack near the front desk, you could pick from a series of Postcards From the Edge of Seattle. Other novelties available at the desk – “Women Fly” T-shirts, wrapping paper, bookmarks.

While I was there, a man named Terry came in with a star origami and presented it to the clerk. It had, he said, 308 folds. He was teaching a blind friend to fold origami, so he did this one blindfolded. It took him three hours. Origami, he said can “lock you into timebound awareness.” It was just another one of those encounters you can have in Fremont. It was that kind of place.