Have you ever considered living life like a tumbleweed?
Last Sunday was a lazy weekend day, complete with doing some reading about whatever popped into my head next. This time, I read about an iconic bohemian bookstore in Paris’ Latin Quarter called Shakespeare and Company.
The place is just as you’d hope for when it comes to hole-in-the-wall book shops. Books stacked tall and wobbling, short and squeaking staircases, and a resident cat named Agatha.
This English-speaking haven slowly grew beyond a retail outpost in the middle of the City of Lights.
The original owner of the shop, inspired by the kindness he received throughout his journey of living a vagabond’s life as a young man, set out make his bookstore as equally as welcoming a place.
His philosophy? “Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”
And so, the era of the tumbleweeds began at Shakespeare and Co. From the first day the store opened, writers, artists, and intellectuals were invited to sleep among the shop’s shelves and piles of books, on small beds that doubled as benches during the day.
“Three things are asked of each Tumbleweed: read a book a day, help at the shop for a few hours a day, and produce a one-page autobiography.” An expansive archive now exists of these travelers from far and wide, capturing generations of dreamers who have chosen to share their stories.
If I can count on all of you as my accountability partners, hold me to this: I’m going to be a tumbleweed at Shakespeare and Co. one day, whether I wind up staying for three days or three years.
The entire experience sounds like a bohemian, Moulin Rouge-y dream, and an inspiring one at that.