Gentlemen, I thank you for your kind words and concern.
I had been thinking of starting a topic here to explain the circumstances of my situation for some time now, and I thank Barry for getting things started.
I was a collector long before I was a bookseller, though I made a point of building as comprehensive a library as possible. When I was forced in 2003 to rethink my career selling books was a natural and comfortable course to take. As I had already started to sell blades, armor, etc. in what became a process of focusing my collection on early soft metal tsuba - a process I have described here in some detail - selling off the portions of my library that were now superfluous, along with the extra copies I had acquired along the way, was a natural. It gave me an excuse to continue to go to sword shows, and I loved to place the right book in the right hands.
This community was a mainstay of the business I built, and I'm eternal grateful for the many good friends I have made.
Some of you might remember me as a dedicated heavy smoker, though I quit in 2005. Midway through 2009 I began experiencing symptoms of what was diagnosed as emphysema, and the progress of the disease has been rather rapid. I'm not on oxygen yet, and medication allows me to be minimally functional, but my days of lugging boxes of Taikans around was clearly over. The Chicago winters are especially difficult, and much of last winter I was unable to put much energy into the business, in fact I had to cancel some orders because I couldn't drag myself out to the garage to find the books to ship them.
This spring I made a decent deal with my good friends here at Paragon Books, and nearly all of my Asian related book inventory is there now on consignment. Actually they have been able to make great strides in cataloging a huge backlog of interesting books that I never seemed to get around to, like:
Kyoto kokuritsu hakubutsukan zo: Sakamoto Ryoma no kankei ihin
[Kyoto National Museum's Collection of Articles that Belonged to Sakamoto Ryoma]
Kyoto National Museum
7 x 10", 16 pp., 5 b/w illustrations, text in Japanese, paper, Kyoto, 1981. (o.p.; light soil marks to cover)
This exhibition catalog contains articles such as kimono, swords, writings and paintings that belonged to Sakamoto Ryoma, a leader of the movement that overthrew the Tokugawa shogunate during the Bakumatsu period in Japan. His handwritten documents are supplemented by a printed version.
Price $10.00 Item # 39582
I've been battling with Social Security over getting disability and medical benefits, and I'm still waiting after over a year to find out when I will be able to appear before the final stage of appeal. There's a technicality, I won't bore you with the details, but it's not a sure thing. Of course I didn't have insurance in force when all this hit.
I've also had my hands full with the inevitable creditors, the home mortgage loan modification game, etc. We are losing our house and still have to find a place to move. Through all this I've somehow managed to keep 4 kids in school, 2 in college at the moment, and my dear wife has been working way too many hours.
I've been able to maintain my sense of humor, more or less, and I do still have a few things to sell that will be of some interest here. I still look at books when I get out, and keep my eyes, virtual and physical, open for bargains.
I've recently tried to contribute here when I have something to offer, and I'll continue to do that.
I don't know if I have a "3rd act," though I may have to think of something if the SSDI gets turned down - my wife is tired of being the breadwinner and says I have to contribute!
Thanks again for the friendship and continued support I find here,
Craig Harris, Bookseller
Bridge of Dreams, LLC
Books from and about Asia