Every day I woke up early and rode the bus to Queens, where I taught drama. Then I rode the train to Manhattan where I went to classes at NYU (the education classes were held mostly in the evenings since many who took them were teachers). I think I usually got out around 9 or 10. Then I had to take the train and a bus to get home.
I was always hungry at this time, especially after classes were done. Any food I took with me had been consumed long before during the day. We were very poor, so I couldn't afford to stop very often at restaurants. And during the winters, it could be bitterly cold. I was tired all the time and stressed out of my mind.
There was a Barnes and Noble nearby and I'd go in there sometimes to warm up or browse the books and forget for a few minutes about stressful things. I'd browse through books and think of how wonderful it would be to be an author some day. That was a dream that seemed impossibly far away given the amount of academic writing and work I had ahead of me for the foreseeable future.
Life went on, of course, and things changed. They got better, as they often seem to.
Because of my time there I was able to get a job that provided better for my family and has allowed us to have a more comfortable, less stressful life. A job in a small private school that gave me some ideas that eventually led to the publication to my book.
So, you have two symbols of two different times in my life: Barnes and Noble as the symbol of those rough years in NYC and then my book, which represents the more comfortable years that followed.
Today, a friend from those NYC days posted a picture in FB. A picture she'd taken in one of those Barnes and Nobles I used to frequent to warm myself and day dream a bit.
Perhaps you can understand why this picture made my eyes a bit misty and gave me chills. (Hint: top shelf, second from the left).