Having a bookstore in a small college town is a bittersweet undertaking when it comes to staff. Legolas knew what he was talking about when he said, “For such is the way of it: to find and lose, as it seems to those whose boat is on the running stream.” We always have at least two college student booksellers at DDG and during 26 years I have been fortunate and saddened to have many terrific booksellers work with us here at the store for a few years and then graduate and move on, leaving a living relationship which endures even as it changes.
This is as it should be, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t mark the spot now and again. You see the whole staff is in denial over losing Konner Wilson, who just graduated from UMF and will be leaving for Chicago, for a Master’s program in Writing for the Screen and Stage. Konner proves an important point; skills are interchangeable but personality is not. Konner has a great work ethic and is a real team player, absolutely, but most of all she is a true original. She has a fun and decisive character which includes entertainingly purposeful bad advice and a great sense of personal theater.
We’re all going to miss her but we’re also excited that she is staying in bookselling and has taken a job at The Book Cellar out in Chicago. The title of this post came from the idea Konner put forward when we were preparing to do our video store tour. “Everyone should always refer to me by saying, ‘yes, that Konner Wilson,’ as though I’m super famous and it’s hard to believe I work here.” In order to help explain how she is that Konner Wilson, an exit interview was clearly in order.
Kenny: What don’t the Konner Wilsons in parallel dimensions know that they really ought to but only you do?
Konner: Well, I’ve gotten very lucky in this dimension. I know one Konner in another who didn’t get into grad school, and she’s taking it pretty hard. I try not to let them know about my success in this dimension because I don’t want to start anything.
Kenny: How does your theater background translate to bookselling both in terms of presentation and handselling?
Konner: Wow, this is a great question. It translates to every part of it. Because of my theater background I’m constantly thinking in terms of presentation. My acting experience helps on a very basic level. I can talk about and recommend books easily. But my reading and writing of plays is also something to take into consideration. I’ve never been an outwardly social person, but with my experience I can figure out what to say and predict how scenarios will go. And of course in the book world, reading is of the upmost importance. I read books all the time, and I also read plays. I think that creates a different way of reading and interpreting literature that I try to use to my advantage.
Kenny: If The Nix were going to marry another book what would it be?
Konner: Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, no questions asked. It helps that they are two of my favorite books, but they also made me feel something when I read them. I felt loss, grief, some humor, and hope. They are both books that have stuck with me and they made me think. One of the best things a book can do is make you think. These two made me question myself and the things around me. I highly recommend these to anyone who hasn’t read them.
Kenny: I’m very pleased that you’ll be joining the staff at The Book Cellar, a Chicago independent bookstore, but I do hope you will remember the non-disclosure agreement you signed about what we keep in the DDG basement?
Konner: Don’t you worry, Kenny. You see, I’ve been blessed with what is called a Terrible Memory. That means there is a chance that I don’t even remember what is in the basement. Or that we have a secret basement in the first place. And an even bigger chance that if you ask me about this interview tomorrow I won’t even remember it! The secret is safe with me.
Kenny: Okay then, what about what we keep in our attic?
Konner: Kenny, you told me that if I said anything about what’s in the attic Sir Devaney Doak of Garrett will find me and get his revenge. Again, the secret is safe with me.
Kenny: Thanks, Konner. We’ll be cheering for you in Chicago!
Konner: Thanks, Kenny! You know, I originally took this job for the employee discount, but it has become so much more than that. I didn’t know I would become a part of such a fun a rewarding community of book lovers and booksellers. Working here was a great first bookselling job and I look forward to continuing in Chicago.