On the cusp of the California Antiquarian Book Fair at Pasadena, certainly one of the most dynamic and relevant book fairs in the world.... here goes wrap-up of the San Francisco 'shadow' fair, held just one week prior at the vast, harbor-for-book-lovers space known as Fort Mason.  With a change from the traditional venue and a super bowl hanging at the wings of the stage, it was unclear what would unfold this February weekend. 

Set-up is like those hours before a big party, when you are trying to get the dust-boulders (mine are decidedly not bunnies)  from hiding spots, make a last minute grocery list, cut flowers, spritz linen spray and spit-shine the bathroom mirror, all while watching the clock tick down in yoga pants and a bad t-shirt, knowing your hair still needs washing and you'd love to paint your nails.  (Cooking has not even remotely started.) 

1. Pre-formation. Boxes open, stacks begin growing on tables, curious dealers peer into the opacity of bubbled boards, suitcases reveal promise of contents. There were healthy set-up sales, which does encourage. Shortly following the  move-in, I experience the  

2. Critical puddle. A general state of fuzziness as vignettes struggle for order and flow.  All seems lost until

3. Sanity restored. Through some amalgam of incantation, will, merciful randomness and witty easel perspectives, a composition that satisfies is near reach. Putter, shuffle, fidget and triple touching loops but gives way

4. Too tired to obsess. With wares unfurled, my icy fingers and rumbly stomach belie the immediacy - for food, drink and respite. I am quieted by exhaustion and startlingly happy. It is done. Ahead is the promise of dawn. Sleep will be adequate but not restful (head wants to dress, find coffee, set out on the hunt and straighten for the opening bell). 

Showtime... the muse awaits.