If a coffee is drunk in a local shop and it isn’t Instagrammed, did it really happen? That’s the question I’m asking myself today, because ever since I got back to Birmingham from a month-and-a-half-long book tour, I’ve been pretty silent here on the Localist blog and on social media. I realized it was bad when my sister mentioned that my lack of Instagram posts was so unusual that she had to double-check to see if she was even still following my account.
My tour isn’t over yet — a week from today, I’ll be on the train to New Orleans for the last official stop on my train tour at Octavia Books next Saturday (May 9 at 4 p.m.). I’d hoped to keep the social media flowing until then, but instead I’ve been pretty silent: I haven’t blogged. I’ve barely posted. I missed Record Store Day, and Independent Bookstore Day is tomorrow, and I haven’t written about it. For goodness sake, a new coffee shop opened up in Birmingham this morning, and I haven’t even been yet!
The truth is, I really love posting about local shops. I think it’s fun, and I know it’s important — local shops are essential to our local economies and to the health of our communities, and I like supporting them with my money AND with promotion. It really helps small shops when we share what we love about them on social media with our family and friends. But I’m also an introvert, and as soon as I dropped my bags on the floor in my apartment, my hermit gene kicked in full force. I have been to a few of my favorite Birmingham shops and restaurants, but I also filled up a grocery cart at Western and have (gasp!) been eating in quite a bit, recharging my solitude stores after such an extended time of faux extroversion.
I’d like to say that I’m back, and that I’ll be posting full force, but I know that’s not true. I’m still catching up with friends I haven’t talked to in a month, running errands that need my attention, sleeping a lot and just generally enjoying the fact that I can hang out on my own couch and get across town without contacting Uber or worrying about having a train to catch. I still haven’t returned quite a few emails, gotten to the bank, or even emptied the handful of Metro and subway cards from various cities out of my wallet.
I haven’t been Instagramming everything I’ve been doing, partly because pictures of myself sleeping is pretty creepy, partly because I’m working on figuring out what’s next for me and for The Localist, and partly because I just don’t feel like it. But never fear: I think you’ll be seeing pictures of me and my coffee again soon enough. For now, I just want to say thank you to everyone for being part of this journey with me. We’re not done yet, and I’ll see you again soon — at our favorite local shops, in New Orleans next weekend, and yeah … probably on Instagram, too.
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, creator of 30 Days of Local Praise and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.