Tell us about your work with young parolees.
I think everyone has an opportunity to make bad choices. It’s in our nature. Most of the kids I employ in the bookstore, make a simple bad choice and they deal with the consequences. Once they get out of jail, they need a place to work. They need a second chance. I give them that.
Do you have much success?
Almost everyone who worked with me has gone on to become a productive member of society. A few have gone to school to get degrees and a few are now dads. One of them manages my old bookstore since I moved and bought a new one. Not everyone success in the outside world though.
You mentioned your first bookstore. What was it like and why did you sell it?
My first store, Sword and Pen, was in El Prado. It was close to the college and a lot of kids used it just to hang out. The building was dilapidated, but it had a lot of character. I also owned the upstairs apartments. I love books. I have a side job translating old books and I also help evaluate and appraise personal libraries. Collecting books is what I’ve always done. So a bookstore just makes sense. I only sold it because my then girlfriend, Stevie, moved and I moved with her.
Is Stevie your girlfriend?
Well, she’s my wife now.
What does she do?
She illustrates books occasionally, but she is a very talented painter.
How did you two meet?
She rented on of my apartments above the bookstore. Now, don’t go getting the wrong idea. We didn’t really get along at first. The time I spent with her, however, the more I wanted to be with her. Her family wasn’t very keen on it, though.
No? Why not? You seem like a decent guy.
You’d have to ask them to be sure. I think people get the wrong idea about me all the time. They were also afraid I was taking her away from them.
What was your courtship like?
Do people even use that word anymore? Well, DATING Stevie, was a little tough. She had just had a bad breakup. Neither one of us wanted a relationship. But like I said, the more time I spend with her, the more I wanted to be with her. She has this way about her that draws me to her. I just had to be with her.
Did her family ever come around?
No, not really.
OK, last question. How would you sum up your outlook on life?
I really think people need to be true to themselves. I don’t feel the need to conform to may societal norms. I mean, I only owe ONE tie. Search for things that make you happy and just focus on that.
Well, thank you, Rick, for talking to us today. I will make sure and send everyone your way to check out your new bookstore.
Thanks for interviewing me. Also keep an eye out for Stevie’s upcoming show. She has some great pieces that people are already talking about.
If you want to know more about Rick, Stevie, and their connection to dragons, pomegranate seeds, and how he saves her life more than one time, check out The Abduction Myth by M.M. Simons or check out her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Come back to the blog next month and read her interview.