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  • Erin Chandler

What Today Brings


“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Enthusiasm is something I come by honestly. My father, Dan Chandler, was one of the most enthusiastic souls one could ever come across. He was passionate about everything. Whether he was hosting a sports or music superstar in Las Vegas, duck hunting with his beloved men’s men in Arkansas or having a scotch and cigar looking out over an empty pool, you rarely found him without a grin on his face and a quote on his lips about the pleasures of being alive.

My dad’s life was fraught with idea after idea, scheme after scheme and often failure after failure… with enthusiasm. Even when the horse named after him, Bob Baffert trained Danthebluegrassman, was scratched on Derby morning after an injury, he allowed himself only a few hours of disappointment and then it was on to the business of living a happy life. It was heartbreaking to watch that dream of his to have been dashed. I think it hurt me for him more than it hurt him. I thought the universe was entirely unkind to let this happen but it taught me a valuable lesson.

I have taken his cue, or maybe inherited his spirit, in everything I have attempted in my own life. Now I am about to go out on another limb. I am opening a bookstore in downtown Versailles. I am not implying this new venture will be a failure or that the other projects I have embarked on were failures, but history has proven that every effort does not become the giant successes we hope. As an actress, I was in a few big movies, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dead Husbands but I was never the big star. I was on a few TV shows, Chicago Hope and The Net, but was never a ‘regular.’ When I produced the independent film, Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel, it did not become the Indy Darling of the Sundance film festival we thought it would. And when my first book, June Bug Versus Hurricane came out this July it was through Rabbit House Press, a small publishing company I proudly created… not Oprah’s Book Club. Still my cup runneth over with enthusiasm for this new bookstore on Main street which will be called Rabbit House Books.

There is no better way to spend a rainy day than browsing through a bookstore, except maybe curling up on the couch with a good book you have just gotten from one. Bookstores to me are exciting and calming. Exciting to look up and see representations of so many different ways to live a life and calming to look up and see representations of so many different lives lived.

Whether you are looking for a literary journey with two brothers from Maine and the family ties that bind us by way of Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys or her equally insightful and moving bestseller Olive Kitteridge, you can find it in a bookstore. If you want to read a memoir like Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking or Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain you can find it on the shelves of a bookstore. If you are looking to find out what all the fuss is about a classic you may not have read such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, or Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, you will not be disappointed at your local bookstore.

Rabbit House Books will have all of these and more. You will be able to discover the immense talent of Kentucky’s own Silas House with his Eli the Good, A Parchment of Leaves or Clay’s Quilt as well as works by other Kentuckians like Wendell Berry, Bobbie Ann Mason and Ed McClanahan. If it is something spiritual or uplifting that you are looking for we will have on our shelves Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle. There will be new and used books of fiction, non-fiction, cooking books, art and photography books, poetry, plays and a library of ideas that will take you away to worlds you never knew existed.

There is so much heart in our marvelous town and each of the charming shops are clearly created with love, Marketplace on Main, Pretty in Pink and Solaris Art Gallery to name a few. It is obvious that downtown Versailles is growing with attention and care. It is not the little village I grew up in with The Prince and Princess and C & D Market where your friendly grocer would hold a tab and even deliver but Corner Drug, now Cornerstone Pharmacy, where I used to sit at the counter and have a cheeseburger, is still there and so is that counter. Seeing the smiling face of Robin is much of the reason why everyone can feel at home at the Cornerstone Pharmacy. She cultivates that friendly atmosphere and never lets you down. If the new bookstore on the corner of Green and Main street that will open in early December adds anything to our community, it will be a great honor.

Whether I happily run Rabbit House Books in Versailles until I die or only for a year, the one thing I know for sure, success or failure, it will not be the last thing I take on with enthusiasm.

One final note, I am pleased to let you know that Danthebluegrassman is joyfully living out his retirement at Old Friends Farm in Georgetown.


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© 2019 by Erin Chandler

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