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John Waters: “It was a magical time in my life…”

The iconoclastic director John Waters recently spoke with the Paris Review Daily about his love of Provincetown and his time spent working in bookstores there. (Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link.)

It was a magical time in my life. I worked in the bookshop. First I worked in the East End Bookshop that was run by Molly Malone Cook and her girlfriend, Mary Oliver, the poet, who was not famous yet. And then I worked at the Provincetown Bookshop for many, many years. And it's still there. Elloyd Hansen, one of the owners, was the guy who really gave me my complete education about books. I didn't go to school, so he's the one who told me about Ronald Firbank, Jane Bowles; I learned everything working there.

And when I worked there they said, "you can have free books—whatever you want, but you have to read 'em and you have to sell 'em." So I read everything and would get obsessed by a book and sell tons of copies.

Mary Oliver is one of Beacon's most acclaimed and beloved authors, and a collection of photos from her life with Molly Malone Cook, several of which were shot in the bookshop, was released in 2007.