The recent uprising of female empowerment in the United States compelled me to really pay attention and listen to the women in my community. Months ago, I discovered, Lizzy Evensen, by way of her husband, James Stickling — the power duo behind the brick and mortar bookstore located at 15 N. River Street in Batavia, Illinois, simply titled — The Book Shop.
A second-hand store where perusers can discover their next night stand read, The Book Shop is also the perfect place to chat about life and literature, and was just what Kane County residents were wishing for their community.
“The residents of Batavia and surrounding cities have gone above and beyond to support our dream of bringing a bookshop to our town,” Evensen told me over drinks at Rivers Edge Bar on River Street just across from her bookshop. “Book donations by the boxful poured in to help us get started.”
Not a stranger to running a small business, I learned Evensen helped manage her father’s copier company for 13 years and maneuvered through many roles to help her families’ business become a success.
After we discussed the fast-paced beginnings of The Book Shop we paused to order a second round and I could see something in Evensen’s eyes that said, “I’ve got more to tell you.”
While I was intrigued at her excitement for literature and bringing books to the residents of Batavia, I realized I was engaged in conversation with a woman so much deeper than brainstorming marketing plans for The Book Shop and casually discussing books with customers. Our conversation continued about future plans for The Book Shop, a concept she and Stickling easily slipped into after a bottle of wine, and organically, talk of her own writing quickly followed.
“I’m a music writer.. a music junkie, if I’m honest,” Evensen told me while I sipped a sweet Seven and Seven cocktail.
Her mind, exploding with ideas, resonated with me as a creative. You see, creative people rarely have one passion. Their minds, an intricate explosion of constant running ideas, seems restless and willing to try anything and everything to bring about the reality of their imaginations.
And herein lies Lizzy.
One aspect of her writing supports musicians with marketing and online presence — simply put, Evensen launches a buzz about their work. This artist development has brought to life “Press Play Media & Marketing,” a PR service that supports artists all over the world with press releases, social media consulting, and artist networking.
“I’m crazy about writing the stories about these artists so they can go on performing and writing their music,” Evensen explained.
A contributing author to “Artist View” an art-centered platform where artists, actors, filmmakers, designers and music lovers can explore each other without the noise of the entertainment industry encroaching in to sway opinions and interests. Evensen writes the column “Extended Play” with her partner, Stickling.
““Extended Play” is an on-going music series where we listen to music and really spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinions about the artists and their work,” Evensen explained.
A snippet of one of Evensen’s recent reviews from “Extended Play:”
“The dark and sexy sound of Krysle Lip has been flowing through my ears lately. His new single King of Dreams is a haunting song calling out everyone who blindly follows the talentless idols of pop culture instead of seeking out true art that inspires you.”
After diving into her love for music, Evensen told me of a beautiful and heart-wrenching story she’d been working on for years, a fictional memoir of sorts that tells the coming-of-age story of a young woman in vivid detail, tapping into an inner monologue that none have the opportunity to hear.
Intrigued to here more, I asked Evensen to consider me as a beta reader for her story before it published.
“It’s got a long way to go,” Evensen commented. “I’ve grown so much since then and I need to dive back into that woman again to pull out her entire story.”
Amazed at the amount of creativity coursing through the woman across the table from me, our conversation swayed to all things Batavia.
“I love my town,” Evensen told me, settling in to a topic that brought her from the intensity of her own writing to a conversation that felt like home.
Evensen spoke enthusiastically of the recent launch of the Batavia Lyceum Association, a monthly meeting of minds that features intellectual and educational speakers. October marked the second successful meeting hosted by Bar Evolution, which featured Batavia High School History teacher, Scott Bayer.
“October’s talk was an adaptation of a term paper Mr. Bayer wrote for a graduate history course on Nazi Germany. Much of the information in the presentation is sourced from British-American Historian, Charles Higham’s important book, Trading with the Enemy: The Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933–1949.”
Evensen is confident that stirring conversations about various topics, both historic and to date, will benefit the overall of society and perhaps open minds.
We could have spent hours talking in the bar, round after round, digging deeper into our creative lives, but we paused there because, after all, we both had families to get home to.
Readers, I implore you to be brave and talk to people, visit with them off-line, get together — face to face. Do you know of a stellar woman I should get to know? I look forward to bringing you more intricate women of our community and telling their stories. Because, we all have a story to tell.
To learn more about Lizzy’s writing services, visit her portfolio on LinkedIn.
This article was originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on October 25th, 2018