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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Job Well Done

The following short story was inspired by a prompt to combine a broken watch, peppermints, and a hug that went too far. Enjoy and please share any feedback!
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Kayleigh slowly unwrapped a peppermint, her own state of calm a sharp contrast to the screaming, excited children who careened around the yard in front of her, kicking about birthday balloons and chasing each other with ice-cream-sticky fingers. Placing the peppermint delicately in her mouth, Kayleigh let the taste tingle over her tongue. Sweet, but sharp, much like unrequited love, she reflected.
          “Mommy, mommy! The clown is scaring me!” A shrieking blonde-haired six-year-old, resplendent in party hat and sparkling pink tutu, threw herself into Kayleigh’s lap. The woman sighed good-naturedly and kissed her daughter’s head.
          “But you insisted on having the clown, darling. Don’t be afraid; go ask him to teach you how to juggle.” She pressed another kiss on the little girl’s curls and exchanged amused glances with one of the other mothers at the birthday party.
          “Enjoy every moment you have while she’s so young and precocious,” the neighbor said. “Before you know it she’ll be all grown up, out risking life and limb for the Revolution, like my eldest.”
          Kayleigh raised her eyebrows and pushed a strand of auburn hair out of her freckled face. “I hope the Revolution will be over by the time my Jessica is old enough to understand what it’s about.” 

Monday, 17 March 2014

The profitability of catflexing guides, and other things I learned working in a used bookstore

The definitive fantasy antiquities bookstore, St. George's Books of Jane Jensen's
adventure gaming classic, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

One of my dreams has always been to run my own hybridised bookstore/teashop. Antique stained-glass windows, chintz teacups suspended from the rafters, an elegant tufted armchair set before an open fireplace... and one of those bitchin' ladders on rails for swooping dramatically during spontaneous sing-songs.

Like Belle. Not Nigel Thornberry.

I'd actually considered this to be one of my more down-to-earth dreams, but given the proliferation of online book giants and the dwindling presence of high street indie booksellers, it now seems about as likely as my teen aspirations of edging out Mrs Bon Jovi.

Nevertheless, the appeal of being paid to spend my days surrounded by books never quite left me (if the Kingyo Used Books series has taught me anything, it's that the life of a bookseller is a continual voyage of self-discovery with neat, metaphor-rich tie-ins to each episode's book-of-the-week). So, when I found myself "between jobs" and discovered that my local Oxfam was recruiting book team members, my book-nerd senses got a-tinglin'. Here's what I learned in my first few weeks: