Friday, November 15, 2019

How to Celebrate Indies First in Spokane on November 30

I have learned that there are three burning questions writers are frequently asked. 
  1. How do you sit and write for that long?
  2. What do writers do the day before running the Seattle Half-Marathon?
  3. How do you celebrate Small Business Saturday? 
Today, I will answer questions two and three because one stone can kill both these birds. 


Auntie's Bookstore (their photo)
The day before I run the Seattle Half Marathon is November 30th, 2020. November 30th is Small Business Saturday, and if you are a bookstore, it is known as Indies First. I will be at Auntie's Bookstore in downtown Spokane, Washington in the hour between 10:00 and 11:00 AM. And in that hour, as I have always wanted to work in a bookstore, Auntie's has fulfilled that wish like any self-respecting fairy godmother. 

Not only will Auntie's allow me to help sell books for one hour under the guise of Guest Bookseller, but I will also be given solely the perks of a bookseller's job. That's right, they will not weigh me down with a single drawback, though I am absolutely sure drawbacks exist because I've worked as a waitress, started and quickly quit a retail job, functioned as a barista, and performed other jobs that shine on the surface but end each day with butter on your shirt, the stench of steak in your hair, ninety composition papers waiting to be graded by morning, and a devastatingly clear insight into the human condition and those who expect to be served.
Inside Auntie's
photo here

But Auntie's will allow me the ability to know none of those; such as the panic over a suddenly failing credit card machine, what to do with a spill, or how to bite one's tongue when someone's complete purchase is one pair of socks at a bookstore, even if those socks are patterned with Max from Where The Wild Things Are!! (P.S. I would be that person. I'd wear those socks everywhere.)

The point is that My Fairy Godmother, Auntie's Bookstore, will give me only the fairy-tale version of book-selling. Here are my duties: 
  • Ask strangers if I can help them, and if they ask who I am, I can say Your Resident Guest Bookseller. 
  • Write those recommendation cards for books, the sort you sometimes see on shelves that make you stop. Evidently, we in the bookseller trade refer to those as "shelf-talkers." They even prefer that I type out my "shelf-talkers," so that someone else has to hand-write them. I think this is likely a perk, even though I do love to write by hand.
  • Guest Book-sell with two people I already like quite a lot: Sharma Shields and Ben Cartwright. Arriving at "work" will be like walking into one of my favorite places (a bookstore) and accidentally running into two of my favorite people. And then we, together, will pretend to be booksellers instead of having to spend the whole hour inventing the game ourselves.
  • Request specific books, no less books I love, to be stocked so that I can direct strangers to them. Several were not able to be ordered, but I won't tell you which ones. Maybe you could make that a sort of scavenger hunt when you celebrate Small Business Saturday at Auntie's with me, Sharma Shields, Ben Cartwright, and other book-loving strangers (or strangers who need to gift books to book-loving friends and relatives). 
    •  Feel free to print my list, handwrite it, memorize it, then bring it to Auntie's or Your Local Bookstore (or Local Library if you are far from an Independent Bookstore such as was the case of the first two decades of my life).   
      1. Anything in the children's section by Shaun Tan (esp. Rules of Summer)
      2. Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith
      3. Agota Kristof's The Notebook, Proof, Third Lie (usually sold as a full trilogy)
      4. Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith
      5. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado
      6. Tomorrow or Forever by Jack Kaulfus
      7. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
      8. Citizen by Claudia Rankine
      9. Break Every Rule by Carole Maso
      10. Jenny Saville 
      11. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

So, friends and strangers, I hope that you will mark your calendar to visit Auntie's on November 30th and celebrate Indies First with me inside your very large, very merry, and very independent bookstore. 

Saturday, November 30th
My shift: 10:00-11:00 AM
Fellow author-booksellers: Sharma Shields and Ben Cartwright
Auntie's Bookstore
402 W. Main
Spokane, WA
Full schedule of Guest Author Booksellers here.
Their faces here: