What a Bookseller Dreams About

Josie Leavitt - September 20, 2011

Everyone dreams about their job. I know Elizabeth had a wonderful post about this very subject two years ago. My dream life this week has been entirely event-specific.
This week is the start of a really crazy event schedule with events Wednesday through Saturday, and this is just the beginning. Between now and November 19th we have more than 20 events. Sure, to some stores this is par for the course. But for our store, staffed by five part-timers, this is really quite a schedule. One way I deal with event anxiety is by dreaming about events that go horribly, horribly wrong. I feel like this approach allows me to have the bad events in my sleep, thereby freeing my waking self to enjoy the actual events that may or may not be stellar.
Take last night’s dream. Lois Lowry is coming to the store on Wednesday. I sort of keep telling myself, *the* Lois Lowry is coming. The Giver is one of my all-time favorite books and the author is coming to my store. I feel pressure to make this a really great event. Elizabeth and I are doing everything we can to make this event worthy of its guest.
Most all event dreams begin with the panic that there are absolutely no books. None. And there are lots of people who want them. In this dream there were no books and no attendees at first. I think every bookseller worries about having an event and no one showing up for it. There is nothing you can do about it but make the author comfortable and hang out. But still, it’s a nightmare in real life.
So, in this dream, finally, some stragglers come to the event. We’re all ready for the event except that all the chairs are facing the wrong way. I ask everyone to turn their chairs around, and now, inexplicably, the room is too small for everyone. Poor Lois can barely sit at the author desk. There are only six people and now they’re mad. I’ve disappointed one of my favorite authors, there are no books, and the event space is still shrinking.
I wake up nervous. Then I realize that I do have books, many folks have already RSVP’ed, and to the best of my knowledge the event space has never once changed its size. Elizabeth’s email blast went out this morning and in the span of less than half an hour, more than 30 people called to reserve space for Lois Lowry, and the numbers kept rising all day.
So, tonight I can go to sleep knowing I’ve got enough books (I counted), we already have a great crowd that will only grow for Lois Lowry and the other events this week. But I’m a planner, even in my sleep, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to start dreaming about not having any books for the holiday season.

4 thoughts on “What a Bookseller Dreams About

  1. Kitti

    A drama club friend in high school, Emily, called these “show disaster dreams.” She had one such dream where she broke her leg just before the show and had to go on in a wheelchair. Her bandaged leg stuck out, throwing off the blocking and lighting, and knocked over parts of the set.
    If she had a show disaster dream before the show, then she believed everything would go well. If she dreamt that the show went smoothly, she was a nervous wreck!

  2. Carol B. Chittenden

    I heard Lois Lowry was up in the middle of the night biting her nails about visiting THE Flying Pig, and wondering if her voice would carry to the far reaches of an entire stadium, and if all of her buttons were securely sewed on.

  3. Elizabeth Bluemle

    And now *my* nightmare is that Lois Lowry and publicist will think that yesterday’s email blast was our first promotional effort! VERY MUCH NOT SO. It was just the final email blast for this week’s events. Sigh. (There’s entirely too much about this business that causes anxiety.)

  4. Karen Walsh

    Lois and her publicist are both very excited she’ll be at the Flying Pig and know that no promotional stone was left unturned. Have fun!


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