Monday, 12 October 2009

Shop Girl vs The Fear

I approach newspaper editors as if they were someone I fancy.
My heart pounds in my ears when I dial their number and I always hesitate before punching in the last digit.
Sometimes I hang up before the phone rings.
Then I consider an alternative strategy.
I’ll send an e-mail instead, knowing it will go straight to their Junk mail.
This is the side of me I have to reason firmly with.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” I say.
The ‘shy me’ throws a strop and says she isn’t ready.
Last week I was sick and didn’t ring anyone at all.
Alone in my shop I felt pretty sorry for myself.
A customer came in and I burst into tears.
This is not a selling technique I recommend for lights or books.
“Go home!” he said, so I did.
I tried to make soup.
The vegetables softened to a pulp but the rice refused to cook.
I crunched on the wholemeal grains as I watched Master Chef, wishing I could pull the dishes out of the telly.
For the entire week I slept on the sofa, believing my bed to be cursed by Moktezuma, an Aztec king.
But he must’ve cursed the sofa too because I couldn’t get to sleep on that either.

A customer suggested I ring the doctors to see if I had swine flu; another reckoned I had tonsillitis.
I wasn’t convinced I was suffering from either and waited.
The only good thing about being tired is you stop worrying.
All you can think about is sleep and soup and lemsip.
One morning that week, I woke up and without thinking, I rang my local paper.
To my surprise, the editor listened.
An hour later a journalist rang me back.
“Can I come over to your shop and interview you?”
I was still in pyjamas.
“Yes!” I said, “I’m on my way round!”
Soon she was at the shop counter, writing down my answers in short hand, which looked like hieroglyphics.
I like reading interviews.
What are you most afraid of?
They often ask that one in the Sunday magazines.
I’d say: I’m most afraid of being afraid.
And I’d probably think I was being a bit clever.
This Thursday I’ll be in the Southwark News.
With a bit more courage, who knows how far Shop Girl could go.

PS. I’m open to any good promotion ideas!

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