Gone Girl. A Tale of Road Rage.

On a scooter.

Yesterday was my birthday…
I turned 28.  In hexadecimal “nibbles”.
(google it, hexadecimals are kinda cute).

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But back to the story…
…my friend Flo came and picked me up and took me to the mall.  The scooter hire girl remembered me and I got the highly coveted Scooter Number One. It is zippier, better at stopping when you ask it to, and the side mirrors don’t flop down all over your handbag.  Score! I tootled around a few shops high on the joy of a birthday and time with Flo.  I tried not to be distressed that I couldn’t even get down the lingerie aisles in Farmers Department Store. I figured I didn’t really need a birthday bra. I smiled anyway at the shop girl near the fitting rooms in Esprit when she said it might be easier to shop online. It might.  But it isn’t as much fun as shopping with Flo. And why shouldn’t I enjoy a bit of retail therapy?  Then I dropped Flo off for her appointment at the makeup counter.  I should be, er… more into makeup… but the bookshop was just down one floor and it is an unfair competition! Hmmm… makeup, books, makeup, books. It’s really no competition between makeup and books.  A hole was burning in my pocket.  For my birthday I’d been given a cool hundy, and I was thinking about the delicious potential to drop it exclusively on BOOKS!  Squeee!

I scootered down there faster than you can say ‘tortoise’.   A few aeons later, I arrived.  Mobility scooters have a speed switch that ranges from slow (a tortoise icon) to fast (you guessed it, a hare)… but even at hare-speed, it takes a looong time to get anywhere.  In the front of the bookstore of choice, Whitcoulls, they have some displays of new releases.  My twitchy fingers were eager to pick up the first one I could see. I liked the title, ‘Gone Girl’.  But the angled display tables made it impossible for me to pull up alongside on my scooter. I did a sleek little (sixteen point!)  turn and tried to reverse in. I banged the corner of the table.  A Whitcoull’s employee looked across at me, arched her eyebrow and walked off in the opposite direction. I reached for the book. It was 5cm out of my grasp. There was no room to ease myself off the scooter and stand to give myself more reach. Had I had room, I’d have been able to do that. But it occurred to me in that moment, that many people in wheel chairs can’t stand to get to things out of reach; what would they do in this situation?  I looked around for the employee, hoping for some help.  She was gone, girl.

I was not going to be deterred.  A hundred to spend on books is one of the greatest gifts of all time. I wasn’t going to let a bookshop girl with her archy eyebrows get the better of me.  I gave my embarrassment a silent talking-to and manoeuvred out of the space.  At the back of the store, the wall is lined with authors from A-Z.  I wouldn’t have a spotlight on the newest, but I might find some gems. I set my course for the rear. Half way on the dial between tortoise speed and hare speed.  I was veritably hurtling, turtle-style. The aisles in Whitcoulls do fit a scooter if it is going straight down the middle. Sadly, turning is not optional.  People on mobility devices clearly shouldn’t want to browse in bookstores. There are artfully arranged stacks of merchandise on the floor at the corners of all of the aisles.  The Little Yellow Digger-gift-boxed-set display met Scooter Number One as I attempted to round the corner. Scooter, 1, Diggers, 0.  A mother in the same aisle helped me by picking them up (thank you anonymous mother).

I spent half an hour in Whitcoulls. I looked for help no less than fifteen times.  Help to reach down titles I couldn’t reach, help with the infernal aisle corner displays. Help finding the poetry section.  I saw three more staff members. All three saw me and changed direction. No one offered to help. The crickets chirped.  When your eyes are not at the height of standing people, it is quite hard to get eye contact.  When you are down that low, even a wave can be lost behind a bookshelf. My hundred dollars hid deeper into my pocket. No party for it, today.

I lost my desire to purchase books from that store. I threw the scooter into reverse.  It has a really high pitched reversing beep.  It’s an incredibly annoying sound. I left it in reverse long enough for archy eyebrows girl to give me one last look. I accelerated past one last corner display.  I may have *cough* inadvertently disturbed its symmetry. I left the store.  In my imagination I looked a bit like a speedy hare, leaving a cloud of dust in my wake.  In truth, it was a less dramatic exit.  Think, slo-mo.  But the expression on my face remained steely resolute.  I patted my pocket. That’s a hundred bucks you don’t get today, Whitcoulls.  And then, I was a gone girl, too.

So my post about my birthday books is postponed.  …maybe there is a bookstore out there who wants my custom, even if I am not walking on two feet.

I sent the people at Whitcoulls a link to my post as soon as it went up.  Very quickly Diane got back to me.  I am very grateful for such a timely response and so glad that the store will look into ways to improve customer service for people on mobility devices.  Thank you, Whitcoulls.

This is what she wrote:
Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 4.54.42 pmThanks for touching base and sharing your in store experience with us. It is disappointing that we have not been able to deliver the customer experience you, and every customer, deserves. There is nothing better than browsing books especially in the excitement of birthday present shopping. I will be passing this information onto our Store Manager to ensure they can look into this situation and how they can use this to improve their customer service.

In the meantime, I would love to extend a birthday present to you from Whitcoulls. If you are still interested in the Gone Girl Book, I would love to send you a copy along with a $20 Whitcoulls Gift Card that may enhance your birthday spending money. If you can send us your courier address and we will arrange to get this out to you.

Kindest regards,



Celebrating 100 Posts

Really?  I’ve written a hundred posts?

Maybe it snuck up on me because I get to drive a speedy little mean keyboard machine.  It goes so much faster than the laptop I was driving earlier. It’s a slim little silver number my hubster got me for Christmas.  Oh, I LOVE IT (Thanks BobbyD).  The WordPress dashboard on it lets me know everything I need to know about my cruising altitude, my readers, almost everything I could wish to know about my blog.  And today when I opened my dashboard to post, it said:

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So this is Numero Cento! I reckon, that’s cause for celebration!

My blog was born on May 15th, 2014 (I backdated seven posts I had written earlier) .  I never actually intended to start a blog. I had thought the course I was enrolling in was going to teach me about the art of writing for blogs.  I had previously accepted a little blog writing gig and I wanted to get it right.  But I soon realised that the purpose of the Blog with Pip course is about more than just the writing. It’s about learning how to create your own and the importance of community in blogging.  So I did create one!  This was my first blog post. And whoosh!  A hundy posts, in four months!  And finding all of you! Woot!

I’m super happy about reaching a hundy, because one of the reasons I have always told myself I can’t write a book is that I didn’t think I could write that much.  I know quantity is not everything, but SMASH goes one of my barriers. Yes! Knowing I can write that many words is pretty exciting.  Each of my posts is an average of 800 words.  That’s 80,000 words right there!

If you’ve been with me from the start, or if you are one of the brave souls who has explored all of my blog, that’s a HUGE reading achievement and great loyalty!  Thank you so much!

Am I being ridiculous thinking maybe, just maybe… I could write me a book!? I’m thinking, with an equal amount of discipline, I could maybe get some of my book writing ideas out.  Maybe?  A bit of writing every day….   hmmm?  I’ll let you know how that goes!  I did a little bit of googling about word counts.  If you, too have some books slow-burning their plot turnings through your brain, you might find this interesting too.

Bree Ogden from The Lit Reactor says this:

“Adult Fiction:  Anything above 70k but less than 115k (science fiction and fantasy tend to run up around 100k-115k words). The sweet spot for adult is about 90k.

Middle Grade:  With fun, lighthearted, simple middle grade you’ll want to stay around the 20k-30k word count range. The average middle grade is 30k-40k. Upper middle grade can hit in the 50k word count range (possibly longer, if it’s something really special).

Young Adult:  Young adult fiction allows for a lot of flexibility in word count. And as you’ve probably guessed… it is sitting pretty right in between middle grade and adult. YA manuscripts can have a word count anywhere from 55k to 90k.  

Picture Books:  Picture books are generally less than 1000 words. About 500-700 words is perfect.

Also remember (because there are a bunch of new novel imprints opening their doors), a novella is 40k or less.

Pro tip: Try not to completely tether yourself to word counts. Let your writing take you where you need to go. But use good intuition and follow some of the rules.”

I am writing as often as I can because building a writing discipline is at the heart of most Writers’ advice about the business of writing books.  I read this recently and saved it, because I think it’s so true.
“There are enormously talented people around but the problem is getting organized to use your talents. A lot of people lose it, they just lose it. Life starts turning somersaults over your back and the next thing you know you’re confronting things that seem to you more important than getting organized to do your writing. And if you can’t get organized, then you can kiss your talent goodbye. It happens in so many cases, it’s almost a loss, as though you have a field of flowers and were never able to collect them.”
Bernard Malamud

I think it’s a stretch to think I fall into ‘enormously talented’ category, but I love to write.  Love it. So why not me, too? I’ve wanted to write books since I was a tot.  I read my first book at three. And I was hooked by the magic of it all. Might be time to start picking some of those flowers.

For some novice writers, the road to a writing discipline might be a diary, or a short story series, or poetry or even their first novel itself.  For me, it’s blogging.  I have connection with a real audience, lots to say, and a format for saying it.  It encourages me, gives me confidence.  When you read my blog entries, I feel like writing more.  When you comment, well, that there is blogger’s gold. Pure loveliness.  A shot of ‘keep going’ straight into the brain!

Chronic-ills of Rach, Happy Bloggiversary.  We made one hundred!

If you are new here, you might want to check out some of my favourite posts from the last four months:
She’s Around Me Now (the discovery that my ‘writing self’ was back)
In The Event of my Demise (my strange sort of poem delivering post-mortem instructions for my hubster)
His Heart (all about my man’s heart issues)  and
Grief Music (sudden upsurges of grief, music, and the loss of my Mum)

Look at what my boy made me!  The. BEST stiffificate EVER.  I am a full hearted mumma!

…and here’s a little bit of schmaltzy, happy music from Phil Collins.  This is how I feel today!