(One of the posts I wrote on my Swell 24.7 blog in my previous life as a gift store owner in the busy tourist town of Provincetown on Cape Cod; posts that are grouped here under the category What Else Is Swell?, and are generally about life in Provincetown, life as a retailer, our fabulous dog Jack who sat outside the store for well over a decade, and other random things that grabbed me at the time.)
This is Emma. She's 9. And, no offense to the rest of you, but she is my new favorite customer.
She was in the store about 3 weeks ago with her Mom and they stumbled across the journals we sell made from old discarded books; the ones where the artists have left a few of the original pages interspersed with the blank ones; the one's I wrote about here. Emma is a huge Nancy Drew fan so she immediately noticed the two journals made from Nancy Drew mystery novels, even though they were on the top shelf of the display and Emma, being 9, is kind of little. But she spotted them right away. And she begged and harassed her mom to buy one for her. We chatted about what she might do with the journal and she said she was probably going to write a story in it, maybe a new mystery. And I'm not sure if it was her idea or mine but one of us thought it would be really cool to read the pages that were still in there and write a story around them, so that they were part of the new story.
She thought that this was a fabulous idea and promised to bring the book back to show me.
And I thought that she was 9 and would loose interest after a couple of pages, or it would be too hard to get her part of the story to fit properly between the sheets of original text, or the journal would end up under the bed in the general melee of 9 year old girl stuff and be forgotten. And I was sure that even if she did do some of it she wouldn't bring it in to show me. I mean lets face it; every few days a customer promises that they will put a picture on our Facebook page of the wall decals they bought, or that they'll come into the store to show me how perfect with their new dress that necklace they got from us is, or that they'll send me an email with a picture of the climbing men hanging on their wall. But, other than a couple of photos of the dog sitting on the steps outside the store, no one ever does.
But Emma did.
She came in yesterday clutching the journal, which I noticed had a pen held in the spine so she could add to it whenever inspiration hit. And she was just dying to show it to me; and I'm not exaggerating when I say I was dying to see it.
I could not believe what she had done. She had indeed written a new mystery story based on those original pages. And she had cleverly done a few appropriate illustrations to fill up the occasional page when her story wasn't quite long enough to reach the next part of the original text. And she had almost finished the whole book. There's like 50 sheets of paper in there. That's a 100 pages!
I was amazed. I was thrilled. I was close to tears. (It was the end of Memorial Day Weekend, the first really big, busy, long hours weekend of the year and I was exhausted; that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)
Look how well she made her story fit around the original.
And here's a couple with illustrations.
I was blown away by her creativity, and charm, and confidence. It was great to see someone so young be so focused and enthusiastic and committed to a project that she had created herself. I'm hoping that when it is finished she'll let me take it home and read it.
And she bought another Nancy Drew journal so I think she's going to keep doing these. It'll be so fantastic, when she's older, to have all her Nancy Drew books and all her Nancy Drew books.
Maybe she'll be a famous mystery writer herself one day.
Maybe this will turn out be her very first review.