The Dice Are Cast

Tales from the Bookshop

When I walked into my bookstore this evening to find the little apothecary jar I had filled up with sets of gaming dices and pouches was completely empty, the thing that went through my head wasn't "Hot dog! They sold out!" but "Oh no, I've lost ten sets of dice somehow."

When I went to check in with the owner, she informed me that they had in fact sold out over the weekend, along with several other pieces of merchandise.

Understand, the Flying Camel Bookstore hasn't had its official grand opening yet. It's soft opening is almost a year old, in the sense that the Flying Camel Literary Cafe and Jazz Club has technically sold books, crafts, and novelties since it opened last fall, but I've only been in to staff it intermittently, and mostly so I can get a feel for the space.

I spent part of last week coming in and out of the vestibule from all sides to sort of check the sightlines and see where the eye falls, then rearranged the shop quite substantially based on what I learned. I guess it worked. Sales aside, I've noticed several people stop and notice the wares where everyone used to just breeze through.

I've been here tonight for two hours at the point where I started writing this and haven't made any sales, but it's a quiet Tuesday night and I spent part of the time learning to work a button maker and ironing out details of our strategy for after the opening. Mostly I'm just being here, seeing how it feels to hold down the post, and figure out where to put my stuff and myself when the store is in operation.

Part of the deal here is that when it's slow, I'm free to work on my own stuff - the Camel is, after all, a literary cafe and haunt for writers. And my wearable computer setup certainly makes for a good conversation piece when people walk in off the street.

But since my full-sized keyboard has a USB plug-in, my choices are to untether myself every time I leave my little workstation, or leave my whole rig behind. For now I've settled on hanging my pocket PC up next to me so that when duty calls, I can merely remove my eyepiece and then take care of business.

I have a slightly less than full sized but still pretty useful folding keyboard that's Bluetooth. I think I'll probably start bringing it more often. On busy days and nights I can forego the visual and tactile satisfaction of my cool light-up mechanical keyboard in order to keep my whole deal more portable.

Anyway. If you have been following along with my tweets about the bookstore... well, if you haven't then this update is probably bewildering. But if you have been wondering how I'm doing as a bookseller, the short answer is: I've sold a lot of dice.