Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bored and Restless

Besides that mysterious woman who stole a book a while back, not much has happened. I am afraid I will never be promoted to full reporter status at the Primgraph if I don't uncover something. What would my hero, Nelly Bly do? Why, she'd find a story. She'd report on mistreated workers, injustices in the library, whatever miscarriage of justice she found.

Sir JJ does not make it easy for aspiring cub reporters. He is unfailingly polite and fair to everyone. The library is progressively fair, and if there's a miscarriage of justice around the Caledon library, I haven't seen it.

Rather dull around here. I want excitement and adventure.

Sir JJ does have that air of mystery about him though. I bet he is hiding something. Something more interesting than new system of library fines or reshelving books. I hereby resolve to watch his movements more carefully.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Stranger in the Stacks

I run my finger along the spines of the books as I idly walk through the stacks at the library. Turning a corner, I see a flash of a dark skirt at the other end of the room.

Who could that be? I thought I was alone on this floor. The librarian is in his office, and the staff generally stays on the ground floor where patrons tend to roost.

I stop and try to slow my breathing, straining to catch any sound. There! There it is, a squeak of leather, as from a shoe. On tip toe and moving quietly, I move toward the sound. A visitor up here is so rare as to be a novelty. Could it be an Oxford University student? No, students use their own library. What could she be doing up here?

The idea of someone actually looking for a book never once occurred to me. No, it's for another reason. Perhaps it has to do with all of those close door meetings Mr. Drinkwater has been having recently. Perhaps it has to do with. . . I see her and stop suddenly.

She's dark haired, beautiful, and confident. Whatever could she be doing in this library? She's pulled a book from the shelves and doesn't notice me. I move quickly so I can watch her from another row. After a while, she closes the book, drops it into a skirt pocket, and turns and scans the stacks. My breath freezes in my body. Please, please, please don't see me, I quietly beg. Something in her behavior says she is not to be trifled with.

Slowly, the mysterious woman walks to the staircase and descends. As my breathing returns to normal, I realize that I never once considered greeting her. She is a dangerous person. What was she looking for?

What is going on in this library?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Newspaper Work is Not All Glamour

Do NOT tell my family, who were against me seeking a job in the first place, but being a reporter isn't always glitz and fancy offices. Reporting involves research, timing, and plain hard work.

I have been flat out gobsmacked at the amount of work I have had to do. I am learning much by watching the veteran reporters. They have been most generous with advice and sharing insider secrets.

I am assigned to cover the library, but there has to be more happening there than starting a new system of library fines. I am certain with luck, I can uncover something big. I am determined to impress the Primgraph Editrix and the veteran reporters.

Wandering around the stacks, peeking into offices is what a good investigative reporter would do. Excuse me while I return to the Whitehorn.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Writing Portfolio

Journal entry 3
I have been advised to keep a list of my published work. So far, I have reported on:
One lost cat (found)
The town's fish hatchery
The annual rose show
The artistry of Miss Prudence Peesnape and her lovely china painting
Opening of the History of Textiles Exhibit at one of the local library branches
Review of Miss Elvira Smythe's Mozart concert 

I do not think this list could get any more boring. Lost cats, fish, roses, and textiles, oh my! Call out the militia! I had a hard time deciding which female what more silly or lacking in talent: Miss Pru or Miss Elvira. My editor will not take me seriously if I am only allowed to cover these types of events. I must uncover the real events in this town. I must!

Where is the adventure, the danger in this town? Not at a stupid rose show, let me tell you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Library

Journal entry 2
I didn't mean to start the argument tonight. 


Weekday evening meals at the Lockhart house are typically noisy affairs. Dishes being passed, servants running in and out, people gesturing and eating, and multiple conversations taking place all add up to a chaotic state of affairs. Add to that the firm belief held by my family that the louder one talks, the more right he is. The number who sit down to supper varies, depending on which married sibling and their respective family members join us. 

My father looked down the table at me as I determinedly looked down and ate as quietly as I could to avoid attention. "Emily, what do you have to say about your actions today?"

The room  became quiet as if all the air was suddenly sucked out. This, my family instantly determined, was entertainment not to be missed. Well, it's not as if I have never gotten into trouble before; you'd think they'd be tired of my "adventures." 

I pretended not to notice the silence or my parents' stern looks. As I smoothed the napkin on my lap, I took a big gulp of air and kicked my brother's shin for good measure. "It's nothing, Father. It's nothing. It's all a misunderstanding."

I couldn't read his face but decided it was best to provide more details: "At the library today, I decided to go exploring." I began talking rapidly, "Nothing ever happens at the library, everyone knows that. I have to report on something or the Primgraph will reassign me to another area. I've tried to get in to interview the director, but he's too busy."

"Go on," my mother urged.

"So I went exploring. I thought if I could write about parts of the library that patrons typically don't visit, I would impress my editor and get an article published. "

Father nodded, "The library is a huge and old institution in our community. What exactly happened? Get to the point."

I defiantly looked around at my nearest siblings: "Every library has a rare books collection which patrons can view on a restricted basis. Those books are kept under lock and key. Well, I just wanted to see where the rare books are kept. I went through one . . . or two . . .  locked doors and up a staircase that looked unused." Despite the trouble I might get in with my family, I became excited as I recalled the day's events: " It was easy, really, to slip past the staff and docents. They really should install new locks on those doors. They were simple to jimmy.

"Oh and there's so much more to explore but I wanted to find the rare books room and I did! It's hidden rather well; it's close to a stairwell and easy to walk right past. The room is huge and filled with all kinds of interesting looking books. If the custodian hadn't walked in and discovered me, no one would ever know I was there."

"Until the article was published, that is. What do you imagine the director would have done once he read your article?"

I stopped and thought: "Oh, perhaps I'd get into a small bit of trouble, but he'd understand. I am sure he'd applaud me for my inventiveness."

My mother politely shook her head: "You would be dismissed. Oh, Emily, what ever are we going to do with you? If you are determined to be a newspaperwoman, you must be careful of your position. Think, young lady, think!"

I did think. I think I will explore the library again. I decided not to share this bit of insight with my family. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Momentous Decision

Journal entry one
July 10, 1880

I've decided to keep a journal because my editor told me that the way to improve my writing is to practice often, and this is a safe place for me to practice. 

"My editor"
Honest injun! I have a real job. The Primgraph gave me a job, a real job. I am a cub reporter. Someday, I will be a serious reporter -- not like those female reporters who cover only fashion or gardening. I want to be like Margaret Fuller or that new American reporter, Nellie Bly who writes on the plight of working women. Our local paper has printed parts of her articles; I want to write like her someday. 

I want to make a change, and newspapers are the fastest way to make change happen. Someday I will uncover intrigue and expose corrupt politicians, I will write about amazing inventions and take exciting adventures. 

For now, I have a job and I am an real reporter, assigned to be the library correspondent. It's called a  "beat" in newspaper lingo. Some might consider the library boring, and to be honest, I kind of agree. Nothing ever happens at the library. But, important people check out books, don't they? They read magazines at the library. Maybe I can interview someone important.

I am waiting for my opportunity.