One year ago today — May 8, 2017 — was my first day as a bookseller at Potts Point Bookshop.
I’ve had a tremendous time here, and I continue to be blessed — I know, I know; groan — each and every day for getting to do what I do for a living, with the amazing people I work beside. I’d like to think that I’ve contributed — or rather, perhaps, am in the process of contributing — something meaningful to the shop and its community; something that’s made, or will make, the shop better; something that’s made its customers happier, that keeps them coming back in droves.
But I don’t want my first anniversary at Potts Point Bookshop to be about me. I’d rather it be about the people I surround myself with every day, who make me who I am, and the bookshop what it is. While my first anniversary is significant to me, obviously, in the grand scheme of things, I’m just a footnote in the shop’s illustrious history, which has achieved such grandeur in the Potts Point community and the publishing industry thanks to the following people, whose mere presence makes it a delight to come into work every day.
I had never met Anna prior to sitting down for coffee with her when I interviewed for the job at Potts Point Bookshop, but we immediately hit it off, as only booksellers and book lovers can. The fact that Anna is so well-respected not only among our staff and the local community, but around the industry, speaks volumes about the kind of person she is. Anna saw promise in me and has allowed me to expand my role at the bookshop, creating the nascent Crime Book Club, and letting me accompany her to a variety of events. Maybe she saw a hunger in me, the want and drive to do things outside of the stuff I was already comfortable with doing; whatever it was, she has made it happen for me, and continues to do so. I will always be thankful to her for that. Anna’s guidance and words of support have turned me into a far better bookseller than I was when I arrived. She has always made me feel welcome, respected and appreciated. She always has words of wisdom to put my mind at ease when it needs soothing, and encouragement when it’s time to do the next big thing. Her guiding hand has been instrumental for me.
Tim has been at Potts Point for some time, so when he has an opinion on something, you want to listen, because he knows exactly what he’s talking about. This made me respect him from the get-go, and even as a newbie, Tim made me feel welcome and was always friendly to me. He made me feel at home even during that weird period as I transitioned from one bookshop to another, and had to learn the “Potts Point Way” of doing things. As the months have passed, Tim and I have grown closer, talking about a variety of subjects and having a great many laughs in the process. I’ve always appreciated his immense knowledge, his experience, and his sense of humour. More than anything, I appreciate all of the guidance he’s given me over the last 12 months.
Naomi is probably the person I’m most comfortable around at Potts Point Bookshop, as evidenced by my uncanny ability to break into a soliloquy about whatever dorkish subject that takes my fancy, or hum tunelessly when a late-nineties pop song comes to mind. Always accommodating and accepting of me and my little quirks — and my questionable culinary skills — Naomi’s quiet determination and dedication to our customers has made me rethink the way I go about some things, and her book knowledge is inimitable. She’s also just a genuinely good person, and someone who is a pleasure to be around.
Kate is the bookseller I want to be. A voracious reader, like me, but whereas that’s the end of my skill set, Kate is capable of coherent thought, and eloquent, intelligent discourse about the books she’s read. Always ebullient, a delight to be around, and always on-point with her recommendations, although we only sporadically work together, I’m thrilled every time we share counter space together, because one day, surely, I’ll inherit some of her natural verve. Of if not, being in her presence makes me a better bookseller.