It begins. The Save the Children Book Sale is here. On this very campus. Today. Are you ready?
We, the Pelican team – we are ready.
Bryce Newton, Books Editor: I’ve spent the last two months method acting as a book, aligning my thought process for optimum purchasing. Sitting in bookshelves hours at a time feeling nothing. Repairing bookshelves I’ve subsequently broken. Nestling between novels, cover to cover in comfortable silence. I pack myself into a box of books for a few days, lapsing in and out of consciousness like any other book in between being read, revived. I develop sturdy core muscles. I know what it is to be a book, to wear a jacket of dust as opposed to a normal jacket. It is less warm. I begin to transcend emotion, sentience. I sit in bookstores with other books, become one with their stillness. I get asked to leave. I stop wearing shoes. In an activity that strays from normal book behaviour I sell all of my shoes. I keep a shoelace as a memento of the time before I was a book. Place it between figurative pages. I will spend this money at the book sale.
Ruth Thomas, Web Editor: No longer the polite and well-mannered girl you have known, today I reveal myself as the cold and unfeeling witchbitch that I am. Three names on my list. Woolf. James. Debussy. I will not fail. Friends do not exist, and I have loyalty to nothing save myself and my mission. I have but one purpose. I will not be stopped. Do not get between me and a first edition Virginia Woolf. I will find you.
You have been warned.
Harry Manson, Music Editor: [Thursday night] “Maybe I will buy a book on Friday.”
Tom Rossiter, Lifestyle Editor: UWA Book Sale preparations:
Step One: Tithe your income all year, to prepare for its coming.
Step Two: Write increasingly creepy diary entries in the months leading up to the sale. (Excerpt: It is coming. I am not ready, I am not worthy, I must become pure, I shall be hollowed by its greatness, dog-eared by its beauty I am overcome).
Step Three: Make the sacrifices.
Step Four: Get there nice and early so you get in quick!
Hayden Dalziel, Boss Editor: My first thought as to the easiest way to lay claim to every single book would be to incapacitate every single competitor, hire a large truck, and conscript any survivors to help with loading every book into the lorry. This plan was flawed on a number of levels, namely, it’s too bloody difficult to get a crossbow, dart gun or even a simple javelin coated in tranquiliser in time for this afternoon. Secondly, I am in bed with the flu so actually getting to the sale in time for tranquilising a large crowd is out of the question. This means that my only other option is to hire someone else to carry out the attack via…The Dark Web.
This plan has so far been a success, I’ve downloaded the Tor Browser and have typed “Hired Goons” into the duck duck go search bar. Is this how you Darkweb? Anyway, I would recommend staying well away from the event unless you are willing to aid my hired goons in their efforts to secure every last book for myself.
Samuel J. Cox, Arts Editor: The two most important days of your life are when you were born and when you discover the reason why you were born (the Save the Children Book Sale).
Politics Editor: Because I have once again stumbled into working two jobs consecutively on Friday, for me the first day of the book sale will be consumed by resisting the urge to cry. I am also working all weekend. Monday, however – oh Monday my sweet salvation. Hopefully there will still be some good titles left. Never wait until box day unless you want a box full of books concerning the different colours and textures of sand on a Grecian beach you will never visit.
Pema Monaghan, Film Editor: I have banned myself from the sale. Last time I spent about $60 and had to get my boyfriend to pick me up with all my boxes; it’s my kryptonite, it’s debilitating.
You’ll probably see me in there anyway, sweat dripping down my face.
Kate Prendergast, Boss Editor: Though I have wept and fasted, wept and flayed, I know myself to be unworthy to the UWA Save the Children Book Sale. When certain vibrations wrinkled the airs between Hackett and the Guild village, I glanced up and saw the meter I poked through the Pelican office window tremble, and knew at once that the trucks were at that moment rumbling into the grounds, bearing to this wretched university their sacred load. Watching as the curtains of Winthrop’s undercroft ruffled and flapped with the secret, gentle labours of preparation, tears filled my scuba mask, and the Reflection Pond in which I was sequestered seemed to grow colder and more dim.
The ritual itself is monstrous; this cannot be denied. In the long months before the Sale is declared open, men and women – pretending distraction – suffer unutterably in their private torments, their anticipatory ecstasies. Some die; others wake to find themselves turned into enormous tangerine armchairs. Agony-wracked, hearts flooded with paranoia, with envy, with consolatory jell-o, questions circle like wasps: “Will Keith Richards’ autobiography be there? What if someone gets to Graham Kinney’s In Search of the Resting Toucher: A Guide to Lawn Bowls before me? If I impale my competition with this cattle prod, will the spray of their spilt intestines make impure the very book over which we waged war?” The spectral figure of Beryl – cheery pensioner who took your fluttering $10 for a first edition of Sebald’s The Emigrants last year – populates your most blessed dreams, your most terrible nightmares.
My own bookcases – despicable planks, which I abhor for their insufficiency to the task – have lately been cleansed with lemon water and turpentine. Before this was the Very Expensive Fumigation, to protect against weevils, and to rid the room of the enormous insect I had for some time taken as company. All two dozen empty Jim Beam cans have been removed from the shelves. Making complete my efforts, upon them I placed this morning a single groat, which I believe was once the property of a King Librarian in 12th century Rome. I kiss it now, and repeat the mantra of my training: “Get away from that signed copy of Herzog on Herzog Tim Winton, ya schmuck!
Save the Children has UWA student branch. Find it on Facebook here.