A Day in the Sun #amwriting @StoryADayMay @HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri (the real one) became a character when she won the right twice in contests for the “privilege.” The fictional Holly is Head Librarian of a Living Library (think Fahrenheit 451) on the planet Llannonn, the principal setting of my currently out-of-print sf/cop/farce, FORCE OF HABIT.

A Day In The Sun

by Marian Allen

Hot-Time Reading Program. Words that can wear a librarian out, just thinking about them.

For a Head Librarian of a Living Library like Holly Jahangiri, the ordeal was even worse. Like the Head Librarians of traditional libraries, she had to round up donations of prizes for hundreds of kids, design and print some kind of accountability and prize-receipt document for each child to use (or lose, or smash bugs with, or whatever). Unlike traditional Librarians, she had to soothe the hurt feelings of books the prize-oriented children passed over because they were “took too long to listen to.” She had to make sure the popular books got enough of a break between patrons – a Living Book with laryngitis did nobody any good.

And there was the feud. With the rising popularity of Living Libraries, traditional libraries had seen their usage numbers go down, especially during the Hot-Time Reading Program. They had petitioned the Grand Council to shut Living Libraries down over the Hot-Time, a petition that had been signed by more than a few Living Books, who liked the thought of Hot-Times off. When the Grand Council rejected the petition – partly because of Holly’s impassioned defense of reading in all forms and the disservice the closing would do to those unable to read traditional literature. Her final argument, “It’s far easier to hand a Living Book a bar of soap and a towel than to disinfect a printed book page by page,” had won over even her opponents.

Still, the feud had smoldered on, causing some difficulty with the seating arrangements at the annual Librarian Appreciation Day banquets held all over Llannonn on the Nth day of Sqellop.

Then Holly, with her VCPF (Very Close Personal Friend) District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin acting as intermediary, had hit upon the idea of the twofer. A child could only check out a Living Book by presenting the print version of that book from a traditional library. The Living Book would have the child read the print copy aloud, with the Living Book bringing the text to life by repeating it and acting it out. The result was better, more enthusiastic readers, and more than a few starry-eyed youngsters who wanted to be Books when they grew up.

But now the program had closed at the end of the Hot-Time, and Holly was ready for a holiday.

The Living Library would be closed for a week, giving the Books as well as the Librarian a much-needed rest. Holly was heading for her mother’s brother’s cottage by the Squamous Sea, her usual refuge at this time of year.

As always, various Books had spent the last month hinting for an invitation.

“You’ll want to take something good to read,” one would say. Another would say, “There’s nothing like curling up with a good book after a day on the water.” A third would remind her, “You said it rained the whole time last year. Perfect weather for reading.”

Holly refused the hints and the downright outright suggestions of books who wanted to accompany her. Talk about hurt feelings! Anyone she chose would swan around, lording it over the others, and she just couldn’t face the drama after the long, hot Hot-Time that had just passed.

She was no coward – she was, after all, a Librarian – but she took the coward’s way out. Claiming she might just stay home this year, she packed in secret, not even letting Parlormaid Tambar Miznalia see her preparations. She puttered around in the garden on the first day the Library was closed.

On the second day, she rose before dawn and slipped out of the Library, her small suitcase held tightly to prevent its bumping against a wall. She eased into the driver’s seat of her pedicar. The Squamous Sea was quite a way to pedal, but she didn’t want to take the chance of the hovercar’s whine waking anybody.

By the time the sun shone through the windshield, she was well on her way. She was free! She laughed in delight.

A giggle from the back seat froze her blood. A young woman, hair tousled and eyes still sleepy, sat up.

“I must’ve dropped off! That was fun! Are we very far along?”

Nancy Drew in The Bungalow Mystery!

“How did you know? I thought I covered my tracks!”

Nancy Drew in The Bungalow Mystery chuckled. “People may change their characters, but not their habits. You always buy a new swimsuit from Grumpman’s for your getaway. You said you weren’t going away this year, but you came back from an outing carrying a shopping bag from Grumpman’s. So I did a little snooping and found a brand new bottle of sunscreen, too.”

“Meaning you sneaked into my room and poked around.”

“Well … yes. By the way, you’ll look smashing in that purple feather bikini.”

“Hmph! Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Nancy Drew in The Bungalow Mystery adjusted the perky scarf tied around her neck. “This will be fun! And who knows? We may even scare up a mystery!”

Holly wondered if she’d wreck the car if she beat her head against the steering wheel while driving.

MY PROMPTS TODAY: Coppertone sun screen, Holly Jahangiri, FORCE OF HABIT

If you liked this story, you might like my other stories and my novels. Support an author: buy a book and leave an Amazon review. I thank you, and my cat thanks you.

MA

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “A Day in the Sun #amwriting @StoryADayMay @HollyJahangiri

  1. Holly Jahangiri
    Twitter:

    May 21, 2017 at 11:05am

    Hahahah!!! Delightful. By the time I get to the Squamous Sea, I’ll be glad of Nancy Drew’s extra pair of feet (I’ll be putting our intrepid heroine to work, peddling, of course). And Nancy always does encounter delightful (and rarely, if ever, violent) mysteries. A Head Librarian can’t honestly spend ALL her time lounging on the beach. Nancy, the adorable little snoop, much surely know me ALMOST as well as you do, by now. I just hope I won’t have to rescue HER – from a handsome young lifeguard, or something.
    Holly Jahangiri would love to share..OPQRSTUVWXYZ and DONEMy Profile

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    • Author
  2. Pete Laberge
    Twitter:

    May 21, 2017 at 11:28am

    This is actually brilliant,and would be good in the real world:
    “Then Holly, with her VCPF (Very Close Personal Friend) District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin acting as intermediary, had hit upon the idea of the twofer. A child could only check out a Living Book by presenting the print version of that book from a traditional library. The Living Book would have the child read the print copy aloud, with the Living Book bringing the text to life by repeating it and acting it out. The result was better, more enthusiastic readers, and more than a few starry-eyed youngsters who wanted to be Books when they grew up.”

    Not looking for a Bus Man’s Holiday, was she?
    “She was no coward – she was, after all, a Librarian – but she took the coward’s way out. Claiming she might just stay home this year, she packed in secret, not even letting Parlormaid Tambar Miznalia see her preparations. She puttered around in the garden on the first day the Library was closed.”

    You’ll Nevvvver Outdo, ” Nancy Drew, or Trixie Belden, or the Hardy Boys!

    Some new prompts:

    500 bar trays (round, square, plastic, metal, wood), Lesley (another secret agent, even tho she is short– but ultra well organized), the family room couch, and a weird dream.

    I’d tell you the dream, that had all the above in it. BUt that would spoil the prompts….

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      May 21, 2017 at 1:32pm

      I didn’t think anybody else knew Trixie Belden! I never read Nancy Drew, actually, but I was all about Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys! Love the new prompts, want to know the dream, and how do you know about our short but NOT well-organized daughter, Leslie, and our family room couch??

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      • Pete Laberge
        Twitter:

        May 21, 2017 at 5:27pm

        LesLEY (They switched the 2 names years ago in that family…) Grandpa was named Leslie….
        And SHE is short. Good things come in small packages.

        I’ve loved her for 42 years. Her mum just died. We are cleaning out a 5 br home w laundry, tool, and plant rooms. Family rm, 3 baths, full kit, din area, din room, liv room. 18 large closets. Her dad Stew pre-deceased and mum Norma lived there for 55 years or so. Stew engineer. Norma English teacher who was into everything. Collected everything. Queen of the packrats….

        A dream about the couch last nite and finding 500 serving trays…. wood, plastic, metal…. round, square, oval triangular…. shallow, deep. In the dream they were behind the couch. Went in the kitchen today… there were cupboards. So far only 25 trays brought to Value Village.

        Do the math.
        I also have lapidary, art (painting supplies), an orga, a piano, and jewelry to loose. Already sent of some 3500 books. and a HOST of stuff. There are 54 (so far) bags of asstd clothing in the garage waiting for charity pick up.

        Now! You have enough writing prompts for you and Holly for a YEAR!

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        • Author

          Marian Allen
          Twitter:

          May 22, 2017 at 10:28am

          Please give your Lesley my sympathy on her loss. Her mum sounds like our LesLIE in that all stuff is good stuff. 🙂

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          • Pete Laberge
            Twitter:

            May 22, 2017 at 11:09am

            Will. Do! Thanks! Take Care. And LLAP! Must run off to do more work regarding this.

  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt
    Twitter:

    May 23, 2017 at 12:56am

    Nancy Drew is common in the background of women of my generation who turned into scientists, mathematicians, and many other professions where women have traditionally been underrepresented.

    I think it’s because Nanacy wasn’t supervised by men, didn’t need to be rescued, and got into interesting cases, that those of us who had only pap to read or boy hero protagonists found an alternative.

    She was so different from what our mothers seemed to be preparing us for.
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt would love to share..An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” PastorMy Profile

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    • Author

      Marian Allen
      Twitter:

      May 23, 2017 at 8:03am

      All great points, Alicia, and I think you’re absolutely right. My own mother was a “career gal,” so I didn’t need literary heroines, but they certainly reinforced and normalized my mother’s example. Judy Bolton was my particular favorite, for the same reasons you give for Nancy Drew.

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