Going back to work today was a bit jarring. There are times I feel like a complete imposter. This isn't to say that I don't know how to do my job, but that there are times where I feel like people waiting for my answers and my input are being fooled somehow. Like at any moment they're going to realize that I'm just me, and that I have no business being in charge of anything.
Then I make a solid decision or two, and the feeling fades until I make another mistake. Or two.
But, I had a customer call me and ask me about a book and I figured it out with a few questions and then later another store called me to ask me if I remembered that customer because they were having no luck finding the book that this person had gone to their store to find. I did remember, I connected the dots for the other clerk, and the customer was happy, and I remembered why my job can be so wonderful - finding the right book for the right person? Magic.
"The City and The Stranger," by Seth Cadin
This is the first tale in Where Thy dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allen Poe, and I have to say it starts off with a perfect mix of lyricism, darkness, and just a trace or two of the erotic. The first part of this collection is "Poe the Man" and this tale takes the time Poe was in New York (and rather impoverished) and spins a kind of "what-if?" around the poem Israfel.
The mix of real and the potentiality of what might perhaps be less real is drawn lightly across this story, and the connection Poe finds with a stranger in this new city is done with a very deft hand. Cadin has a lovely way with his narrative structure and his flow of prose - they both evoke the sense of the poem even before the poem itself is mentioned.
I am not one incredibly familiar with Poe, and what I did study was so many years ago now I barely remember. As such I was worried that this anthology might be harder for me to "get." If Cadin's story is any measure, however, I shouldn't have worried.