‘Peirene, we are using single speech marks, not double,’ I say. ‘You have to be consistent.’
‘I am consistent,’ she insists.
‘No you are not. Here you use double and here single.’ I point to the screen.
‘Speech marks are speech marks,’ I hear her mutter.
‘Please double check all the speech marks,’ I request.
‘This is the dullest work I’ve ever done. I’m going to drop dead of sheer boredom,’ she laments.
Our new website is nearly ready. The design is finished and James and Peirene are busy migrating the content from the old site to the new one. I have also asked them to edit everything carefully at the same time. It’s tedious work, I admit. But necessary. We had our old website for eight years. Typos and inconsistencies have sneaked in in numerous places.
Again, I look over the Nymph’s shoulder. Speech marks are fine now. But. Oh dear! The numbering of our books is all over the place. Sometimes she has typed Peirene NO 23, sometimes No 23, sometimes no 23. While it’s supposed to be no. 23. Small letters and with a dot. We discussed it!
‘No one will notice,’ the Nymph responds robustly.
‘If I notice, others will too,’ I reply tersely.
‘It’s not actually a mistake writing it without a dot.’
‘It’s our house style to put a dot.’
‘I say.’ Then I suddenly run out of patience. ‘What is the matter with you?’ I snap, sharper then I intended. Immediately an innocent smile appears on Peirene’s face.
‘Wow. You’re in a bad mood.’
‘This is fun!’ Peirene’s eyes are now sparkling.
‘What? What is fun?
‘Our little argument here. Finally some action. Some passion. And not just boring data inputting.’
She turns back to her screen and continues with her work, putting dots behind the ‘no’.
I stand motionless and also speechless.
‘You can go back to your desk now,’ she says over her shoulder after a while. ‘I just needed a little fight to break the dullness. Now I can focus again.’
So she provoked me on purpose! How naughty of her. Still, I sense that she’s now on track and the website will look perfect.
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by Jordan Fischer, creative commons.
This blog was originally published as part of Peirene Press‘s series Things Syntactical. The Pain and Passion of a Small Publisher on 15 May 2017