Peirene walks into the office and I barely recognise her. She has changed her hair colour to purple and green and is wearing a gothic inspired lacy black dress. Her nails and lips are painted a dark purple.
‘Wow!’ I exclaim. ‘Where are you going after work?’
‘Nowhere.’ She turns on her computer. ‘But it’s important to keep up standards, even in the office.’ She opens our homepage. ‘And talking about which… I don’t like our website any longer. I hate the pink. It’s so dated. So early 21st century. Brrr,’ she shivers. ‘I simply can’t bear to look at it any longer.’ She closes the browser, then turns to me. ‘We need a new website.’
I shake my head. ‘And a new website costs a lot of money.’
‘A website is like a dress.’ The Nymph leans back in her chair and puts one leg over the other. ‘People judge us by it.’ She pretends to hold a cigarette between her index and middle finger. ‘We are trendy and edgy,’ She throws me a quick, sceptical glance, ‘well, at least I am. And so our website needs to reflect that. It has become far too convoluted, is not interactive enough. It feels like an old, heavy, pre-historic creature. An e-commerce dinosaur.’
A few days later, the subject comes up again. James takes me to one side: ‘I receive more and more complaints from readers who try to order our books via our website. Our shop page is just not user friendly enough. I worry that we are losing sales. You should look into getting a new website.’
If we are losing sales, we need to address the issue. And our website is now nearly nine years old. Maybe it’s time for an update, after all. So I pick up the phone and arrange to meet Tom, our web designer.
‘Do you want to come with me?’ I ask Peirene, expecting her to be thrilled that I have finally kicked into action. But the Nymph doesn’t appear very happy.
‘You listen to James. But not to me. I’m not sure I want to be involved now. My feelings… my feelings have been very hurt.’ She turns hers back on me.
‘James gave me a valid reason. I wasn’t sure that just because you are now into black and dark purple we should spend all that money.‘
For a moment she continues looking away from me. Then I hear her sigh.
‘Oh well, I guess I have to come. I dare not imagine what you and Tom – two middle aged people – come up with if a trendy Greek Nymph doesn’t keep an eye on it.’
As she turns back to me I notice that today she is even wearing dark purple eyeshadow. Luckily I trust Tom to design us a website that will have a timeless quality rather than reflect the Nymph’s fashion interests of the moment.
By Meike Ziervogel
Image by Wicker Paradise, 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 20 February 2017