What happens when an international company goes out of business?
The setting of the book begins on the night that we found out that Borders would be going out of business and that is the night I began writing it. The first chapter has remained more or less untouched since July 18th. Although this leaves it lacking in what could have been some effective editing, I felt compelled to keep it as close to its origins as possible. Beginnings aren’t always perfect, but you will never be able to change them.
As I continued to write, the book took on several personas. From the very beginning I wanted it be a collective work, a combination of all the talents and abilities of the staff. I was adamant about everyone participating and contributing to the final product. However, this is easier dreamed up than executed. Not everyone had the same vision and motivation as I did. As I was told over and over again, it wasn’t that they didn’t care, it was because they were too busy or too tired. I was both of these things as well, but I learned that in order to devote the kind of time and effort I was putting into the project, one would have to really feel connected to it. Unfortunately, I failed at bridging this gap, and no matter how hard I tried to make it “ours” it slowly became more and more “mine”.
Thus, the first draft of the book contained a lot of narrative about the research I was doing in other Borders stores. I wrote about going to others stores in the Northeast and talking to as many Borders employees as I could. I spoke to people at Barnes and Noble locations and independent bookstores. I wanted to submerge myself in experiences with people who would be affected by the bankruptcy.
I soon realized, however, that the book was far far far too much about me. I wanted to get back to its roots, so I stripped it down to its bones again and started over. What it is today is very close to what it was after that second draft.
Looking back, I am pleased with the end result. Although I had imagined the contributions being more equal among us, I am grateful for what I did get out of them.