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The kindness of strangers

We have had a really busy week at Hobeck Books. My feet have hardly touched the ground. My current reading-for-pleasure book is getting rather dusty (My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell by the way - v. good so far). Adrian and I are busy because we are about to reveal something exciting, that may or may not involve monkeys.

I can tell you this much about it. We will shortly be announcing, and subsequently publishing, our first Hobeck book / books.

I want to draw your attention to one particular word in that sentence. No, not shortly, announcing, subsequently, book or even books. The word I want to draw your attention to is 'first'. First is a big word for us both at Hobeck. The week (and weeks before that) have been peppered with many firsts. There will be more firsts to come too. And it being our 'first' time at so many things we find ourselves relying on other people a lot, people who are perhaps more experienced than us, or perhaps more well-connected than we are.

One of my failings I fear is that I am perhaps too eager to be 'good' at all this. I want to learn everything now. I need to know it all! I know that, realistically, I can't learn everything. I can learn a lot, but not everything. And I have learnt an awful lot but I haven't learnt everything but that's no bad thing. Because, as a result, I have had to ask for advice and help from other people along the way.

Every person I have approached for help, information, advice or their time has responded with great positivity, patience and tolerance, and, most of all, kindness. Nobody has acted any differently, not one person. So, this week, I am feeling touched by the kindness of those who two weeks ago, three weeks ago or more, were strangers to me. I feel blessed. I feel we are very lucky. People seem to wish us well. Even people we haven't met. I know that there may be stumbling blocks to come. There always are in life and work. But with the kindness of strangers I feel sure that we will survive those stumbles. Those strangers will be there to help us up, dust us down and tell us to keep going.

That may sound quite negative. I don't mean to sound negative. Far from it, I am feeling extremely positive. I have had many jobs in my time: ironing big pants, strawberry picking, teaching English to Japanese teenagers, publishing non-lexical reference books, proofreading, project managing, copyediting and creating quizzes for a book called The Best Dad Ever to name just a few. But none have been even in the same galaxy of enjoyment as working for Hobeck. I wake up every morning at the moment dying to get to Twitter, Vellum, Facebook, Word or Excel to do something Hobeck related. I just love it. I can't get enough of it. I don't even stop to eat. I keep going. I am that annoying Duracell bunny. I fall into bed at night exhausted but happy.

It is early days yet. And we won't see any fruits of our labour for a while either. But, as for fun factor, every day is priceless. I hope that I can pass on that kindness of strangers I've experienced recently to other people. When I feel that I know what we are doing, when we have a process with a track record, when we are established, Adrian and I feel strongly that we want Hobeck to spread the kindness that we have felt this week. We want others to get that warm fuzzy feeling. We want to give back. And we will.

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Lewis Hastings
Lewis Hastings
Jun 13, 2020

Here’s hoping your days of big pant ironing are well and truly in your behind - sorry, the for kindness. I told you a while’s the new currency.

Wishing you both everything you wish for yourselves and an extra set of batteries for that bunny!

Kind regards

Lewis Hastings


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