30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Eight – Shoes

IMG_2947Shoes. That’s right, today’s prompt is shoes. I love shoes. I used to sell them years ago, working for a handsome Frenchman selling high priced Italian shoes at a Vancouver store. There were several young women working there, all of us expected to project a high fashion image on a shoestring budget, the shoes we wore to work often worth a week’s wages.

The shoe shop was something of a mad place to work. Because of the fabulous nature of the shoes, it became a bit of a scene, models and local rock stars dropping in, movie and television actors making the occasional appearance. On one occasion, a man with a baby boa constrictor came into the store to hang out, the snake wrapped around his forearm. We all got to stroke her, her flickering tongue tasting the air as we ran fingers along her smooth warm scales. Another time a woman left us some chocolates and we eagerly dug in, gobbling coffee beans coated in white, milk and dark chocolate, crunchy and delicious. When the caffeine kicked in it was with such ferocity we wondered whether they’d been spiked, running around the store in a panic shrieking until it wore off. And yet another time, bored, we were dancing, until the phone rang. It was the boys in the Timberland shop across the road, calling to compliment us on our moves.

If it wasn’t for shoes I wouldn’t have met my husband. I and one of my fellow shoe co-workers, an Australian girl, became great friends, bonding over Luxy’s pasta, cheap wine and Ab Fab on a Monday night after work, dancing in clubs and shopping together. Then she decided to head up to Whistler for a season, working at the resort. We stayed in touch and, one weekend, she invited me up for a visit. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘you should meet my new roommate. He’d be perfect for you.’ Turns out he was.

Shoes are also a big part of my latest release, A Thousand Rooms. The red shoes on the cover play a symbolic role throughout the book, with one reviewer commenting ‘they connect the story right the way through and come to feel like a character themselves.‘ As for the image, I bought the shoes on Ebay and took the photo myself – sadly, they’re a size four, so far too small for me. Still, they’re pretty to look at.

I’ll finish this post on shoes with a little piece of flash fiction I wrote a few months ago in response to one of Esther Newton’s writing challenges . If you haven’t been to Esther’s site, head over – she runs lots of fun challenges and competitions, as well as sharing writing markets and opportunities. (She also edited A Thousand Rooms for me – thanks, Esther!) The challenge in this instance was to write a 150 word story featuring the phrase ‘It was a matter of life and death.’ Of course I thought of shoes. Of course.

Well Heeled

It was a matter of life or death.

Well, socially, at least. The shoes glittered as they turned on the little pedestal, faceted stones catching the light, smooth leather straps gleaming.

They were gorgeous. And far too expensive. But she could think of so many places to wear them, now that she was moving with a new crowd. And she really needed to keep up.

She bit her lip. So she’d have to eat baked beans for a month. She’d probably lose weight anyway, always a bonus. Binky had grabbed her round the hips the other day, squeezing and shrieking with laughter. ‘Oh darling, are you sure you want another profiterole?’ She had joined in with the laughter, blushing as chocolate oozed soft on her fingers, wishing she could throw it into their smirking faces.

Decision made, she picked up the shoes.

‘Do you have these in a size six?’


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.



16 thoughts on “30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Eight – Shoes

  1. I don’t have a lot of shoes because I always have a favourite pair and forget about the rest. My favourite pair always have heels. I love my heels and I’m never giving them up! Even when I’m eighty, I told my husband yesterday!

    • Haha, love it! Yes, wear your heels as long as you want to, definitely 🙂 I, on the other hand, don’t wear heels that often as I find them tough to walk in – the ones in the photo are my wedding shoes and they were very comfortable, but they have a lower heel. I wore them quite a few times beforehand with thick socks to break them in, too haha!

  2. Sigh, love knowing how people met. Also love shoes as I think you know. I have some shoes… OUTRAGEOUS ones that cost more money than I dare think about… nonetheless I saved hard, and now they’re mine. 😍

  3. Love the imagery of the stories from the shop, Helen. Isn’t it fascinating to dip into such a different world, however briefly? A friend of mine once worked in an eye-wateringly expensive Turkish carpet shop and the notion of people spending fifty grand on a carpet used to keep us entertained for hours. Mind you, that was before we had electricity. Anyway, the new book looks fantastic. Well done on the cover. Looks absolutely fabulous 😀

    • Thanks, Tara, glad you enjoyed it – it was quite the place to work, definitely 🙂 There’s nothing like selling several pairs of $400 shoes to someone when you’re earning $8 an hour haha. I do look back on it fondly though – as you say, it was an experience of a different world and of course I managed to get a husband out of it, quite unexpectedly. 😀
      And thanks for the kind words about the book – it’s a bit different and I’m actually quite pleased with it (if I’m allowed to say so very quietly).
      Also, fifty grand on a carpet? Did it fly?

      • Nope, but it apparently attracted superrich people like flies on…. well, you can fill in the blanks. Funny the way people think it’s extravagant to buy $400 shoes – but if you had a $50k carpet would you let anyone walk on it, no matter what they had on their feet? Sigh. No wonder we are where we are…

      • No wonder indeed…
        If all I’d ever known was $50k carpets, I guess I’d be quite happy to let people walk all over them. But if I suddenly became wealthy and decided to treat myself to said carpet, you better believe no foot would ever tread on it haha 🙂

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