Wednesday, 24 August 2011

An Integral Part

A bit like the fully-functional fridge-freezer that's cunningly disguised as a larder unit or the washing machine that giggles, hidden behind another 600mm complementary kitchen housing, writing  is something that's always been an integral part of Me.

And, as it's definition confirms: "Necessary to the completeness of the whole".

It was simple enough to slip it into daily life at school - there was always an English lesson, thank goodness.  And  from the day I learned that the teacher wasn't asking me to write the letters 'S' and 'A' on the front of my new English exercise book, I couldn't wait for the next time we were set a new essay to write.  For me, it was like surfacing from the murky depths and being able to breathe, unconstrained by silly lessons involving equations and bar-graphs, cumulus and nimbus, formulas and thick grey gym knickers (although not all at the same time, you understand).

Slightly more difficult to pull off at work as a Secretary,  I managed to restrain myself from turning the Minutes of Meetings into iambic pentameter and felt wholly disheartened when a memo of only one sentence wasn't given the Haiku it deserved.  Even more frustrating were the twenty thousand word reports I had to churn out on behalf of Development Departments at the Ministry of Defence which, although had a beginning, a middle and an (always disappointing) end, were completely devoid of plot.

I couldn't bear it.  I flounced off in a creative huff (I didn't really, I handed in my notice, worked my obligatory 4 week notice and was presented with a Thesaurus and a Complete Guide to English Literature - which made me cry because they HAD realised my artistic leanings and here they were, applauding them *sob*)  and went to work somewhere which I believed would allow my wings to spread.

But being an Employment Counsellor was probably not the brightest of moves.  I couldn't even write in my lunch hour like I'd done back at the MoD, as I hadn't got my own typewriter (more tears) because we had a secretary who did that for us.  So, with wings firmly clipped again, I did another flounce (actually I found myself a job, put myself forward for an interview and even got commission after placing myself, but you didn't hear me say that).

And here at Magic Shrinkwrapping*, I finally began to flower.

Even though my boss was a bit creepy and insisted on talking to me in the fourth person (is that right?) - every Monday morning he would sidle up and ask me "So, did Deborahs have a nice weekend?  What did they get up to?" freaky, right?  And after about a year of freaking me out, I decided to look around for another job.  One in which there wasn't, frankly, a creepy, freaky boss lurking behind the next door asking me if I could step into his orifice (I know).
And when the MD got wind that I wanted Out, he, amazingly, did something I don't think I ever properly thanked him for, not even now, and produced for me, my ideal job.  I became the company's first Advertising and PR Co-ordinator.  I got my own office (smaller than the broom cupboard ... actually it might have been the old broom cupboard come to think of it) and my own budget and I was given almost free reign to write whatever I liked.  So long as it was about Shrinkwrapping machines and how splendid they were.

Mmmmm... shrinkwrapping!
I loved making up the titles - my favourite still being the one I wrote for a Cadbury's line "Eggs-pertise by Magic Shrinkwrapping"* I loved seeing my pieces in print.  I just didn't love my MC particularly.  Shrinkwrappers are pretty much a one trick pony.  They never deviate from the norm.  They don't get all passionate on wild and windswept moors and they certainly wouldn't be seen dead getting all swoony over a member of the opposite sex - if there IS an opposing gender in the shrinkwrapping species.

And so, after having squeezed every last ounce of creativity from this role, I once more slung my metaphoric bindle stick over my shoulder and high-hoed it to my next position of choice.

In which I was rather scarily put in charge of a Junior Secretary and supposed to control six Area Managers at a local Brewery.  Place the company Bar on the same floor as us and a stick a 50% discount on all wines, spirits and ales and you pretty much have a recipe for disaster.  I did become involved in the company newsletter although a lot of it was deemed unprintable (more the result of the Bar being 14 floor tiles away than lack of talent on my part) and not quite the sort of creative juices that the company was looking for -especially when fuelled by 14% abv.

My last (pre-maternity) post was in the Legal Department at our local government offices.  Memos were over-written - mostly to the wrong people, letters were hencetoforthwithnotwithstandingly over-Latinised and my only means of creative enlightenment - apart from getting fictional with my flexi-hours - was to enter (anonymously) articles, working-party assassinations and satiric commenteering to the Staff Newsletter.  Only to find that although my literary genius had been printed, it was minus the irony, sarcasm, rheotric and downright slander.  Some of it didn't even rhyme anymore.

Finally I realised there was nothing else for it; I needed to create something that would make my mark on the world which nobody would be able to edit, cut, alter, restrict or delete.

I would write a book have a baby.
Both of which complete me.  It's just that one's turned out to be a whole lot harder to feel successful about than the other.

Oh, *Magic Shrinkwrapping wasn't the real name of the company.

5 comments:

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Hilarious, Debs! :)
I LOVE your creepy boss - do hope you've included him in one of your novels. Revenge is best served in cold prose!
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

Ha ha - thanks Susie, I really should, shouldn't I?!

The Virtual Victorian said...

Oh yes, always best served cold. Thanks for the great post, Debs.

Helen Black said...

Hilarious.
HB x

Derek said...

Chocolate is a dish best served cold.