Saturday, March 25, 2023

Return to the Secretarial Pool

Photo by Papa Callan, taken in the Chrysler Building a long time ago.


Once upon a time, I worked as a secretary in Connecticut, then New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris and then New York again.  (Have typing skills will travel!)

I learned typing and shorthand in high school because I imagined these skills would come in handy when I became a journalist. And that sort of happened, but mostly it didn't.

In fact, I would say I've spent a good deal of my life trying to avoid working as a secretary, hiding my skills, feigning incompetence, (except that I could type 103 words per minute with no mistakes.) Nonetheless, the world changed and after a while, my skills were no longer relevant. In fact, they became quaint--something you tell the students in your creative writing class as a story about the olden days. They look up at you in awe, as if they have just encountered a real life dinosaur. And I suppose they have.

Creative Friends--your assignment for this week is to re-consider that one thing you've been trying to get away from your entire life. Think about that thing that people said you were good at--whether it's teaching or accounting or weeding the garden or washing dishes. And now, I want you to open your heart to this thing. Ask yourself why this old skill that you've outgrown still haunts you. Is it possible that it holds within it a memory of your former self? Perhaps this former self wants recognition. It wants to be honored and not only that--this former self wants a seat at your creativity table. Consider the possibility that honoring the legacy of your former self might just be the beginning of a new expression of art for you?

You are no longer that person who flipped burgers at Friendly's or worked the night shift at the Stop-n-Go* or even the woman who typed 103 words per minute. However, you are an alchemist. And this history is your creative toolbox. Let the memories flow, Creative Friends.

And, as always, have fun.



*And if you are currently working the night shift at the Stop-n-Go, take notes!

(Photo by Papa Callan, taken in the Chrysler Building a long time ago.)

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