Late September 2021
Working for Experience
Often it’s been presumed that I’ve worked certain jobs, or underwent various experiences, merely to write about them. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that motivation is quite ridiculous where I, and my life, have been, and are concerned.
My very first paying job was when I was twelve years of age. I created and cut out felt Christmas ornaments for a schoolteacher-friend who provided the crafting materials. I then sold the holiday decorations, door-to-door in my neighborhood. This woman was not benevolent. She got the much larger share of the profits; this orphan got the experience, in more ways than one. I was, obviously, a child who enjoyed making original and ingenious things with my hands, more than procuring money for my crafted products.
It was this work with my hands that came to define the paths I took in paying my way through life in a series of jobs and trades, all of which were shunned by the girls and, later, young women of my age who deemed those tasks too stereotypically woman’s work.
I didn’t care. I liked the feel of keyboards and doohickies. I felt enthused to be operating with a high degree of manual dexterity so many gadgets in the early computer era. When the time came for those gals to learn to “keyboard”, they groaned and blundered their way across the console, finally turning to me for help as I profited from their prejudice against doing Women’s Work.
My eye was always on learning new skills and techniques that would help me to further my aptitudes technically, and thereby lead to having more time to write. In fact, I used to have an index card affixed to my frig during those young adult years. The words written on it were, in French:
J'espère pouvoir avoir plus de temps d’écrire. I hope to have more time to write.
The most common and most incorrect misconception about writers is that they purposely and intentionally engage in a job, profession, relationship, crisis, struggle, or occurrence — happy or sorrowful — in order to write from it. Only a non-writer would conceive of such an idea.
Sadly, there are many non-writers who conduct such obscenely parasitic activities, and probably even write from them — for modern media propaganda, or online Blogs, or equally empty vessels that churn out whatever the demo-graphed paying public wants, or will pay for.
Actors have come to fall into the same phoney pot of people who seem to be whatever the erroneous image demands be fabricated and marketed. I doubt this hollow, shallow sales gimmick is new; it’s merely proliferated in the online world.
The first day that I could apply for my Social Security Card was the day that I became the working-class gal that I remain to this day. Waitress, hostess, cashier, receptionist, typist, word processor, accounts payable, food server, secretary, editor, technical writer, proofreader, sandwich-maker, collector of W-2 Forms
— and those trades were all before I became a wife and mother.
Then the work-shifts never ended!
It is true that I was drawn to jobs that were somewhat quantifiable, with immediate and continuous feedback; but I was equally being offered the invaluable sense of attaining the feeling of a job well done. And it is also undeniably true that I was — and am — innately attracted to subjects and interests that whet my curiosity and hone my analytic abilities (Read more About Me here).
The most accurate statement about this writer is that I’ve more diligently shunned the topics, businesses, and endeavours that hold no interest for me — gossip, politics, statistics, analysis of any part of life until it is quite dead.
Working for a living was a necessity for me from a young age. I had to earn my way out of an impoverished parental house to attend university through a merit scholarship. Back in that day, I was one of the rare academic refugees from “a bad home.” By the time that my children attended university, in the 2000s, the campuses were littered with adult children who were not bad-home-runaways, but strays. The serious students were tripping over these suburban urchins, the overgrown adolescents who remained in the parental house by controlling the progenitor-adults through spoiled-brat tantrums.
Upon experiencing those experiences, I was confronted with the experiences of my own adolescence and young adult years — with definitively accurate precision and with frightening insight. The novelist in me, already fairly well developed, coalesced into a flowering form!
I’d had no idea of the extent to which I’d battled my way toward self-determination and a willful independence, mostly because, back then, I’d very little choice but to swim — or sink. There were very few life-vests at that time in these United States. Whatever ones existed were unknown to me! It is entirely possible that many other youngsters like myself did not even contemplate needing a life preserver, or think much about the depth of the waters we were swimming as we strove toward that coveted shore of womanhood and manhood.
I mention those realities of the long ago because they were the prime movers for the daily experiences in my young adult life. I looked ahead, with dreams and aspirations, but I thought, day-to-day, in terms of paying the rent, and bills, and budgeting.
The Great Recession, that began in 2007, and continued for a full decade, gave me more than ample opportunities to re-experience my past with sufficient subjectivity — to pen many millions of words! The economic crises unleashed in this nation during the past year and a half, by an arrogant and corrupt Ruling Class (whose days are numbered), are granting to me more unrequested circumstances and chances to re-visit those hair-raising years of hardship — from an objective distance.
Working to get ahead, to learn, yet again, the truths of life that, from time to time, realistically must be impressed upon the youngest youths — that working for experience sums up the times of the life of anyone wishing to be all she can be.
Being a confident, resourceful, courageous woman was my goal. It still is. That work is a never-ending endeavour, and an eternal experience. Yes, I shall write from that experience!