I love writing.
Well…let me qualify that…I love writing when the ideas keep flowing; when i have to sit in my study all alone, no telephone, no cellphone, no TV, no internet….just light pouring through the one window, the shrubs and bushes scraping against the glass.
It sometimes feels like a prison…a sentence that I have to sit out mostly every day. And the funny thing is, if I don’t write, I don’t get any money, so the bills don’t get paid, my pocket remains empty and on top of it all, the wife gives me those glaring looks of hers, her eyes saying “get up off your butt and get a proper job like me…”! Poor girl…I feel sorry for her sometimes, as so far, she’s the only full-time breadwinner in the family.
Unlike myself, who spent years and years studying for qualifications and degrees which, at that time, were the “in” thing, and which served me really well for almost two decades, before petering out with the advent of new technologies, newer areas of science, she did not take any special degrees, etc. Rather, she got her run-of-the-mill education, brought up our kids and ran my household for many years (no mean feat in itself, I tell you!), and when the kids were grown up enough to stand on their own feet, she decided to get a full-time job in retail. So her job is immune to the vagaries of he changing goal posts of new technologies, alternative sciences and what-not.
Ever since my studied subjects became not so important or in demand, I left full-time work, not willingly, but through a series of events.
As you may have read in my “About” page, I worked on military and commercial radars systems, from the design stage right up to final delivery. It was very interesting at the time, and I met many interesting, and some not so interesting people. A lot of the work was “hush-hush”, being as it was, the so-called Cold War period.
After that, I decided to move on to more interesting pastures, and fiddled with several more bouts of employment….financial advice, insurance, mortgages etc, until I moved yet again and got involved with technical writing. That was when I last worked full-time, but fortunately or unfortunately, it did not last long, as I became the centre of an argument with a very nasty lady at the workplace.
She had been a known troublemaker (you get people like that at most workplaces!), used to, and being allowed to for some unknown reason, to do whatever she pleased. Many a time she was to be seen in the manager’s office, sitting in his chair, with her feet up on his desk, while he sat looking at her. Another time during a section meeting, she grabbed a long wooden ruler and slapped it hard against the manager’s chest with a loud “thwack”, which made him shout in agony, but still nothing was done about it.
I kept a really low profile in those early months, as she had started piling on the pressure for me, too…I was an obvious target..newly employed…still learning about the hierarchy of the place etc. A lot of my colleagues there had seen and heard her use of colourful language when addressing us, but had kept quiet about it.
Myself, although I was annoyed at her behaviour, I couldn’t say anything, as I was on a probationary period, so being mum was the best policy. But it was very, very difficult keeping quiet, as I knew my knowledge of the work was far greater than hers..in fact, my experience was greater than any of my other colleagues there, too, which was the primary reason why they’d employed me straight away. So taking instructions from someone who was vulgar and rude, and who I knew had hardly any knowledge of the work, was very difficult indeed.
Anyway, one fine day, it all came to a head, when, as I arrived for work in the morning, the lady somehow decided to attack me real early, even before I had time to take my jacket off and sit down at my desk. She started by lambasting me about the state of my desk, how she didn’t like it, documents all over the place, etc.
I was taken aback at that, and so were my colleagues, who were all sitting at their desks nearby, quietly chatting away, as work time had not officially started as yet. Keeping as controlled as possible, I replied that it was all work in progress and would be cleared asap, but no, she wouldn’t have any of it…she kept on and on and on, until finally, I cracked and told her where to go!
And as far as I was concerned, that was the end of it. But she being a sly creature, and having now been belittled in front of everyone in the office by myself, reported me to the director, who called me into his office later that morning, and I was dismissed that same day, as I had been under the standard probation period! Worse still, though that lady was universally hated by most everyone there, not one of them put in a good word to support me.
In a way, I was glad, as I couldn’t have, nobody could have worked under those conditions, with that woman. And the even funnier thing was, that 6 months later, she too was finally given the push!
After that, having had quite enough experience of workplaces and the politics therein, I took to freelance technical writing, and here I am today.
Back to writing though. I’ve always kept journals and like many people, I like personalizing my journals to my own taste. What I find really relaxing is sitting down with a couple of old glossy magazines, newspapers etc, flicking through them and cutting out interesting looking photos, signs, lettering etc, for use in my journals.
At any one time, I have hundreds of these photos and pictures cut out and ready to be included into a journal, which is the next most relaxing thing in my life….choosing which pictures to paste. Mostly, it’s a semi-random process, but sometimes I like to juxtaposition the photos so that they seem to interact with each other, making the whole thing more interesting….sometimes, I just attach the photos on any old how, and as if by chance, a story may emerge…..with many of my pastings, you find there’s so much happening in them, requiring the reader to slow down and look really closely at the myriad of images. I find this really calming.
So, I’ve taken the trouble to show you just one of my journals here that is in the process of having a collage of photos added to it…hope you like it: