Last month I was at Angel Station in London and I came across this signboard with a quote. I later learnt that it’s a daily creative initiative done by the staff at that particular station, and there’s even a website dedicated to it called Thoughts of Angels (I think it is sweet). I wish I’d snapped a photo of the one I saw that day but like everyone else I was caught in that hamster wheel of the city, going down escalators and up again. And down and up again. Anyway, the quote went something like this:
‘Don’t be afraid of going left. Because even when you are left, you are right.’
Aside from the wittiness of it being ‘uniquely Underground’, it’s thought-provoking. Not that I am saying that this rings absolutely true in every case, but when it comes to working for what you want, it’s a lovely little thought to ponder about.
I’ve been talking to friends recently about ideal working environments and lifestyles. It’s really cool – there’s a lot of travelling involved, a yacht with oysters, an apartment in New York, a commissioning editor, an award-winning film maker and more. (Me? I believe I mentioned it in my bio).
Dreams and desires make for fascinating stories; I recommend listening to someone’s story today. And which is why I’m asking you too: If you can have it, no matter how far-fetched it may seem, what is your ideal way of making a living? How would you like to live your life?
Why earn bread when you can earn cake?
So what if it’s not ‘practical’, ‘stable’ or ‘realistic’ – I think it’s always good to consider that sometimes and remind yourself about what you are working for. Perhaps it’ll tell you that you need to hop onto the next stepping stone in order to get there. Idealism, in moderation, is generally healthy for your growth.
Perhaps the next time you are going up and down escalators, you might wonder whether a hamster wheel is where you would like to be. Perhaps ‘staying right’ isn’t the best for you. Perhaps you will finally go left.
PS. My two weeks spent at Kyle Books was great. The publicity work meant that I got to experience what goes on within a different area of publishing. I’d only ever done editorial work before that so it was interesting to see how important it is to get the hype of the books out there by liaising with external publications. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to stay afloat in this never-subsiding pool of job seekers.
More often than not, a dry spell on my blog means there’s prolonged anxiety and/or general annoyance to be dealt with. I’m glad to say that this week has started becoming a lot better. And with that I find no reason to delete this post and/or slam my head upon the desk.
It was by chance earlier this week that I was informed by the lovely Lucy about a last-minute opening for work experience at a publishing house. I leaped at it like a stage diver at a concert and thankfully did not hit the pavement. It went through successfully and I started the following day. While there was the matter of adapting to a new environment it has been good so far. Most of the tasks were different from what I did previously – there is more publicity work such as dealing with image requests and press clippings, but there was a range of things to do. One of them involves getting hunger pangs while proofreading recipes. And learning how to make poached eggs while I am at it.
I’m also looking forward to the coming weekends. There’ll be many familiar faces around who will probably remind me of why my sanity is intact. Well, no, really there are many people I miss to bits. And if sending random messages and spontaneous sound clips like a cat who has dragged in some poor animal as a peacekeeping gift isn’t an obvious sign, I don’t know what is.
Since there’s no better analogy to describe this, I’ll just go ahead and say that this week I feel as though I am crowd surfing. Thanks to brilliantly supportive people. And if I reach the end only to fall off I suppose I can be content with how fun it was.
This week has been strange and rather exhausting. In more ways than one. But first off, perhaps I should talk about happy things such as my internship. My second and final week at John Blake Publishing was just as lovely as the last. And cliche as it sounds, I was honestly quite sad to leave. As it turned out, all those years I clocked in favours by proofreading multiple essays, personal statements and articles did me a whole lot of good. It is one of those crazy little things that I find absolutely enjoyable. And now I am on their list of freelancers! Wonder why it never crossed my mind to do this earlier.
I also realised this week that the road towards a job after graduation is a mixture of many things – including effort, dedication, experience and frankly that little bit of luck. My colleague did say something quite clever though. He said, ‘ I suppose you have to make your own luck,’ which I couldn’t help but agree.
Then again, there’s only so much luck you can spin. Recently I have been led to learn that sometimes things just don’t work out. For reasons more than one. And that is if you don’t consider the series of unfortunate events that spring up just after as though there is some superstitious cosmic rule out there stating that bad things have to come in threes. Or fours. Pondering on why these happen doesn’t help, really. I just have to pack up my troubles in my old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. Right, enough of all this vague nonsense that I cannot consciously elaborate in a public account!
WIth the extra time on my hands, I’m aiming to charge through job applications and do lots of writing (which I admit I have been neglecting) and maybe sight see London on a tight budget. Preferably free. Any suggestions? I visited Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove with Charlene today; it’s very ‘alternative’ there (I say this with caution). There’s this stall on Portabello Road that sells antique prints – ‘nothing modern’ – for roughly £10 each, and on the back of each print there are some information on when it was produced. I also tried to take a cheesy picture at Platform 9 and 3/4, King’s Cross Station, only to find that there was a queue. A very long queue, which I had no time for. And I found one of the London street pianos at St Pancras (the existence of which was brought to me by Lucy). Had I enough time I might have plucked up the courage to play the Game of Thrones theme song.
But that is for another day perhaps.
So I conclude my train of thoughts on a fairly optimistic note. If luck won’t find me than I’ll have to mould it with my bare hands. And if that doesn’t happen you probably won’t hear from me for a while. Have a good day.
Let’s see. I’m halfway through my internship and everything is going great! Most of my duties are administrative but throughout the week I’ve had the chance to whip out the pen, scribble editorial markings on a couple of manuscripts and arrange photographs for the picture section of some books.
It’s a relaxed environment here. Kind of reminds me of when I was working on Concrete sometimes. It’s a good thing. Also the ‘don’t forget lunch’ or ‘don’t stay longer than you are supposed to’ remarks really add to that effect.
The colours of Borough Market
Apart from that, I’ve been meeting people in London. Mostly because my first few days in the big city was like being in a paradoxical place that seemed too loud and quiet at the same time. Plus there are weirdos about (although I suppose they exist everywhere). At least now that I have something to focus on, my mind won’t be allowed to wander off elsewhere.
And London, while it may not have a place in my heart like Norwich, does have its good sides. Earlier today I went to V & A because it was open till late on Fridays; it also felt good to unwind by a paddling pool listening to piano playing of famous old tunes. I also went to Borough Market and St Paul’s for the first time, drop in a random house-viewing and laid under a blanket of blue sky on St James Park. It’s the magic of distraction.
Afternoon Tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury, St Paul’s
I’m looking forward to the coming weeks though. Wish me luck!