I received a most unexpected call—to interview for a job that was referred from a friend. Where I live (and most likely in other places of somewhat insular communities), this kind of opportunity is rare and difficult to find, because it really is “all about who you know.” So I had applied, even though I knew I was re-starting a job that I enjoy—a job that offers me stability and satisfaction, and for which I had thought the time away from it was enough to inform me that it was time to “come home.” And it is/was like coming home—safe, familiar, I feel confident with navigating the various departments, staff, and job responsibilities.
Well, it turns out these people at the “new” potential job are really nice—and not in the bland vanilla ice cream way, as an inspired by what they do and how they go about doing it kind of ‘nice.’ When I first stepped into the interview room, I felt a pleasant chime of camaraderie that was friendly and almost familiar with the directors. And throughout the interview, I felt myself tapping into a part of my brain that I realized I missed all these years, the writerly side of my heart, not just in a daily journal type of way, which I love, don’t get me wrong, but in a general sense of a potential full-time career way. It was exciting to be talking about writing and art and how the two juxtapose to create a final vision that is not just text and not just images, but a full composition, a story, unified by a theme that stems from the creative process. Wow. I was just…blown over by the entire experience.
And here’s the kicker—they invited me back for another interview. They wanted me to take a closer look and review their publications, I think so that I could better answer their pointed questions about my vision for the magazine and what I would like to see happen. Or how I might set an agenda for future publications. I think this second interview is an important step in the process, that they are seriously considering me, and giving me a chance to formally respond to their work. It’s exciting and fresh and has all of my creative juices flowing. Reminiscing on what I love about the literary world, of capturing a voice and telling or re-telling a story—that in the act of reading, words become more than black marks on a piece of paper (or screen), but breathe life into an experience. I am, in a word, inspired.
And also intimidated. To be truthful, my skill set in this area is about 12 years old. The last that I oversaw lay-out and design was so long ago, I had to pull examples out of wide-ranging cobwebs in my brain to think about what it was to be an editor and all of the responsibilities that come with that package. That it wasn’t just copyediting, but lay out, and it wasn’t just grouping stories, but the final vision. And truthfully, I was the co-editor, I gathered stories, I solicited writing and permissions and assisted in the general overall thematic content—but the overall nuts and bolts of production and editing were carried out by the staff. And I was mentored the entire time by a full professor in English. So maybe I’m in over my head.
Or, maybe this is a challenge that I can rise and face, one that is both inspiring and exciting. Because I wonder if part of my fear here is that gender biased social reinforcement that I’m not good enough, or that I can’t feel good enough.
At any rate, I’m really excited by the pending second interview. My therapist had told me to go into the interview with "joyful curiosity." And maybe that’s how I will go into this one as well, but with "joyful honesty." I think I will just be truthful, that I was inspired by the book I worked on so many years ago, because it had a personal relevance to me. And that I was part of the editorial process in an intimate way, but I was also guided by a professional, mentored almost every step of the way. That perhaps this job is not only an opportunity to offer my vision and input, my dedication to story-telling and people-telling, but also an opportunity for my development as a writer and editor, and I would be growing with the process. That I am by no means an expert, but I’m willing to learn and become an expert one day. And that’s a lofty goal, because I’m a firm believer that you can always learn, even if you feel like an ‘expert’ and confident one day, there will always be another day where you find yourself lacking and in my case, feeling like a complete idiot. There's always room for improvement. (Lord knows, that's the damn truth, in my case!)