Back to Normal

Today, everyone was back to work, and life seems back to normal. 

Just like the first day back to school after Christmas, everyone was showing off their presents. I wore the necklace Goatee got me, Intern2 had on a new suit, NFEditor had gotten a new hair cut, and Boobs had duck lips.

I don’t know if it was a Christmas present to herself, or if some over indulgent family member gave them to her, but she’s looking more and more like Daisy Duck.

We started with the Wednesday morning meeting, and reviewed all that’s planned for the upcoming year. They’re doing some cool things with a few new authors; the festival season will get started soon, and they’re finally doing more ebooks.

I attempted to bring up my dilemma about the mystery books. I said that I’m looking into promoting a few of our authors, and I’m worried that some books aren’t in Booksource. Boobs asked which authors I was talking about, but NFEditor interrupted and said they were simply old books that were no longer published, or books that had been pulped. I said that some of these authors had currently gotten royalties, so it was odd that they would have been pulped. NFEditor said that perhaps they were receiving royalties for a more current publication. While this made sense, I reminded her that I was searching by author and some authors (ones that we have little contact with) have nothing in stock. NFEditor reminded me that some authors write books using more than one name, and perhaps the royalties were for their pen name, whereas the books under their own name had sold out.

Then Boobs did something weird, she questioned NFEditor. Boobs said, ‘But our authors are all published by one name. This doesn’t make sense.’

NFEditor said that a couple of her non-fiction writers used more than one name, but she’d ‘look into it’.

After the meeting, NFEditor called me into her office. Because she claimed she’d ‘look into’ the mystery books, I thought she’d called me in to dump that project on me. (Although, I did bring the issue up. So, maybe I should dig a little deeper.) But that wasn’t why she asked me to her office. Instead, she wanted to know what my plans were for after the placement.

I said that, of course, I’d like to find a job in publishing, maybe junior or assistant editor, and if there was anything going at MNM then I’d be… She bloody cut me off with, ‘Not likely.’

Then she gave me a lecture about how it was hard enough to get a job in publishing in the best of times, and that perhaps I shouldn’t aim so high, and I should start looking at positions on a ‘periphery level’.

I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. She then said, ‘I know of a publisher whose aunt is looking for a cleaner. Are you interested?’

I asked if the aunt was in publishing, and the answer was, ‘No. She’s a retired widow. I think her husband used to be in frozen foods.’

A cleaner? Is this what she thinks of me? And not even a cleaner for a publishing house, or a publisher. But for a publisher’s relative. True, being a cleaner is not degrading. They do a necessary and underappreciated job, but really, a cleaner? I’d be just as well to work in a shop, get a job in a temp agency, or work in a pub. Why does she think I’ve done the placement, if all I’m cut out for is scrubbing toilets? And it’s not even like I’d be ‘around’ people in the industry, keeping my face shown. I’d be around the auntie of people in the industry.

I said ‘thanks’, but I wanted to keep an eye out for something closer to actual publishing. However, ‘I’d keep it in mind. If nothing else pops up.’

NFEditor told me that I should start applying for jobs now, and that if I found something before the end of my placement, MNM would be happy to let me go early. I bet she would.

At lunch I asked HarryPotter what he thought I should do after my placement. Go back to London? Newcastle? Stay here? He was kind of stilted in his answer, and said that it would be ‘braw’ if I stuck around, but then added, ‘You going to still live with Goatee?’

I said that I didn’t know, and the conversation went quiet. I asked, ‘What’s wrong’ and he just said that he’s been sick the last few days. Nothing major. Just under the weather.

I asked about the New Year’s Eve party. I was kind of curious if Fringe would be there as she knew some of the people throwing the party. HarryPotter said that she wasn’t there, but that he saw Hall at the party. I asked how she was, and HarryPotter said, ‘I don’t know. I didn’t really talk to her.’ Then the conversation went blank again.

As we wandered back to the office, I asked if he was up for a film tonight, and he said ‘Na. Not feeling too well.’ To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping to getting back into the two-for-one Wednesdays routine.

At home just now, ‘writing my novel’. Goatee is reading a book on the sofa downstairs, and he’s still being quite silent. I really don’t feel like being down with him, so I’m going to spend my evening job searching. God, I hope I find something, and I don’t have to take that job as a cleaner.


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