Monday, June 01, 2009
Try to write a short story. The first line of the short story is about trying to write a short story. Trying to write a short story is like trying to type a letter for a secretary who could type her own letters, but since she is an administrative assistant, the agency pays me to do her clerical work. She will not file. They trust me to file for her. She consults files when she has a question, a question that derives from her own intelligence. Probably she has a bachelor’s degree. I have a master’s degree. She wears a navy skirted suit. I wear a navy skirt and white floral blouse. I am not to use my intelligence, my autonomy, my independent sense of what has value and meaning or my sense of license in writing. The agency does not pay for my health insurance. The law firm pays for hers. The old barrister (her boss) comes in at eleven or one. He smiles at me knowing all too well. The summer intern, who sits on my desk (once), sniffs me out as a lay then is told that I finished graduate school and am technically, get off the desk. I am peripherally his senior, except that law (his field) has more clout, more entity, more finality than mine, though mine was a terminal degree. I type for her. He barely notices her. He notices her. He is to treat her equally, as with respect, but he is to treat me for one hopeful morning as a prospective lay. I tell him that I’m engaged to take the pressure off these other hierarchies, to relate. I would only type for him if they asked. I aspire to work as an old school secretary directly for the barrister, but no such luck.