Two months ago, I knew what fiction was. I’ve spent a good amount of my life trying to understand how it is that people ever write novels, and two months ago, I was on it. I took a fiction writing class and everything popped into place. There was no big secret: you wrote about your own life, about the things you did every day, and worked it into a bigger story. All the “references” people make—and here I think of Joyce and Ulysses—aren’t clever beyond comprehension, they’re just a record of what Joyce saw in Zurich-Dublin-Trieste-wherever.
Two months later, that feeling is completely gone. I have a new job, one where the floor is shifting beneath me at the same time as I’m trying to find a solid place to stand. This takes up an incredible amount of energy. The office I work in is sparsely populated compared to its capacity—I’ve been sitting at the same unaccompanied desk for two weeks—and I can still see more people when I bob my head up as I could see at my old office of nine people. Hardly anyone talks to each other, either. Talking to each other is reserved for events. Something happens in the computer machines, and the reward is human contact.
My job was supposed to be work-from-home, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Logistically, I need to be in a place where I can access my new company’s internal server. A special microchip-enabled card I have is supposed to make that happen. It doesn’t work, but it does get me into the company’s office, where I can access the system. What I do nowadays is look at a trend meter, hit refresh, find a few funny things to write about, and write them. You won’t find them anywhere on the web, because they website isn’t live yet.
Until it is—actually, long past that point—I’m going to feel like I’m floating. I wish I had some sort of better conclusion. It’s just so weird after having been stuck at a tiny company for so long. For as much as I wanted not to be there, I didn’t try to escape. I waited for escape to come to me, in the form of a job offer, effectively. What I’ve learned is that everything takes effort, even getting a good job. Which sounds silly, but what I mean is that I’ve quickly adjusted to the fact my new job has serious ups and downs. If I had looked a little harder, maybe it would have fewer downs. Maybe there’d be more people talking. The good part is there’s always tomorrow.