Thursday, August 30, 2018
Life in public
I went down to my old magazine yesterday, which has moved to offices in Brooklyn with a much reduced staff from the days when I was on the masthead. They are now in a very cool looking former warehouse complex with polished concrete floors, exposed pipes and ductwork, and large banks of windows letting in lots of light. Very Brooklyn industrial chic, complete with a coffee bar and cafe right there on the work floor and a full time barista on staff. But as cool as it all looks, the staffers miss the days when people had offices and cubicles. The open concept design with unbroken rows of desks, everyone shoulder to shoulder or staring across at each other from behind their computer screens, affords no privacy for sensitive conversations, and it's noisy and distracting, too. But I did note that even though they are short staffed and overworked, folks did not seem oppressed, and that is an improvement, perhaps, from the days when the magazine was owned by Time Inc., and everyone did indeed feel anxious and burdened.
I was there to get software and fonts loaded onto my laptop and get a refresher in InCopy, which I actually remembered pretty darn well, like riding a bicycle really. I am editing for the magazine again, have been for the past couple of months, working remotely, which is perfect. But being back in the office among people with whom I once regularly burned the midnight oil stirred up feelings. I'll just say, those women give the best hugs, and they made me feel welcomed back to the team, even on an informal, open-ended basis. This could be good. I just have to make sure I am very organized, as there is also the book I'm working on, and I intend to do my darnest there, too.
I actually went from the magazine's office to an interview with my book subject and her parents yesterday. Her mother plied me with delicious meat and spinach pies, and sweet sage tea, as we pored over photo albums and they shared the stories behind each picture. It was fascinating to note that as intense as my subject is in the public sphere, her family of origin appears warm and funny and easygoing. I imagine they must provide a healing refuge for the organizing work their activist daughter does out in the world. I am really glad she has the security of her family, where she can sink into being unconditionally loved and a relaxed, bantering way.
Later, when I got home, my son and one of his friends showed up and the two full grown men dozed on my couches until evening, when they got themselves together and went out to meet friends who are in town from other states and from England for a wedding of one of their camp crew this weekend. They've been celebrating non-stop since the bachelor party in Nashville last weekend, and it will continue until bride and groom are hitched beside a lake in the Connecticut woods this Sunday.
I took that photo in the Juno car at 7:30 AM on the way to Brooklyn yesterday morning. It was already almost 100 degrees outside, but inside the car was air conditioned and the soft early morning light invited me to take a selfie before getting all bedraggled by the day. Despite the sweltering heat, it was a good, productive morning and afternoon, and very social. Today my plan is to do nothing else but sit at my desk looking out at the trees, and write.