Dear the Hiring Committee of Poets & Writers,
My application began twelve years ago. I was twelve and he was thirty three and we were in love.
I apologize for beginning with the smatterings of pedophilia and without introducing myself in the usual professionalism and pleasantries fitting for someone who is pleasant and fit and professional as myself. But to tell you anything about me or why I have done as I have done or why I am applying as a Production Editor, I must explain to you about a boy, a man, and a love of twenty-one years.
Oozing with the skepticism and sweat of a prepubescent teen, I convinced myself that literature was parentless hogwash. Each reading was unsurveyed, uncontrolled. Always interpretation muddled the intention of an author, and all authors were too far away to comment on their babies. I did not want to be an adopted parent. I did not want the snafu. I did not want the diapers pretending to be paper.
I told my father this, a man who considers himself illiterate, who up until he was twenty-three, could only write his name. In response, he gave me a single book from my mother’s library, Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, and said read this to me.
So I did. Slowly. Carefully. Under the weight of my father’s eye, his ear, and his spirit, listening, nodding, and wondering. I told of the Ghost T-Shirts, of a mechanized world, of a Shah with humour. I read what happened when humanity did, and more importantly, when it didn’t. I read of farts, too. At the end – the terrible, world-crushing end – my father burdened by weeks of reading and my voice trailing to the final word, said nothing. I didn’t know what to expect. Wasn’t I supposed to glean something important?
Wasn’t my nihilism supposed to wash away? He closed his eyes. I followed, peeking occasionally. Nothing.
Then he gave me more. Slaughterhouse V. Mother Night. Galapagos. On and on I read, getting to know Vonnegut along the way. Sometime in between the first and the last book, I fell in love. Quite truly. I forgot my father was there waiting and read on my own, silently, trying to steal the sentences for myself like letters. He would tap me on the shoulder in the beginning of the affair. Then he stopped, nodded, and said nothing as I reached the end of one, another, more and more and more and more.
But it wasn’t the same as the silence at Player Piano. Instead, it was the kind that waited, that held no expectation, that wanted more like a lazy tic. And through it, sucking and bloody, I learned what literature was for: it was to make one feel less alone in a world that was so lonely. That held little life.
That held all of the life. That was life itself.
My application to Poets & Writers as the Production Editor is created in this paradoxical spirit. It bubbles with life, with the careful hunting of words, of design in print and web, and of farts too. I try to make myself stink with myself, if only to stick around.
And I’ve tried to in other fronts (and perhaps, behinds), particularly with vast experience in editing, leading teams, InDesign, Photoshop, social media savviness, and more. But you do not care about this. You care about your work. I am work. I am working. I am carefully worked but not over worked, unless I see someone under me. I bring them up.
So, let me write. Let me fall in love again. Let me do what no one else will let me do: be me by helping you become more you.