Back in Class

by Fran Giuffre • Member { View Profile }

            By the third class, the retired lawyer was gone, causing me to wonder if perhaps his girlfriend left him after all, even after he agreed to attend. We were down to a group of about twenty: seventeen women and three men. 

It was during the fifth class, when we began discussing “coding,” that I became lost and couldn’t figure out what the instructor was talking about. I waited as I often did when watching some cloak and dagger movie where I am clueless as to the plot but sit there waiting for the point at which it will “click” and all will become clear. 

It was then that I realized that I seemed to be the only one who didn’t get it. I decided to wait until the break to ask Charlotte to explain it to me; she was a knowledgeable student who always got “Excellent” on her homework.

Towards the end of the semester, we welcomed two guest speakers from the industry: one gentleman from Design and another from Production.   Both men alluded more than once, to the unrealistic timetable associated with the different phases of book production. How publishers were merging, cutting back on staff while pushing relentlessly to get more books out in shorter a shorter period of time. It sounded very much like the garment industry. This was an ongoing theme in the class I overheard in conversations between students. Low pay, grueling hours, pressure. I had somehow stumbled into the one industry that made the garment center sound like paradise.

But I’m not a quitter. I never walk out on movies no matter how bad, and I finish books that I start, no matter how boring. I continued to show up every week for two hours of endless rules about punctuation, grammar, spelling, whether or not to capitalize after semicolons, only to learn that I do not want to be a copyeditor. If I want to be tortured, I can stay where I am and at least get paid a decent salary for my efforts. Maybe everything new looks exciting from the outside. I guess I was judging this book by its cover. I hadn’t realized I had already read it.

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