Monday, March 21, 2005

An interesting interview

with Janet Desaulniers at identity theory. I'm definitely going to get this book and read it, I'm sort of obsessed with this problem of how to write about the workplace. These words really ring true to me:

"I had all this collected material, right, and then because a friend was introducing her I had a free ticket to hear Shirley Hazzard speak at the Chicago Humanities Festival and then Shirley Hazzard happened to say, 'We need a Flaubert of the workplace.' And I thought: I'm not busy. Why not me? I could do that. Also, around that time the School was having financial trouble, and I took exception to some of the administration's cost-cutting measures. Suddenly, I'm in all-school meetings and I'm talking, which you really don't want to find yourself doing. But I am. And talking so much that people I've never met are calling me by my first name. Coming up the way I did in a family business, I saw my folks bail employees out of jail and check them into detox and drive them to work during ice storms and hold their hands while they died of cancer. I understood work as an extension of family. So it's especially difficult for me to see people treated badly in the workplace. Denied this and that, and it's so harsh. And cold. I wanted to write about that. I've seen people destroyed in the workplace. And the truth is the workplace does not respect intelligence, does not respect hard work, does not respect all those things it's supposed to respect. Too often it's a terrible place, fraught with hidey-holes of grotesquery, and we all get caught up in them from time to time. We're just tooling along and the bottom falls out. Or we make mistakes all the time and nobody cares, then suddenly we make one and oh-my-god. It's a place roiling with drama and bad behavior. And angst. Work makes people want to die. People weep. And so that day I decided I would give everything I've collected, all this matter, to a group of people trapped in an indecent workplace."

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