I went for 5 interviews-Nylon, Cosmo, Catalog and Goodstuph (twice). And whenever the perennial question of “Why did you quit Law school?” comes along with flabbergasted tones of disbelief reeking with judgement, I answer as though I’ve been anticipating its cliched arrival: I like to create, and mould things out of thin air. I like to tell stories and make people fall in love with what I adore. I like to help you visualize, craft words and spin webs held together by both truths and lies-and writing lets me do that.
Completing my 2 very short stints at Cosmo and Catalog have been very very rewarding. Don’t trust people who tell you that apprenticeships are not worth your time or effort-they are wrong, terribly so. Granted, the renumeration constantly disappoints. Its not a very lucrative industry, so you either write for them and gain that 5 seconds of fame when your name appears in the credit roll in font size 2.5, or you don’t write for them at all. But what you get back from just sitting at a random desk with a decent machine is immensely gratifying.
Every first day I have at a new office (okay, so I’ve only had 2 first days), I spend the night tearing my hair out trying to put together an outfit that says “Hey bitches, I’m stylish but not overly so.”. Its so frustrating because its you leaving your first impression so you’re desperately trying to achieve that delicate balance between “fashion forward” and “trying too hard”. On my first day at Cosmo, I wore a navy blue peter pan collar-ed shirt and mustard jeans, and for Catalog, a leaf motif black tank with dark blue denims. I remember it so vividly because I possibly went through a hundred combinations before settling on my outfit, yet the harsh reality is that possibly no one else but yourself remembers it. For the first few days, I’d breathe really lightly, walk really softly and pretty much tried to be invisible around everyone, even preferring to email my questions to my Ed-in-chief when she was seated 3 steps away from me. Some part of me decided that no attention was better than bad attention, so I simply went incognito. You’ll be scared, and rightfully so. You’re the newbie, the temp, the intern, the lowest life form in this office. But don’t forget that while you’re meeting new people, so are those around you. Granted, they’ve been around longer and possibly know where the pantry and smoking area are, but everyone’s afraid of the unknown. And guess what’s the good news, you are the unknown. My eye-liner and colored contacts act didn’t last past 2 weeks. Props to me.
When it comes to the writing part of the job, know this: I hate writing about fashion, simply because I cannot give a hoot about it. It is not where my interests lie, nor do I have a keen eye for the season’s latest trends. Its not like I dress like a hobo, or piece my pinks with my greens, fashion just doesn’t appeal to me. And when I first started work at Catalog, it was a complete nightmare. Finding out that 80% of what they published revolved around fashion meant that I was going to spend most of my apprenticeship writing about something I simply could not tolerate-FASHION. I couldn’t find words to describe the yellows, whites and browns, neither could I illustrate the cut of a dress or the fluidity of its hems. But now, words like neutral tones, cool palette, pops of colors, vivacious splash of purples, strong silhouetting, futuristic necklines, psychedelic prints-they all come naturally to me. My ability to learn surprises me, every single day.
There’s possibly a whole bucket more of interesting stuff I’ve learnt in these short few months (like how you’ll hate having work to do, but hate not having work to do even more), but in the end, you’ll get hooked on writing. You’ll be stoked looking at black words staining the blank canvas, you’ll be exhilarated knowing that your thoughts, those words you’ve carefully chosen and pieced together is being read by hundreds, maybe thousands of people everywhere. You feel like what you’re doing has meaning, it bears fruit and its a fruit so sweet and juicy, all the days you’ve spent in labour is worth it. I love writing, and every time I write, I feel like I can spend my entire life doing this. For the first time in a long while, there is clarity when it comes to the future. There is a certain sense of comfort in knowing that I will enjoy what I am doing, and I can see myself breathing life into text for the rest of my life. I’m not good at this, heck, I sometimes forget how to spell ‘disappoint’ and ‘occasion’, but there’s a warm fuzzy feeling that bubbles deep inside me every time I write-it is a feeling so complex and beautiful, I can only foolishly term as love.