Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why I got into this field in the first place

From my early childhood I have loved old movies. It never mattered to me if they were in black and white or if the subject was dated. There was just something about them that attracted me.

On Sunday, I watched one of my favorite old movies, The Best of Everything I can't tell you how many times I've seen that movie, or when I saw it for the first time. Though it is in color, it was an old movie when I first saw it. The clothing, hairstyles, and situations were dated even then. When I watched it on Sunday, the "datedness" of the film seemed even more apparent--especially the room full of typists slugging away at their typewriters. But, I still love that film.

Hope Lange plays a recent college grad whose come to NYC. She takes a typist job at Fabian Publishing. Of course most of the women working in the typing pool are only doing so until they get married. Lange's character proves herself to be a capable typist and an even more capable reader. So, to the chagrin of her boss (played by Joan Crawford), she becomes a reader. When Crawford's character leaves to get married, Lange becomes an editor. The coworker she's seeing doesn't like how the job has made her "masculine, hard." When Crawford returns--"It was too late for me"--Lange gives her back her job, though she is allowed to remain an editor, but with a smaller author base. And, of course, she comes around and gets the guy in the end--hey, I said it was an old movie.

I think this was the first film I saw that gave any kind of indication about how the books I loved so much actually became books. I had no way of knowing if publishing houses worked the way they were shown to in the film, but it didn't matter. What I cared about was the process--reader, editor, book. I wanted part of that action.

And I've gotten part of that action. Oh, none of my jobs mirror the situations presented in the film, but I am still fascinated by the publishing process. Though my career has been frustrated and frustrating of late, I still feel it's the right one, though I may not be working for the right publisher. It's a learning process that will go on as long as I work with publishing.