My name is Tatiana Morand, and I am a spy.
Wait, no. I’m TNQ’s new Circulation Assistant.
Sometimes I forget the difference. Being surrounded by words all day in the TNQ office has increased my (already considerable) tendency to narrativize. The reality of “I walked to the other building to fill up the water bottles. It was cold and windy.” becomes fiction so easily: “The polar explorer sprinted across the snow, tiny white clouds scudding across her boots. She carried a heavy load, but knew she had to arrive at the shelter before dark.” The reality of “I’m the new Circulation Assistant! I want to be a writer!” becomes, “I am a spy behind enemy lines!”
You see, I see myself as a spy. I am a writer infiltrating the world of editors only to scurry back to my notebook and apply everything I’ve learnt to my own writing.
Sssh, now. Don’t tell anyone.
Does this make it difficult to explain to people what I do all day? Yes. Very. What happens in my head and what happens to me physically are such different things. My day-to-day tasks are much more mundane than I imagine being a spy would be (although I’ve never actually been a spy, so I suppose that’s narrativizing as well). However, I must admit that I’ve always been that way, which is one of the main reasons that I’ve always been drawn to writing and, more recently, to working here. As a small child, I created elaborate universes with my stuffed toys (mainly involving death and disembowelment) and it’s a habit I never quite grew out of (although my stories now contain rather less disembowelment).
‘Habit,’ however, is rather too lenient a word. Habits are things I do because they’re routine—good for me, like going to the gym, or simply easier, like taking the shorter route home. Writing is simultaneously both and neither of those things. Rather, it is a craving (and if you’ve met me, you will know that I have never craved going to the gym). Even if I haven’t written anything in months, the second I sit down with my notebook again, I think: yes! This is right! This was the missing puzzle piece! It’s an addiction; it can be kicked briefly to the curb, forgotten for a few weeks while I’m concentrating on other things, but the tendency to structure my life around words (read narrativizing) is a constant that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake.
I suspect that both of these things are true of most people who consider themselves writers in some way or another. If not the propensity for violent character deaths, then at least the habit of building ourselves fairytale castles, one word-brick at a time, and the need to express ourselves in some shape that falls outside our daily interactions. Even those of us who write nonfiction need to repackage the bare bones of facts in order to allure their audiences. All of us are storytellers, in our own ways. Working at TNQ is simply another way to give into my addiction to words (as if I needed further convincing).
In a similar vein, it allows me to fuel my addiction to reading. I would imagine that most of us who consider ourselves writers must also consider ourselves readers (how else would we know how to structure our craft?). In that sense, working at TNQ is also a dream come true. Processing submissions? Reading submissions. Finding posts for #throwbackthursday? Reading through old issues. The majority of my tasks here involve reading in some shape or form, which fills me with delight—and, even better, no one has reprimanded me yet!
(Or possibly no one has noticed, in which case I have now jeopardized this part of my job. Oh well. Too late. I’m trying to narrativize as little as possible in this post.)
It’s for these reasons and more that I’m overjoyed to work at TNQ. It’s a learning experience: both like a job and a Creative Writing class, packaged with a tidy bow (or less tidy co-op report). Even though I’ve been here for less than a week, I feel welcomed and at home in this land of words- and, best of all, that I’ve already learnt so much. What will I have learnt by the end of the term? I could tell you… but then I’d have to kill you.
(I’m still a spy, after all!)