Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Careers advice

When I was in my late teens and still at secondary school, there was a lot of talk about forward planning for a possible career. We had talks from people who gave us advice about this or that, there was a careers advisor on hand most days near the sixth form common room and we had various computer programme things that asked you questions and suggested possible careers that might match your likes or dislikes.

I didn’t know for definite what I wanted to do. I had played with different careers in my mind – popstardom beckoned at one point, the literary life at another, not to mention my brush with TV presenting fame.

I hadn’t settled on one for definite because my main thoughts, in my last year at school, were on the gap year I had planned. So I just kind of let these career talks go in one ear and out the other. I had my place at university sorted, I was off to study theatre and English literature when I got back from Africa, although I didn’t really know what I could do with it as a career. I just liked them!

One day though, I must have been wondering what career the computer might suggest if I took the questionnaire. I secretly love stuff like that as it often comes up with something hilariously off-kilter. In a free moment between classes, I decided to take the careers questionnaire.

It took a long time. Long, long, long. And it went on and on and on about things that were so similar to one another that I thought that surely I must have answered it already.

“You enjoy working in a group.”

“You enjoy working with other people.”
Agree strongly

“You get on well with other people.”

“You like to lead a group.”
Neither agree or disagree

“You like to be in charge.”
Agree slightly

“You are good at taking control.”
Agree slightly

“You like to fix things.”
Disagree slightly

“You like to take things apart and figure them out.”

“You work best alone.”
Neither agree or disagree.

And so it went on. Click, click, click went the mouse, on varying degrees of agreeing or disagreeing with certain statements. Until finally, five billion questions later, I got a little egg timer on the screen while it came up with my results.

I waited in anticipation, thinking about all the things it might suggest for the career I was best matched to. Based on the questions I had been asked, I thought it might come up with things like ‘Team leader on expedition of huge world importance similar to that of Shackleton,” or “Queen’s best friend,” (is that a job title?) or “World famous travelling sensation.”

Think, think, think, went the egg timer and then, finally, up popped my results!

I’ve long since forgotten what my number 1 most suitable career came up as because right there, sitting in the number 2 spot, was the word ‘Embalmer.’

You’re thinking, no, surely not? Is that what I think it is? Well yes, it is what you think it is. The person who embalms dead bodies and gets them ready for burial.

At number 2! That high up! Did I fall asleep during part of the questionnaire and accidentally click ‘agree’ on the statement “You like working with the recently departed”?!

Laura Maisey, Future Embalmer.

A film review. Of sorts.

Last night I went to the open air cinema at Kew Gardens. They’re showing films for three nights. The one I went to see was Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


I thought it sounded lovely. Watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s outside under the stars wrapped in a big jumper and a blanket, nibbling snacks from a little picnic basket. And it was lovely! Minus the picnic basket (I’d gone a bit crazy with the new Italian pastry things at work and was stuffed!). I also didn’t have my glasses with me and was sitting far enough back that this was a problem. If I just pretend it’s cool blurry special effect then it’s fine.


The main story seems to be that Holly Golightly is a… Um… A ‘good time girl’…. And Paul Varjack is a bit of a playboy. For people who make their money in the way that they do, they seem rather glamorous and fun and carefree and jolly. With lovely apartments in New York where they throw parties for the rich and famous and generally have tons of fun. Not sure I’d be able to find many ‘good time girls’ today in such favourable conditions. But anyway, who am I to point such things out! It was probably different in 1961.


Anyway, the story, which first appears to be about two people living in the same apartment and the buck-toothed Japanese guy (not sure that would be ok today) on the top floor who yells a lot, becomes a lot more complicated.

Holly Golightly is in search of money, essentially. It’s never really explained why she runs away to New York when she has a screen test with a director, apart from wanting to find herself. But surely a successful stint in films would have got her the money she talks about? Her pursuit of a man to marry is based purely on his bank account. Anyway, maybe the point is about her desires being inconsistent, she runs away from a chance to be in film and have money to ‘find herself’ then runs away from her search for herself to marry a man for money.

Suffice to say, a man falls in love with her, they spend a wonderful day doing things they’ve never done before and finally kiss. Then he tells her off a bit for her silliness. He tells her she’s put herself in a ‘cage’ and to kind of chill out a bit. So she leaps dramatically out of the taxi which she has told to go to the airport so she can jet off to Brazil and find a rich man. It is raining. Of course.

“CAT!” she yells, running daintily down the street. “CAT!”

(This isn’t her nickname for the man who has just told her off. This is actually a cat she’s looking for.)

She runs up and down a little alleyway searching for Cat. Eventually she finds him in between some old boxes and, as such, things become ok again. She sees Paul, she has the cat, things are suddenly perfect. They kiss, Cat’s little face gets mashed awkwardly inbetween them. All is well.

Presumably they went back to the apartment, maybe they both moved into his, because it’s nicer. He’s told his fancy woman it is over and is getting a bit of money from writing instead. And Holly? She’s erm, she’s…. What will she do? Keep entertaining men in the powder room for fifty dollars? Probably not. Paul has already told her that he does feel he owns her (in an ok way, I guess) and that they belong to each other. So he probably wouldn’t be ok with her entertaining other men. Hm.

So what do we know about her? She lived with people who mistreated her when she was younger. She was caught stealing by a man who she then married at 14 years old. She was ‘discovered’, taught French to straighten her accent out and ran away from a potential in films. We can presume she hasn’t been to school. She makes money entertaining men in powder rooms and dreams of marrying a rich man. Instead she gets together with a struggling writer. She also steals from shops.

What do we think settled life holds for her? A substandard office job, pregnancy and arguments with her significant other about the bills? They’d eventually break up, maybe. Or stay together unhappily, awkwardly making small talk over the dinner table, little Jimmy crashing about and making the Japanese man upstairs threaten police action again…

I kind of wanted her to run away to Brazil… To keep living the dream and stay glamorous and fun and free…. O well. I guess the reality is that she’s a prostitute and that’s actually not glamorous or fun or anything. It’s pretty rough, probably.