Friday, 23 September 2011

End of the Long Road...

Today, I went into the office and packed away the family room so all the furniture, toys, cushions etc are ready to be picked up and delivered to other projects. I took all the photos of families and children's art work down from the wall, and shredded piles of work that we've done that doesn't need to be archived. I handed in my keys and my ID badge, and cleared the last bits off my desk. I left an out-of-office message on my email that said, Sorry I won't be able to reply to your email, as I'll no longer be working for the organisation, if you need to speak to someone, please contact...'

We decorated the office ourselves, bought all the furniture for our family room, put it together from flat packs, and painted the walls. Today, I took down picture frames, and pulled out nails that I hammered into the walls two years ago. And I left a nearly bare office today, nothing on the walls, everything in piles ready for a man and van. There is one week of our project remaining, but it's basically gone now. I have a week's holiday and then I am officially redundant.

It's been a strange ending. We've known it's been coming for a long time, but the end has rushed to meet me. A bit like when you do a parachute jump and when you reach a few hundred feet from the ground, you suddenly feel as if the ground is coming towards you way faster than you would like.

As a team, we had a day out a few weeks ago, but none of us have said goodbye yet.

Maybe that's what happens when events are not your choice. We didn't decide the funding would end. We didn't choose for the project to close. Everyone (fingers crossed) has a new job. I'm the only one being made redundant as it turns out. I half found myself another job elsewhere, but no suitable jobs came up for me anyway.

It wasn't voluntary. I didn't get a generous payout. I get statutory redundancy pay, which is better than nothing, but there was no way I'd have been able to use any payout to take time off work to write, to travel, or to start a business like most of the other people I know who've been made redundant. Life can sometimes feel like a lottery.

So, after seven years, I'm leaving an organisation where I did most of my learning as a social worker, became involved in hundreds of people's lives, saw the best and worst in people, met most of the friends who I now spend time with, found love for a while, grew a lot of confidence, and had some great laughs.

I've worked in two different projects. One for five years, one for two years. Walking out of the office was hard today. It was almost like any other day. Three of us leaving together, having a joke about this and the other, signing out, and saying what could have been an everyday bye.

I have my new job, and I know that I'll grow and learn, support many other people and have new work colleagues who could hopefully become friends.

But, even though I have the chance for this new beginning, this ending is hard, especially because it wasn't chosen. So, tonight I'm letting myself feel the sadness. It's the end of a part of my life, and I'm going to miss it like mad.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lemistry

I am very pleased that my short story Toby is being published in this very exciting book.


Lemistry is a book of short stories and essays celebrating the Polish science fiction writer Lem Stanislaw. You might never of heard of him but you will know work that has been inspired by his writing. It's all over the place... in science fiction films, computer games and fiction...

Now, I am not as much of a science fiction geek as this seems to indicate. But, being asked to write a story inspired by Lem's writing was one of those opportunities I just had to have a try at... I delved into some of his writing, and was drawn into one story in particular, The Seventh Sally or How Trurl's Own Perfection Led to No Good. It triggered off a whole sequence of thoughts and ideas, and I sat down and wrote this story on a very rainy Manchester weekend. I've since learnt that The Seventh Sally was part of the inspiration for computer game The Sims!

I loved writing this story, and I've very excited that Toby has been published in this book. I love the fact that it's published alongside stories by such amazing writers... I'm a bit astounded actually, and might not fully believe it until I've seen a copy in print!