This past Friday ended my 7 month stint as a freelance writer at Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide.
While there I did a lot of work on a content hub for DeVry University. The hub is called Know How for a New Tomorrow. I like to think that President Obama, with his focus on STEM-education, would approve. It holds a lot of information about growing careers for a changing economy. Career fields like cyber security, cloud computing, healthcare technology. Things I knew very little about before this I got this job. Things that make me hope more kids, especially girls, dig science and math. Consider this statistic which we employed a lot on Know How: By 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. This gives one pause, doesn’t it?
I like the team of people I worked with on this project a lot. I’m going to miss them. (You know who you are!) And I’m going to miss the quiet car on the Metra train, where I did so much writing of my novel-under-contract, Sing for Me. All those miles and words, flying by on rails. I guess it should come as no surprise that the El Train figures prominently in this book, which is set in the 1930s in Chicago.
I have a big crush on Chicago, I realized during my many days downtown, walking from the Metra station down Randolph Street, turning left on Dearborn to where it intersects Wacker, or sometimes just following the river to work. It’s a lifelong crush, that also extends back to before I was even born. I have a crush on Chicago that extends back to the early part of the twentieth century. My newly immigrated grandfather’s city. I love the mix of brawn—the massive rail yards and stock yards and factory buildings (so many abandoned now) and barges—and decorative flourish. Oh, the soft, green clock on the Field’s building that now holds the cold, hard Macey’s. Oh, the wrought iron doors to marble columned Carson’s, now Target. This edifice, next to that, the push and pull of design. I love it.
Now I’m back in suburbia, at least for a little while, with 10,000 words to go and no quiet car to write them in. (Where else have I written the other 80,000, during my lunch hours? Well, the Cultural Center on Randolph has lots of nooks and crannies. And there’s a really nice hotel lobby with a fountain in the same building as Leo B. Also, on Leo’s 21st floor, there a lounge that has a great view of the lake. There, too. And at this Starbuck’s and that Cosi. Too many places to remember.)
10,000 words to go, and a few weeks to write them. Any good ideas of where to take refuge besides my living room, which is fine most of the time, but sometimes not? I’d love to hear.
As a going away present to myself, here is an ad that shows me at work (I am one of the many people playing with a spunky dog). Oh, cubicle! You were so good to me. Good-bye!