For Kacie

Hello Faithful Readers:

I am sorry for the long delay.  Things have been very busy over here.  I have various projects, and my work time is starting to bleed into my home time.  Of course, what do I end up doing with all of these projects?  I end up procrastinating,   I end up researching dead-ends that go on forever, and I end up watching clips of the Simpsons on YouTube before I nod off.  Ironically, I was never as much of a Simpsons fan as my friends.  That’s not why I’m here this evening.  I’m here to gather my thoughts and write a fond farewell to a colleague of mine in the hopes that she will see this.  Sure, she’ll get a card, but this will be a bit more free-flowing.

No, no, she’s not dying or anything — heaven forbid.  My day-job editor of the past two years is retiring.  She is the first person to retire from my company in the six-plus years that I have been there.  We’ll replace her, sure, but we’ll never quite replace her.  I know I talk about my work life on here more than I should.  Ironically, I don’t like talking about work and I don’t intend to talk about work when I blog. If you’d like to learn a little about my colleague, read on.  If you’re looking for any of my regular features, on writer’s websites, my writing, or any writing, I’ll catch you next time!

With Kacie being such a film fan, and a benchmark film in my life on the horizon (Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, as if you couldn’t guess), I put two and two together and here I am.

Thank you, faithful readers.  Keep reading, and keep writing!

~Jim

For Kacie

In a past life, I was the editor at this company, my current employer.  Because of this, I was now on the interview committee whenever we needed a new editor.  I’d interviewed and recommended several people as my replacements. Some turned out good, and some were… well, let’s not dwell on that.  Kacie came into our office and breathed life into a place that some had (not so) jokingly called a morgue.  Her cheer was a salve that helped smooth over some rough patches and help get our motley collection of cogs working harmoniously once again.

I remember when Kacie first came into our lives.  It was a hot day, and our building had invoked Murphy’s Law; we’d gone without air conditioning for perhaps the first day that we’d ever actually needed such a thing.  I was out of practice with interviewing people, and had added perhaps a few too many questions to my standard repertoire.  She’d answered all of the questions that I had in great depth, and added levity to the interview that few will do in such a situation.  It was the perfect interview; not only was she not desperate for the job, she had another more pleasant alternative facing her if she didn’t get the job: retirement.  She interviewed because she wanted the job, not because she was in any great rush to jump back into work. After what must have been an hour of interviews that included our other team members, I gave her a test; this test was toward the end of a long day for us, as well, and it was something that I’d had to compose just a few hours earlier (as our old test had disappeared).  Thank you, Kacie, for your patience that day, and thank you for your candor!

It was remarkable!  Here was an editor candidate who not only admitted that spelling wasn’t a particular strength, but joked that what set her apart as a candidate was her age!  She did well on the editing test, but she’d already done so much to win us over.  Two years ago, we were happy to see her come aboard; now, two years later, we’re sorry to see her say goodbye.  Thank you, Kacie, for winning us over, and proving our gut feelings right!

One thing that is inherent in my position (as well as suited to my talents) is silence.  I often work for hours without any interaction with my colleagues — not because I don’t relish it, but because it’s what I need to do my job particularly well.  I go in, plug in, and stay quiet.  Every morning, and on many evenings, she would come into my office and chat about affairs of the World, music, books, and most of all… movies.  I couldn’t add much to the latter, as my taste in movies extends all of the way from Highlander to (hopefully) The Dark Tower. However, I’d hear something about a new movie about once per week.  It was interesting, because Kacie should have been a movie critic or a book critic, and probably would have been one of the two if our local paper still had such a thing. Every conversation would leave me thinking about something new about characterization, remind me about mood and tone, and about the way good fiction can raise your spirits.  For all of that and more, I want to thank Kacie for breaking the silence.

I was always happy to put little factoids into my work, because I knew that she’d pick up on them and make comments.  I’d even put in a few quips or some flowery language because I knew that it would give her a laugh.  For reference, I almost never put such a thing in my business writing before, and may have to curb what little I do now that she’s on her way out.  As I look at my latest business writing, a task that I am also addressing as I draft this, I think back to the last little easter egg that I’ve written: “Defining success takes much more than a feeling.”  Yes, it’s subtle, but isn’t that what we strive for as writers?  Thank you, Kacie, for laughing at those intended references, and even those that I never intended in the first place.

SIDE NOTE: One of these days, someone should figuratively hit their audience over the head with the symbolism of… a brick.

Unfortunately, I am under the weather. I am running short on evening hours, and do not want this to be a prolonged illness.  I would like to write more, but my energy level is waning, and I want to wrap this up before I set it aside.  Thus, I must abruptly bid you adieu. I hope you have all enjoyed this small tribute to Kacie.

Thank you, Kacie. The team will miss you.

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One Response to “For Kacie”

  1. Kacie Cavanaugh Says:

    Thank you so much Jim (of course I’m thinking James as I write this). I already miss you and all the guys and gals at work. You helped me so much throughout the two years I worked there, but even more I loved our little discussions on life, the universe, and 42. I hope we will continue them online. (BTW I’m watching LA Confidential for about the 10th time as I write this.)

    -K

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