So, as of today I have a desk at a commercial creative collective* called Fleet Collective, which is situated in Dundee city centre. It’s an open plan office space for creative businesses and is full of graphic designers, animators, video game developers, PR folk and the like. The Guardian mentioned it in an article about the city recently – http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jun/22/dundee-scotland-design-v-and-a-culture-regeneration-minecraft-grand-theft-auto.
It’s now six months since I was fired from my first professional job as a trainee reporter for the Evening Telegrpah, part of DC Thomsons, after having a work-related nervous breakdown. And now here I am in a central, quirky office space surrounded by young creatives working away. I didn’t wither and die without the traditional newspaper industry. Out of the ash of my career at the Evening Telegraph is growing a more suitable one with Artificial Womb. Walking down to the office this morning I felt… good. Honestly, I’ve been having nightmares for quite a while where I’m suddenly back at DC Thomsons and I don’t have any stories to write, no contacts I can think of to phone, deadlines are looming, the editors are getting angrier and angrier and I just feel. so. shit. A total failure. Sometimes in my dreams I’m fired and sometimes I quit, but it’s a heart-wrench either way. I didn’t WANT to fail at being a reporter for the Evening Tele. I just… did.
So now I’m sitting at my new desk cautiously getting to work. I still can’t quite believe I don’t have a boss. Of course there’s people to answer to in terms of the organisation of the collective as a whole, the external funding arrangement that’s allowing me to use the space for free, the printers I’m working with in Edinburgh, the advertisers for the zine, the contributors, the readers, Alfie… but no boss. No immediate supervisor. No news editor. I can write whatever I like. I don’t have to justify my work hours. I can juggle my own workload. I can research using Facebook and make relationships with PRs I approve of and chose which businesses to stock the zine in and I could get up RIGHT NOW and use my NEW KEY to leave the office and go and have lunch. WITHOUT ASKING ANYONE FOR PERMISSION.
Yeah, I do feel a bit hysterical about it all. You don’t have a work-related nervous breakdown without getting a few hang-ups about your career, office work and your particular industry. I haven’t quite been able to work it all out with my business therapist yet, but the small scared trainee and intern is out in force in me today. I keep apologising for existing. I want to cry. I’m self-conscious about what I’m wearing (doc martins, brown wide-leg trousers, a black smart top, a black cardigan). But it’s all good.
I’ll be here every Friday and I can leave my laptop on my desk. I can bring in a bookshelf with my feminist books on it. I could put up ‘Artificial Womb’ bunting (I’m not sure it would suit the clean, hipster boy aesthetic though).
Alongside the studio space in Glasgow I feel like I’ve got my career back. I’m Ana Hine, the editor of Artificial Womb and an artist and journalist in my own right. No-one can take that away from me.
*It’s not an incubator space, apparently, but… seriously I LOVE the idea of making a zine called Artificial Womb in an ‘incubator space’. I’d never heard that term before today and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! It essentially means a space for start-up project creators to develop and launch their ideas. Amazing. I’m totally a premie business. I need a little incubation to become healthy enough to survive independently. Excellent term.