Best Woman Young Job Book by Emma Healey
“Every day I scour the online listings, write cover letters and email them into the void. I’ve looked for work before, but never at this pace or pitch, and I feel surprised by the ease with which I churn out variations on the same few dull sentences over and over… The more I write, the easier these phrases flow through me. It’s like discovering a language inside me I didn’t know I could speak.”
BEST YOUNG WOMAN JOB BOOK
Emma Healey just wants to be a writer, but that’s more a journey than a job, and the journey isn’t free. As a teenager, she begins her adventures in precarious employment when introduced by her actor/playwright mother to the role of “standardized patient,” performing illness as a living training dummy for medical students. In university, she joins a creative writing program, cultivating a poet’s interest in language while learning lessons about the literary world that have more to do with survival than art.
Through her twenties, she writes software manuals for the world’s leading producer of online pornography, masters search engine optimization for a marketing firm run out of a bedroom by two Phish-loving brothers, narrowly escapes death as a research assistant for a television drama, and works the night shift captioning daytime TV.
Along the way, as she navigates dating apps, tumultuous relationships, and the evolution of a voice that she is slowly learning to trust, she begins writing personal essays for money—and finds herself embroiled in a content economy that blurs the boundaries between a day job and making art even further.
Emma Healey's memoir is a collection of short chronological stories that chart her life as a writer. Through a delightfully funny prose, the author could charm just about any reader.
Whether she’s is writing monotonous blog posts for an SEO start-up or watching a seemingly never ending pile of TV dramas and reality shows for a closed captioning company, Healey recounts each experience with her character humour that I grew to love.
Ultimately, Healey's passion for writing is one that remained consistent throughout from beginning to end, and I felt like a keen observer as she achieved each milestone, be it a book review in the local newspaper or the publication of her first poetry book.
Best Young Woman Job Book, while upbeat and funny, doesn't veer away from what can be a brutal and competitive industry.
This was a splendid book, and one to be cherished.
Shout out to Lisa Jagger at Penguin Random House Canada for a brilliant cover.
Emma Healey has published two collections of poetry, Begin with the End in Mind and Stereoblind. Her poems and essays have been featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the FADER, the Hairpin, Real Life, the National Post, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Walrus, Toronto Life, Canadian Art, Raptors HQ and many other outlets. She was formerly poetry critic at The Globe and Mail and is a regular contributor to the music blog Said the Gramophone. She was the recipient of the Irving Layton Award for Creative Writing in both 2010 and 2013, a National Magazine Award nominee in 2015, and a finalist for the K.M. Hunter award in 2016.