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Marianne Grier

Swapping Snacks From the Editor’s Lunch Box

I’ve always found new beginnings deliciously appealing. Whether it’s starting a fresh crossword puzzle, trying a new recipe or signing up for a class, I love the excitement of a new endeavour and wonder what I might learn along the way.

As a school student, I wasn’t always keen to get back to class at summer’s end. But I was excited about my new lunch box and curious about my school supplies. I looked forward to receiving each year’s list and seeing how it became increasingly complicated year to year. The first time the number of pens required took over the number of pencils, I felt a great sense of responsibility; I could finally be trusted to set my thoughts down without the security of an eraser. With each new list, I marvelled at how much smarter I would be by the time I’d worked my way through the year’s supplies.

Perhaps for this reason, September has always had more of a “new beginning” feel to it than January with its new year. While I haven’t been a full-time student for years, I consider myself a lifelong learner. Each September, I feel the need to treat myself to a fresh notebook and engage in some kind of learning. I’ve been told that this isn’t normal — we get education to get jobs, and once we’re employed, we’ve done our classroom time.

When I discovered the editing community in Vancouver, I felt as if I’d found others like myself. I was struck by the group’s collaborative atmosphere and the appreciation for learning and improvement. As I got to know my fellow editors, I was amazed at our shared excitement over spending precious Saturdays at professional development seminars, and the delight in exchanging tips like students trading lunch box treats. Editors are a generous bunch, eager to share knowledge. Since many of us work alone and navigate complex texts and relationships from solitary offices, it’s comforting to know that help and virtual shoulders to cry on can be found outside in-person meetings through online forums.

As editors, we all need to be lifelong learners. Our world is challenging in part because we don’t learn only from each other, but from our clients too. We’re expected to be experts for each project we take on; when we come across things we don’t know, we find out. It’s clear that the quest for answers helps our work as we grow and develop our skills (and hopefully our incomes). Yet I feel that many of us would learn just for fun, to satisfy our hunger for new experiences and for the chance to view our practice in new ways.

I’ve recovered from the illusion that more experience means less reliance on an eraser, though I’ll always welcome September and its promise of freshly sharpened lead and new snack containers. This autumn, as we shake off the summer cobwebs, let’s treat ourselves to some new pencils and get excited about the learning opportunities this year has in store.


Previous post from Marianne Grier: Home Is Where the Bagel Is.

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4 Comments on “Swapping Snacks From the Editor’s Lunch Box”

  • Frances Peck


    I suspect that back-to-school feeling stays with a lot of us through our lifetimes, Marianne. I’m just like you when September rolls around, ready for something new and exciting, and I’ve heard others say the same. I also feel a strange compulsion to buy a new outfit or two, ideally ordered from the Sears catalogue…

    • Marianne Grier


      The Sears catalogue! I’d forgotten all about the joys of browsing through it for back to school clothes.

  • Daphne Sams


    Oh, yes! September hits me exactly the same way, Marianne. The air is a little crisper and fresher, with a definite whiff of surprises to come. It’s a time to get back to business, sharpen those new pencils, and (like Frances) go shopping for some “back to school” clothes. Fresh starts and high hopes happen in September, the happiest month of the year.

    • Marianne Grier


      It’s nice to know you share my feelings, Daphne! I’m looking forward to seeing what the happiest month of the year has in store this year.

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