Two consultants stand on the brink of an epiphany. They sit in silence, staring at the wall above the others head, considering where to begin the budding saga of their consultant careers. Brienna twists the top off a brandy decanter and pours the amber liquid into a sifter, only missing the glass once. She swirls it, sniffs it, coughs, and hesitantly trickles the warm liquid into her mouth, hiding a grimace unsuccessfully. Cassandra rolls her eyes at her comrade’s lack of class and snatches the decanter from her hands tossing back a blazing mouthful of the fiery liquid.
The brandy heightens their senses and they tumble into enlightenment.
This is their revelation.
Cassandra: I never had an official interview before I started working at The Writing Center, so when I came here and started consulting I felt like a fish out of water at first, as if I didn’t belong there. (Her eyes glaze over in thought.)
Brienna: (She swirls her glass, and puts on an air of civility). I started off second guessing myself at every turn. I asked myself (and continue to do so) questions like “am I qualified to do this”, and “will this screw up their paper?” It took me at least 10 consultations before I remembered that I was more than capable of helping people spice up their papers. How did you feel Cassandra?
Cassandra: I think for me, I was more worried that other consultants would think I’m doing it wrong. I felt that they were listening in on my consultations, and I wasn’t measuring up as a consultant. Sounds stupid, I know, but I didn’t have confidence at first so I assumed other people were judging me for it. Now I know it was just me being stupid.
Brienna: I love seeing how other people write, it is one of the main reasons why I was so attracted to the publishing field initially. I love that every person in the world has a story and their own way of telling it.
Cassandra: Me too! I even read some stories that made me want to cry. There were others whose stories so closely mirrored my own experiences, that I felt we shared a bond. That we were long lost kindred spirits.
Brienna: I know! I can’t believe some of the things that people have gone through in their lives. I am baffled by what some people have gone through just to get here (MSU).
Cassandra: But I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn these things. I swear I learn something new from them everyday. It’s not just them learning how to be a better writer, but I’m also learning how to be a better consultant.
Brienna: I agree with that wholeheartedly. Working as a consultant has given me so many opportunities to learn. Not just factual data, but writing styles, and consulting tips that can really help me articulate my thoughts to the writer. I have also gotten a glimpse into the stories of many international students. I feel like I can understand their position better now because of it.
Cassandra: I feel like working here has given me a better understanding of just how diverse MSU is in general. I mean, not to sound all mushy and everything, but I’m truly grateful to be a consultant here. I constantly meet people and learn things about their culture and places they come from that I never knew.
Brienna: Yea, and sometimes I’m surprised by how similar these international students are to me. I read a few narratives about girls with creative souls, pushing themselves into more practical majors thus tempering their colorful spirits. It saddens me to see people crushing their creativity for the sake of practicality.
Cassandra: I know, but I can’t tell them how to live their life, I’m just glad that I’m living mine with creativity. I know that when I see people who don’t understand or like writing I feel crushed, like I was insulted personally. (She grabs the decanter of brandy and pours herself another glass, tossing it back effortlessly.)
Brienna: P.S, I hate the impersonal environment of Twiddla. I spend more time trying to figure out if they understand my suggestions than actually editing. (she pretends to take another sip; too aware that Cassandra is watching her).
Cassandra: I spend more time trying to figure out if they are actually writing and responding or just not paying attention.
Brienna: I guess the bottom line is that we view the Writing center not only as a potential learning venue for our clients, but as an opportunity to expand our own cultural horizons through communication, articulation and, ultimately, teamwork and collaboration.
Cassandra: We do so much more than just edit papers and consult with clients; we reassure them, converse with them, learn from them. We do these things together with them, so while they learn from us, we learn from this. Even though we talked about it during the Writing Center Theory class, it’s so different when you experience it for yourself first hand.
The moment Cassandra finishes her sentence, she collapses. On the other side of the room, the sifter tumbles from Brienna’s hand. The brandy is too classy for them; their organs struggle to contain it within their bodies. It’s as if they have swallowed pure light, something the imperfect human digestive system cannot handle. Having drinken less than Cassandra, Brienna is allowed a few more precious moments of life.
With her last breath, Brienna looks over at her comrade and utters her dying words, “no…more…grammar…checkss…” her life sneaks away, leaving the smile from the happy final thought on her face.