the missing handbag. why I didn’t become a fashion magazine editor {from darkness to light}

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This is an excerpt from my upcoming book From Darkness to Light

The panic

The panic over the missing handbag began the day before. The questions about its whereabouts were still spinning when I arrived and I was immediately assigned the task of tracking it down as my first of the day. It needed to arrive at the latest by noon, our scheduled appointment with Clive, who would shoot it among other items for our story on fresh pieces for spring.

The handbag had gone missing at 11 am, the moment it left the designer’s atelier. It seemed that in the very instant it should have been reliably making its way across the city it was instead disappearing. Calls to the shipping company revealed that the tracking number couldn’t track it—it simply wasn’t where it should have been. Calls to the designer left me in more of a panic than when I started, as his assistant quickly went from efficient and masterful to squeaky-voiced and aghast.

In the offices around me, others were at work attempting to track down and source a replacement—one that would fit the theme and align with the other pieces. I hung up the phone and looked around me: I was panicked, the people I called were panicked, and the people around me were panicked. All this, for a handbag.

The Saving Grace

And then the call came—minutes before noon, in the midst of each of us with a phone on our ear, calling out to each other options and ideas for solutions, in the midst of all of that the call came through to my line. “Please hold,” swapping lines, picking up line two, “Yes? Yes.” The handbag wasn’t lost, it was on its way, and would arrive just in time. Ah. Collective sighs of relief, small smiles, doors closing, sitting back down, shoulders relaxing, we were through.

I gathered my pencils and pens, slotted them into their holster, tucked away the keyboard and turned off the monitor, flipped closed my notepad and escaped out to the courtyard.

The Enlightenment

I lay on my back on a bench, leafy green trees rustling overhead, bumble bees ambling with heavy laden legs, a chickadee flitting from branch to branch. This was not just real. This was important. This moment of the world simply continuing on, bumble bee and bird and shining sun, absolutely unaware of even the existence of a brown leather handbag with ruching and leather tassels. Absolutely unaware of anything other than what was happening right this very second and maybe, I thought, blissfully so.

There were people who saw the world this way, who noticed the shifting hues of a ray of sun, who’s breath caught at the sight of tiny specks of dust dancing in the light, who looked out at a sea of people and saw individual characters each playing out their own narrative. I’d spoken to them on the phone, felt the depth of their enjoyment for life in the resonance of their voice and the heights of their experiences in their enthusiasm for sharing them with me.

They were the writers we worked with at the visitor magazine, people who for some reason beyond reason were born falling in love with the world. They traveled, adventured, delighted in sharing what they experienced and always held space for an untainted curiosity, a willingness to bracket what they thought they knew so they could see something unexpected.

They filled the world with something it didn’t know it needed.

And on the bench that day, I realized that I felt more kinship with them than those who lived in a world filled with handbags.

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What’s the book about?

Read more here.

Oct 6, 2015 · Comment

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