Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just a minute



New management at the library has decreed that we start having staff meetings once a month at 8.30am, to stop us looking gormless at the counter. I missed the last one. I forgot about it. I did write it on my calendar then forgot to look at my calendar, which is nothing unusual.

I was so thrilled by the small miracle of not only remembering, but turning up in time to make myself a cup of tea that when we all sat down and our lovely manager said, "Would someone mind taking the minutes?" I accidentally put my hand up. Several pages of A4 were instantly flung down the table.

Panic flared for a couple reasons. a) I've never taken minutes at a meeting before. Hell, I don't think I ever BEEN to a meeting before. b) With all the typing I do I've practically forgotten how to use a pen. What if I couldn't keep up?

"It's just making notes really," said the manager kindly, sensing my bewilderment, so I gamely gave it a go.

I had to resist the temptation to fiction it up ... The mood in the room was tense. Rachel flicked Kathy a dirty look, but nobody noticed except me and stick to Study Centre training will be available for all staff members.

Not exactly Hemingway but I quite enjoyed it once I got into my stride, though I did get carried away and wrote The End at ... well, the end. It even gave me the urge to start writing long-hand again.

It'll probably wear off quite soon.

26 comments:

David said...

Ha ha ha. I like the idea of 'jazzing up' the minutes and adding some poetic flourishes! I have to take them quite often at meetings at work and I think I'd enjoy it a lot more if I could put my own stamp on them. I think I might just try that next time.

I bet no one would notice. I suspect no one reads them anyway!

Lane said...

I think you did brilliantly, particularly as the meeting was at 8.30 am.

At the meetings I go to, I'm fascinated by the lady taking minutes in shorthand. All those squiggles. Plus the fact that's she's still squiggling when we're being asked if we would like ham or cheese sandwiches.

And I bet Rachael really did flick Kathy the look didn't she?:-)

jenny wilson said...

what a great post
I'd love to be a librarian

Colette McCormick said...

I love writing in long hand but my writing is much worse than it used to be.
Loved the post.

JJ Beattie said...

You'll need to be careful with all that enthusiasm. Once your colleagues cotton on to the fact that you quite enjoyed it AND you can add some atmosphere... you'll be doing it every month.

Debs said...

I'll have to remember this the next time I have to take the minutes in a meeting.

My writing is so dreadful now, as I type everything up now and even when I think I'm writing fairly neatly I look at it afterwards and can't believe how messy it is.

Queenie said...

That post left me laughing out loud, the scene you painted was so vivid and so recognisable.

Francine said...

Hi Karen,

Hee hee, brilliant scene setting!

No no, I could never be trusted with taking down minutes. Yee gods: a blank piece of paper!

I'd be guilty of sketching mini caricatures of the others' seated around the table.

best
F

Christine said...

Ha ha ha.

We used to have a lovely manager too who would rise at dawn on the morning of a meeting to bake cakes for us. The minutes were often chocolate smeared.

When it was my turn for minute-taking I enjoyed using euphemisms such as 'a lively discussion followed' or 'various options were considered' when they had all been rambling on and talking in circles.

LilyS said...

he he I do love reading your posts, v funny. I actually learnt short hand but never use it. I too have now forgotten how to write with a pen!

Joanne Fox said...

Rhyming minutes would also be fun!

brokenbiro said...

My dad actually did minutes of a meeting in rhyme once (and people wonder where I get it from).
I'm hopeless at taking them - i get too engrossed in the meeting and forget to write anything down, but actually you have all t he power if you think about it - you can make things happen that didn't (but you want to... with-in reason!) or leave things out that did (that you'd rather not be reported or actioned)...A bit like writitng generally, really! ;-)

FPDuck said...

At my lab's 'team briefings', The site manager spends a whole half hour telling us we're doing 'fine', and how spectacular the other sites look compared to us. We spend the half hour breaking furniture (three lab techs sat on the kitchen-like units, and they collapsed), and marvelling at how successful the meetings are at making us want to get back to work.

I've often had to resist the urge of spending a day in third-person film noir narration, but my sense of humour at work can be caustic, so I decide not to.

I like the Hemingway minutes idea though. So much more interesting should you have to go through the archives for whatever reason. And it seems so apt for a library.

Mike

Lorna F said...

I love the idea of 'fictioning it up'! Mind you, what else can you do to make life tolerable? :)

Olivia Ryan said...

This did make me laugh, Karen! Good for you. I did used to write in long hand, years ago, and then type up the stories after completion ... but now, that just seems like a tortuous and time-wasting exercise! I love my computer! xx

Anna said...

I had this crazy urge late last year to write my next novel in longhand. It lasted all of 6 pages. :)))

Denise said...

I have a bit of a thing about writing with a pen. I have to force myself not to because it's so much slower than typing.

I avoid meetings at all costs, although typing minutes might help overcome my problem of falling asleep in them...

Fran said...

That was funny. I love the idea of writing the minutes as you suggest, all descriptive. They would be very amusing.

Suzanne Jones said...

Oooh, you should have fictioned it up. I'm going to try that if I ever have to take minutes (I'm normally asleep in meetings, so I've never been asked).

Empathise with everyone who's lost the ability to write longhand - my fingers are getting cramp at the thought.

XX

Glynis said...

It must have been a great way of character building!
I did laugh when you added, The End!

TOM FOOLERY said...

Loved your idea of fiction 'em up minute taking mode. " Once upon a time...." :) Tommox

KatW said...

I think that the library meeting records would have benefited immensely if you'd fictionised it. Maybe included a bit of romance? Or murder? Could you send it away as a short story??

I can just imagine your heart sinking when the pile of A4 came your way. But glad you enjoyed & didn't get writer's cramp.

Anyhow - I have a blog award over at mine for you.

Kat :-)

Lydia said...

Minutes? Aren't they measurements of time??? I must admit to looking hard at the ground any time they are mentioned at my work meetings. Until recently I always wrote first draft long hand and I still love pencils and pretty notebooks, but as Olivia says: it is sooo slow typing up. Still have to hand write down those flashes that come to me while I'm driving, cooking, dog-washing etc as my typing fingers still don't move as fast as my writing fingers! x

Amanda said...

Hee Hee... I know what you mean about wanting to fictionalise things - I'm always doing it!

Milla said...

very funny. Hand hurts writing a cheque (well, it would, ho) so the thought of MINUTES. Well done you.

Karen said...

Apparently we're going to be taking it in turns to take notes, so it won't be mine again for another 2 years!!