Writer in Training Wendy Pratt After the Conservative advertising campaign showing a ballerina and the slogan: Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. (She just doesn’t know it yet.) Rethink, reskill, reboot. First I trained as a kitchen assistant. I washed pots until they shone like the sun on a Hebridean loch. Then I trained as a secretary. I carried the words of others on telephone lines, flattened by fax machines, until they spilled through my hands like spilt tea. Next I trained as a shop assistant, a shop manager, gathering the words of customers and staff in a bag at my waist, picking the gilled heads of conversations like so many mushrooms. Then I trained as a factory worker, a cake decorator, a meringue aficionado, and that job made me fat from gorging on the lost stories of others. Then I fell into my training as a silk screen printer. I printed words onto binders, I sheltered in the dark and exposed words to a light so bright I couldn’t bear to look at it. After that I trained as a microbiologist, I took those long Latin names and swallowed them into myself. Then I pulled those same words out of my stomach on a chain the size and shape of a blackbird’s song, I pulled them like fish from a lake, pulled those words up, like bones from a grave, and settled myself to my desk, my notebook, my pen.