Editor’s Note: We’re so happy to welcome a new writer Helen Berger to the Dear Handmade Life team for her third post! We loved her first few posts: our Gift Guide for Creative Business Owners and our Gift Guide for Artisan Food and Drink Lovers. You can read more about Helen at the end of this post.
“Helen” my boss called from his office. Before I could open my mouth he grunted “fix me a bagel.” No ‘please’, no ‘thank you,’ no real effort to determine if I’d heard him. This was the norm. And this was hardly the worst of his offenses. My boss was the type of man who would ask an assistant to pick out the strawberries in his fruit salad rather than do it himself. He was the embodiment of a preening, self involved man-child; a condition all too prevalent among folks like him who work in the entertainment industry. On set he was universally loathed and because of it, I had the sympathy of the entire crew; from the gaffers to the teamsters and all the set decorators in between. There but for the grace of God go I, I could almost hear them whisper as I trudged past, weighed down by everything my boss refused to carry himself.
“Fix me a bagel.” The words hung in the air.
The bagel was my breaking point. My ego was kicking back hard, reminding me that I was too smart of this job, too well read, too well traveled. I wanted to erupt, volcano-like. Instead, I calmed myself and headed to the fully stocked production kitchen. I took a deep breath and made a choice.
And there my life changed.
I studied the bakers dozen, picking the best bagel of the bunch. I delicately placed it in the guillotine, careful not to lose too many sesame seeds, then sliced it perfectly in half. I hovered over the toaster, staring intently into the orange glow, only removing the bagel when it was lightly browned. I waited until it had cooled down enough to spread cream cheese, mindful that I didn’t want it to melt. I chose the freshest, ripest tomato and cut a few thick slices to rest delicately on the skillfully frosted bagel. I diced some red onion, tears welling in my eyes as I scattered a reasonable amount over the tomato. I singled out some capers and carefully placed them with love. It was a beautiful thing, that bagel.
When I returned to his office, my boss barely acknowledged me. He pointed to the spot on his desk where I was to put the plate down. He was busy, you see, and couldn’t muster a thank you. As I exited, a grin began to form on my face. It was dawning on me, I didn’t make that bagel for him. I made it for me.
That was the day I learned how to be a Maker with a capital M… and what it meant to bring nobility to even the smallest task. Whether I was making something for myself or for others, I started to practice nobility and it began to seep into the way I lived my life. It became who I was. It is who I am. I am not just the noble bagel maker but the noble maker of everything I create. And when I see other Makers, the kind with a capital M, the nobility in me recognizes and salutes the nobility in them.
My old boss made my life hell for six months, but with my attitude adjusted I found myself completing even the most menial of tasks with pride and pleasure. As the job wore on, my boss gave me more responsibilities. Sure there was still bagel making, but I also got to sit in on edit sessions where I learned more about film-making and story crafting than I’d ever known before. And it all paid off. The next season, I was asked back AND promoted. Every job I’ve gotten since, I can trace back to that that day and that beautiful, perfect bagel.
Our team at Dear Handmade Life has chosen some amazing gifts for the proverbial noble (bagel or any other kind of) makers in your life – the folks who Make with a capital M. I got so excited about the Sketchbook Adventures Online Worskshop, I’ve gifted it to myself! Take a look at this perfectly curated gift giving guide for all the Makers and Crafters in your life.
1. Sketchbook Adventures Online Workshop by Dear Handmade Life
2. Fix & Mend Sewing Machine Poster by Victory Gardens of Tomorrow
3. Design Advice Tea Towel by The Heated
4. Indigo Blue Textile Dye Kit by Yellow Owl Workshop
5. Carve-A-Stamp-Kit by Yellow Owl Workshop
6. Creative Block Book by Danielle Krysa
7. Crafty Quote Pencils by Sweet Perversion
8. DIY Smooth & Silky Lip Balm Kit by Handcrafted Honey Bee
9. The Printmaking Bible Book by Ann d’Arcy Hughes and Hebe Vernon-Morris
10. Sunfold Printing Kit by Lumi
11. Natural Deodorant Kit by Handcrafted Honey Bee
12. Handmade Hellos Fresh Card Projects Book by Eunice Moyle & Sabrina Moyle
13. Handmade Living Book by Lotta Jansdotter
14. All in One Macrame Plant Hanger Kit by Hello Chiqui
15. Handmade Pencil Bag by Lady Alamo
16. Sewist Wallet on Modcloth
Helen Berger is a writer, script coordinator and producer who has worked on several television shows and movies including 30 Rock, Royal Pains and The Blacklist. She’s half Brazillian and half Swiss which means she tans well and makes an excellent fondue. She loves photography – check out her pictures here: https://hlb323.tumblr.com/ and follow her on twitter: @hlb323