Who knew my months of working in the Amazon warehouse would yield so many words……

I have plunged into the seedy world of nonfiction. Deep lake. Dark waters. I’ve no idea which way the bubbles are going….BUT The Atlantic was kind enough to take a chance on me and publish a piece I wrote about my time trying to start a union drive in the Amazon warehouse. Click on the picture of the stack of Atlantic Monthlies below to go to the article directly.

I am not in this issue

We shall see where such things lead. I have long been simultaneously drawn to and terrified of long form nonfiction. And I have a lot of ideas, but I will spare you all. For now.

And….Portlanders. I am reading tonight at the Blue Monk. Click on the image for more details.

I'm actually reading at a bar called The Bue Monk and not on a piece of sheet music...

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4 thoughts on “Who knew my months of working in the Amazon warehouse would yield so many words……

  1. Great article. Very informative. I find it surprising that the situation is this shitty in the US. I know no one would tolerate these conditions in Scandinavia (still the companies are doing fine). Probably nowhere in the EU-area (not even the UK). Even if a lot of stuff might be fucked up in most places I think in most OECD societies attitudes towards workers are much more sane.

    What I find most confusing are the comments. Is this how normal Americans think? Maybe just believing that class systems exist is heretic in the US as Marx viewed the upper classes as the enemy of the masses or something. The commentators sound dogmatic to me at least.

    Someone says Amazon doesn’t come across badly in the article. (Bad enough for me to try to stay away from them from here one.) Someone calls unions anachronistic. How so? It is just a system of organizing people to give them collective power. The power clearly needs to be balanced if your article is accurate. I don’t see how such non-physical systems can be anachronistic. Not in the same sense as outdated computers. (The corporation isn’t exactly new either.) Some people discredit you as an union organizer. I’m sure the point wasn’t how good of an union organizer you were. The powerful and rich in the US are lucky to have the people they exploit protecting them.

    Sure unions can demand stupid things. Like in the anecdote that is mentioned in every basic economics textbook from the US: When the trains changed from running on coal to diesel the unions demanded that each train would still employ as many in the engine room. So they basically had to keep employing coal stokers which served no purpose. (Although this is truly a stupid demand it is probably just mentioned to discredit unions. At least this is basically all the books say about them. I heard most students read some basic economics in the US, not just the economics majors.)

    I laughed out load when you called the corporate new-speak Orwellian. I would quit a job if I would be subjected to this language.

    Sorry about the long comment. I just intended to say that the article was good but kept on typing.

  2. Hi Vanessa,
    Glad I found you via the internet rabbit hole. I think I may have started at the rejectionist’s blog.
    Congrats on getting published in French and your many other successes. I will for sure pass your blog and specifically your Atlantic article to my friend who was also a union organizer. She lives in Eugene now. She moved there recently site unseen. She loves it there.

  3. What a great essay. Damn! That was exciting to read. Almost as exciting as the first few pages of your novel. I just read them on the gluttonous site itself (Amazon). Then I called Tattered Cover here in Denver to find that indeed, they have ONE copy on the shelf, and that copy will be mine later this afternoon. I fell upon your name when I saw that people who bought my recent novel on Amazon were also buying yours. Zazen looked intriguing, so I clicked the “See inside this book” link. Usually I am disappointed when I “see inside this book.” But I was drawn in and I can’t wait to read rest. Gotta get to Tattered Cover now. Thanks again for this great essay. I’m thrilled to have found your writing on this fine morning in June.

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