Keeping the workplace interesting

The Inkling Charles Williams worked as an editor in a publishing house for most of his life. This could have been a rather dull job, but he was always spicing it up. In this account, he wrote a rather funny play for the office staff to perform. The “Olympics” from season two of The Office that we rented a few weeks ago comes to mind.

The Masque of the Manuscript, as it was named, delicately mocked the absurdities of the publishing business. It was a remarkable success. It created an extraordinary sense of delight in Amen House; for, by making the daily tasks of publishing into the stuff of poetry and ritual, Williams had transmuted a chore into something seemingly of wider significance. Nor did it end at the finish of the hour’s entertainment. In the months that followed, Williams continued to address his friends by their poetic names, so that they were caught up into a myth of his own devising. In the Library and on the staircase he would involve them in talk on a myriad of subjects, bringing out the best qualities in each of them. ‘He found the gold in all of us and made it shine,’ said one of them, Gerard Hopkins. ‘By sheer force of love and enthusiasm he created about him an atmosphere that must be unique in the history of business houses.

-Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, p.87