Writing Residency Spoof

Attention: The Staff Break Room Is Now Hosting a Writing Residency

It is with great enthusiasm that we are now accepting applications for our coveted Summer Residency Program in the ​​Staff Break Room, sometimes known as the Employee Center for On-the-Clock Art-Making. This residency is suitable for an early-career writer who’s just kind of over it and wants to finally finish something.

For more than a century, the Staff Break Room has been an international leader in providing the space for writers as varied as Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Franz Kafka to cultivate their careers, and we are looking forward to ushering in the next generation of artists interested in confinement, atomization, and the ravages of modernity on the human mind and body.

The residency’s grounds are well maintained and suited to this kind of deep creative work, with amenities including the following:

  • Four hundred and eighteen square feet in which to pace back and forth
  • A view of the parking lot
  • Fluorescent lighting that buzzes more loudly whenever you look at it
  • A vending machine that no longer carries your favorite snack
  • A side door that leads to an “exercise room” you’ve never seen anyone go into or come out of

Our unique model doesn’t provide tranquility or solitude so much as it forces creative output through sheer existential terror. We can’t count how many times our fellows have said that they benefitted from staring down the barrel of their scrupulously barren lives and there finding only darkness and the darkness’s shadow.

While other residencies emphasize expansiveness and the freedom that comes from minimal obligations, our fellows have found that their best work is often produced while huddled in a humid corner, a half-eaten sleeve of Fig Newtons beside them, posting a random sitcom gif to a Slack conversation every once in a while to make it seem like they’re paying attention to their team’s channel.

Whether you want them to or not, your work colleagues will serve as important mentors throughout your residency. So feel free to engage with Martin from H.R. when he plops down next to you and says, “Figgie New-news, God’s snack of choice.” Don’t be afraid of asking Annalise, who has worked here for thirty years but no one knows what she does, how her weekend was. She’ll smile and say, “Oh, fine,” with no further comment, and you’ll have absolutely no idea what she’s thinking. Many fellows say that their creative work wouldn’t have been possible without these sorts of baffling interactions.

To apply, attach a writing sample and a statement of how you intend to use your time here. Please keep these brief. “God help me finish this novel, because I’m not sure what will happen to me if I don’t” is all that’s expected in most instances. If you are a finalist, we may ask for two recommendations. Please insure that the contacts you provide are for close friends or family members who can testify to the fact that you are in deep trouble emotionally and are willing to try anything.

In your application, please let us know if you will need any additional materials, such as noise-cancelling headphones, extra Twix, or a dog-eared paperback titled “The Wisdom to Lead: How the Best Leaders Lead with Wisdom in Unwise Times” to place next to your laptop so that it looks like you’re doing something work-adjacent.

Thank you for your interest in this strategic residency. We’re sorry that you weren’t accepted to the actual residencies you applied to, but we look forward to hearing from you, and can’t wait to see what kind of strange work comes out of this. ♦