I realize that I’ve been itching to write a real post for awhile and so I’m going to hunker down and actually give an update. None of this stuffed animal crap.
So this is my first real week of being a Working Adult. Well. Minus the place of my own. But practically there. Close enough. Honestly, I think I can do this! I was worried about being bored and over-worked during the week, watching the hours go by so so slowly until I want to kill myself to escape office hell. But it’s really not as bad as all that. I actually like my jobs. Both of them!
Monday, Wednesday and Friday I work at a publicity agency in Palo Alto. Can you think of a day job more fitting for entertainment-savvy me? I am paid extremely well, I get to work next to my good friend B from high school (who got me the job, God bless her) and I get free tickets to all the shows that we publicize. Which is a lot. My days consist of making news clips (cutting and pasting, the old fashioned way!) and brain storming silly jokes for radio spots. For example. There’s a show called One-Man-Star-Wars that’s opening this week. It’s exactly what it sounds like. One guy. Doing the entire trilogy. With sound effects. I hear it’s hilarious, actually, although it conjures images of Spaceballs. . . Anyway, B was writing a radio spot for the show. Here are some of the cheesy lines we came up with:
The force is strong with this one
Like this show, you will
Blasting off to a stage near you
And my personal favorite (that I came up with, of course):
See this show and your journey toward the funny side will be complete.
I fucking love this job. Knowing fully that some poor bastard radio guy will be the one who actually has to speak these stupid phrases aloud, we cackled over the absurd possibilities for at least an hour. For which I was paid $15. Mwahaha! I love it. I love it! I cut and paste newspaper clippings and get to make Star Wars jokes three days a week. Disney On Ice is our next project. Oh. Let the games begin.
And the internship! The beloved internship! Let me take you through a day. It’s either Tuesday or Thursday.
6AM: My radio alarm goes off, set to the classical station. (It’s actually 5:50am because I set my clock fast so I can live under the illusion that I’ve slept later).
6:15AM: I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself and gotten out of bed, face puffy with pout and sleep.
6:50AM: Having force-fed myself cereal or toast, gotten dressed, packed a lunch and secured my various effects, I leave the house, starting in shock at my car speakers as they blast to life.
7:15AM: Arrive at the Caltrain Station in Redwood City. Validate my train pass, buy a parking space (the most contentious of actions).
7:30AM: Board the Baby Bullet to San Francisco. Usually sleep or read on the half hour train journey.
8:06AM: Arrive in San Francisco (AMAZING) and walk ten minutes to my office where I use my fucking AWESOME keycard like a real Career Lady with Important Building-Access Pass. Surf internet until it’s time for work.
8:30AM-1PM: File contracts and catalogs from other publishers and shelve books. Yes. I still shelve books. And yes. My muscle memory of how to push books aside on a shelf with the book I’m holding is still intact. It sounds stupid, but it’s an actual specific arm movement. For serious. I write the “kind decline” letters, which basically means that the submission was solicited, but not up to snuff. So we’re nicer to them since they made it this far. I like personalizing them, mostly because it means that I get to read the manuscript and I like seeing what other people are writing, even if it’s awful.
The Chronicle Books building is REALLY cool. If you were to imagine what a Cool Publishing House looks like (I’m reading a lot of Terry Pratchett who is into gratuitous capitalization of nouns. . . so bear with me) then Chronicle Books is it. It’s all pale grays and blues and glass. Clean, crisp, efficient. Quiet, but clever. Everyone has a witticism to share. The suggestion boards are filled with glib, though good-natured, comments. Giggles and inside jokes run rampant about the office. Everyone smiles at you because you’re assumed to be one of them: a book person. The first floor has the mail room and the cookbook section. Every wall is covered in beautiful, large pictures of culinary masterpieces. It seems to always smell like really good food there, but it might be my imagination. I am on the second floor, the children’s division (and also HR, for whatever reason). Almost all entirely young women and gay men. Isn’t that interesting? I dunno. . . I think it’s interesting. The staff has INCREDIBLY good taste in children’s books! I know this seems obvious, but it’s so nice to have such suspicions reaffirmed. Third floor is graphic design (which I’m coming to realize is considered the most respected and innovative in the publishing world. Cool, huh?) and the fourth floor is mainly conference rooms where Important People talk.
There are three book shelving areas. There’s the area where we shelve Chronicle books that we have too many of, we have a library with every book Chronicle has ever published and then, oh, my dearest, dearest readers, THEN there is the Competitor’s Library. Children’s Publishers do this marvelous thing where they pass around their catalogs to everyone, we pick out books we want to read and then THEY SEND THEM TO US. FOR FREE. For research. Clearly. Of course. For free!!! Any book that’s coming out, we get first dibs. And when we’re done, they go in the Competitor’s Library (of which I am in charge. . . eeee!) Can you see me drooling from here? Once I feel more comfortable with my role in the office, I will DEFINITELY start taking advantage of that.
I realize I totally got off track.
2-5PM: Finish decline letters and begin on. . . SLUSH!! Slush is the name for any and all unsolicited submissions. My job is to “weed out the crazies” as my mentor likes to say. I was specifically told not to blog about any of them, unfortunately. Honestly, most of them are really boring rewrites of stories that we’ve alllll heard before (seriously, how many lost kittens/puppies/bunnies can there BE?). Ones I like, I put in another slush bin for other readers to sort through. Those I don’t like or are too ridiculous to waste anyone’s time with, I put in the recycle bin. I read manuscript pitches for novels (Chronicle just opened up submissions to YA and teen, whoohoo!) and ask for the fuller manuscript if I like the idea. So basically I spend most of my day reading children’s stories. And I’m paid to do this. And the staff is amazing. And I get to use a train and walk and act like I’m a working part of this pulsing, beautiful city that is San Francisco. I love it.
And then, when it’s all over, I retreat to my queendom in the mountains and marvel at how tomorrow is Wednesday and the week is half over already. Three more days until I see my sweetheart. Three more days until I can go out and play with my friends. And it all doesn’t seem so bad.