Rachel's Write of Way

Archive for November 2009

Watch out NYC…I’m ba-aack! Yes it’s true. I’ve returned to the grand land of New York City after spending a fabulous week at home for Thanksgiving that flew by…it was like I got home, blinked and was back here…but it’s okay, I’ll be back again in just 2 1/2 weeks for Christmas. It was nice to be home, but it’s also nice to be back and have some breathing room! There were 10 people staying at my house over the holiday, and on Thanksgiving there were 17. That’s actually a few less than usual, as some relatives couldn’t make it this year. I had a great time though, despite having zero privacy and sharing a twin bed with my sister. (Being away for 3 months was not an automatic entitlement to my own bed, unfortunately.)

So what did we do? Honestly, I can’t remember much besides stuffing my face with lots and lots of food. The usual I guess…watched the Macy’s parade (I saw it in a whole new light since I pass by there twice a week!), enjoyed the traditional Burkot family viewing of A Christmas Story, played poker, built our annual pyramid of cousins (see picture), visited Kraynaks (a seasonal store with candy, trinkets and a holiday display), and went Black Friday shopping at 4 a.m. (Prized find of 2009? Belgian waffle maker for TEN DOLLARS! The really cool kind with a rotating handle!) I’m really not sure why my family has these traditions. I mean, they’re all Thanksgiving-ish or festive I guess (except for sitting around the kitchen table with cards on our foreheads during Indian Poker), but we do them just because we always have. Is that stupid? I was kind of wondering when, if ever, we’re going to switch up our routine. It’s funny because, when I first moved here and before I knew I was going to have a week off at Thanksgiving, I didn’t know if I’d make it home for the holiday. I couldn’t imagine missing out on everything, but my family’s so rigid in our routines that I really could have experienced it just by living off the memories from previous years.

So when do we switch up traditions? When do new ones begin? I think, more than ever this year, I wanted to relive everything the same as always because I’m in denial that I’m growing up. I’m officially living on my own in a big city with at least the beginnings of a career in the works. The youngest of the cousins is 17…none of us are kids anymore. I’m watching friends plan weddings as other friends start real, big-people jobs. My grandparents are sliding down a steep health decline and probably don’t have too many Thanksgivings left. My baby sister just turned 18. Honestly, where has the time gone? And while I definitely tried extra-hard to enjoy this Thanksgiving and all of our traditions, part of me wondered if I was just going through motions, preserving old fun in new times. So I couldn’t help but think, What would happen if we start new traditions? It’s inevitable that the longer we cling on to things of the past just because, the more they feel like obligations rather than fun activities.

Anyway. That’s my post-Thanksgiving schpiel. While it’s sad to reflect back on more carefree times, growing up isn’t all bad. For instance, tonight I decided I wanted chicken cordon bleu for dinner, so I went to the store, bought the ingredients and cooked it! Nothing is stopping me from making whatever I want, whenever I want it (with the possible exception of exorbitant NY grocery prices). I could eat popcorn or ice-cream for dinner if I wanted to, and my waistline would be the only thing telling me off (and it’s loud – I’ve heard it). I also have the freedom to roam about this giant city at will (or accidentally go to the Bronx, as I did earlier today while trying to get back to my apartment from downtown…I leave for a week and forget how a subway works.)

Independence. It’s kind of grand. And I think I took it for granted until I spent a week in my house with 10 people. But don’t get me wrong. I loved every second of it, and I’m already counting down until next year!

In case you’re in any doubt as to the state of my mood from the title of this post…I’m happy tonight! I spent the weekend applying for lots of publishing jobs, and I actually heard back from one of them today! A hiring manager at McGraw-Hill said she is interested in further discussing the position with me….eeeeee!!!! The position is editorial coordinator, and though it’s in educational publishing (textbooks) and I want to be in trade publishing (fun books), I would totally take it as a starting point. So I probably should have done the mature thing and not said anything until I at least chat with this lady over the phone and get a better idea of how serious a contender I am for the position (she just asked me via email times I’m available for a phone conversation; nothing’s set in stone yet) but it’s me, and anyone who knows me knows that I can’t keep my emotions to myself, so of course I told my dad, my roommate, a few friends and now the entire online universe…and it’ll probably make its way into my facebook status soon.

I know, I know. I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m setting myself up for disappointment. And I know this is so far from anything solid that I’m not even letting myself hope it’ll turn into anything, but just the idea excites me. For once, someone noticed my resume after I spent hours trudging through companies’ online labyrinths of application processes, all to send my resume and cover letter into what feels like a place in cyberspace of black hole-esque proportions. Even if this leads to absolutely nothing, I am encouraged that my resume was noticed and was apparently impressive enough to warrant a phone interview. I hope this is a sign that I’m going to get more response from the publishing community now that I have an internship in the industry on my resume.

Oooh, something else cool, I got to run an errand for the internship today to Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. Another intern and I dropped off cupcakes because a few agents in our office signed a deal with them or something and wanted to send cupcakes. Hachette’s imprints are all in this HUGE, fancy, high-tech building. We had to get our pictures taken and IDs issued just to go up to drop off the cupcakes. They were having a holiday craft party, and it looked like fun! Little Brown apparently publishes a lot of famous authors such as James Patterson, and they also did the Twilight books! They had them all displayed on the wall, and I felt like I was in a Rock and Roll hall of fame for authors or something. It just reinforced how badly I want to work in this type of environment. Authors are my icons the way other people idolize celebrities or actors. I can’t get enough. I need to infiltrate the ranks of these publishing companies somehow so I will have a legitimate excuse to stalk work with authors.

Prayers about this phone interview please? Much appreciated, amigos 🙂

I know I’ve made myself scarce on this blog lately, and I wish I had a good excuse. This only makes it worse, but I’ve actually had MORE time on my hands recently because I’m no longer working at the restaurant…it’s a really long story, but basically they kept asking me for more and more hours and were not understanding of the fact that my internship is the most important thing in my life right now…it is, after all, why I moved here. As much as I enjoyed the job, I was just wearing myself out, and I know from past experience that when I do that, it never turns out well. Physically, mentally, I was going to reach a breaking point. Though I did enjoy waitressing, killing myself for that job wasn’t doing me any good because the internship needs to be my first priority.

Random HouseSince I’m going home next Saturday (SOOOO excited!!) for a week for Thanksgiving, it doesn’t make sense to start a new job now. So I decided I’m going to spend these next few weeks really focusing on applying for jobs, sending my resume out to publishing companies and doing some networking, if possible. I actually just made an appointment today for a meeting at Random House next Thursday with an editor! Yay! I was put in touch with her through a mutual friend, and she asked if I’d like to come in and see what she does. So I’m busting into the big companies now! Watch out, Random House 😛 I think this is a good strategy at the moment, meeting with people in publishing and asking questions about the industry so I can figure out exactly what part of publishing I’d like to work in. While it’s good to be flexible, especially since jobs are so few and far between right now, saying I’ll take anything in publishing makes me sound desperate and unfocused. And desperate = badddd.

I have a feeling all this free time is going to be good for me. Not only can I focus on my internship and my future career, I can finally explore New York City a bit. Up until now, all I knew of New York City was how to get to my internship and how to get to work. I can’t wait for all the holiday decorations to come up around the city and for Christmas music to start playing in coffee shops and bookstores! I’ve heard so much about how amazing this city is during the holidays, and I’m so excited to experience it for myself.

Speaking of amazing experiences, I went to my first book signing on Tuesday night after my internship! (That makes me sound like an author, haha…someday, someday.) Okay it wasn’t mine, but it was Suzanne Collins, who wrote The Hunger Games series that I raved about in my last post, and four other authors. I was astounded by how down-to-earth they all seemed. They each spoke about their latest book and took questions from the audience before signing the books. I loved listening to them discuss their writing process, how they come up with their ideas and character names, etc. They all sounded so intelligent. I bought my own copy of The Hunger Games so I could get it signed. I still can’t believe I actually met Suzanne Collins, who came up with the incredible series I’ve been enjoying. Being in the presence of someone famous or important is always such a surreal sensation. It makes you wish so desperately that talent was contagious, like the nasty sicknesses that have been going around here because Mother Nature can’t make up her freaking mind and insists on playing hot and cold. (It’s okay, you can groan. I know that was lame.)

So I have a lot to look forward to right now! Lots of potential and possibilities on my horizon, and I think I’m in the right city for that. And of course, I can’t WAIT to go home next weekend, since I’ve been away for 2 1/2 months. I miss my puppies! And mygreen bean casserole family and friends, of course. I think some holiday cheer will be a very good thing for me; after how hard I’d been working between the restaurant and my internship, it’ll be a  belated week of relaxation that I think I deserve. And the best part about holidays and relatives means a PLETHORA of writable material…if you doubt me, spend a Thanksgiving at my house. My family is nuts in the best possible way. They’d better give me looots of turkey and green bean casserole or they’ll find themselves in one of my novels…hehehe.



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