Well guys, I’ve officially been in the UK for a month. I realize that I’ve been terrible at the whole life updates thing, and I apologize for that. I promise to try to be better. Since you’re long overdue, this one is going to be niiiiice and comprehensive, so take a seat, put up your feet, and settle in. Here goes.
Work: in which I get a lot of books.
Yeah, you read that right. Work.
“But Sam,” you say, “aren’t you in England for school?”
Yes, dear friend, I am. What an excellent question. But what I didn’t tell most people about is the incredible opportunity I received to complete a one-month work experience (mini-internship) at HarperCollins Children’s in the publicity department! I didn’t talk about it a lot because A) I was convinced it would somehow fall through, and B) it was offered to me so last-minute.
Anyway, I’ve been there for three weeks now, and I have one week left. Guys, this place is incredible. The people are so nice, the environment is exciting and positive, and the CEO knows my name. Okay, so that last one is not necessarily a normal thing, but it did happen because of an awkward elevator incident in which I asked him which department he worked in, but that’s another story for another day.
My job is a lot of grunt work (I do a LOT of mailing and pulling books), but I’ve also gotten to work on some really cool projects, like develop the aesthetic feel for a top-secret event with an author, go have lunch with one of my favourite children’s authors in order to get him to sign something for editorial, and help create a catalogue of next autumn’s titles for independent booksellers. I also get to take home a lot of proofs and samples when they’re left over.
I’ve also learned a lot. For example, did you know that Veronica Roth (author of the Divergent series) is only 27? And she’s not even our youngest author; not by a long shot. Also, Judith Kerr lives really, really close to me. I know this because I send author fan mail to their houses each week. I’ve also learned, as a result of that author mail, that a children’s author’s favourite thing in the world is probably to get a fan letter from a child. It is at least for the ones at HarperCollins.
But, most importantly, I’ve learned that, if I do pursue a career in publishing, publicity is likely where I want to be, and I would really love to work in children’s literature.
I’m really bummed to be leaving HarperCollins, and I don’t know what my next step is. My visa restrictions are limiting, so despite the fact that I have several applications lined up to send out on Monday, I’m not getting my hopes up. But I couldn’t have imagined a better way to kick off my time here. I’ve learned and experienced so much, and I’ve done it alongside some of the coolest people I’ve ever worked with.
Class: in which I like to show off.
My classes are super dreamy, guys. I mean, sometimes I just sit there and think, “how did I get to be so lucky?” I take pages of notes every single class. My writing has already improved, and I’m having so much fun with it.
As far as writing is concerned, I’m in some incredible company. Especially in my fiction class, my peers are just really, really talented, and I just feel lucky to be in a group with them. But when it comes to discussing things like the ethics of children’s literature or the effectiveness of 8-point story arc, I do tend to show off a little bit. I’ve never had a problem expressing my opinions (thanks, mom), and discussions are the perfect place for that showboating tendency to have a productive effect. Yesterday, I even contributed to a discussion about a book I had admitted to not reading (because I was presenting that week and was exempt from the additional reading). And that presentation? NAILED IT. Anyway. I already show off enough in class; I don’t need to show off to you, too.
We’re already talking about what our submissions for our term finals are going to be, and I’m like, “WOAH woah woah, slow your roll. I just got here.” Things are moving really quickly, despite the fact that it feels like I’ve been here forever. Which means I get to see all of your beautiful faces sooner at Christmas, but it also means that time is slipping away, and this is one experience I want to drink up as much of as possible.
Life: oh wait I don’t have one of these.
Okay, yes, I do have a life, though it is minimal. Weekdays are just work and class. But I have three (that’s right, three!) friends, and my flatmates are quite fun, too. My friend Miriam is the one in all of my pictures. She is from Lebanon and is here studying exercise physiology. Together we found a church (where I start working in the Sunday School this week), and we do a LOT of brunching, as one does when twentysomething and in a metropolitan area.
My friends Lloyd and Glenn are in my classes, and Lloyd is actually about to move into my building. They’re my drinking buddies, which is, I’m learning, an essential part of English culture. Not that I’m mad about that at all. I’ll have a gin and tonic, pleaseandthankyou.
I do a lot of exploring on my own. Last weekend I went to the Southbank Book Market, and the weekend before I explored more of Richmond Park (Miriam and I had been there the weekend before). This weekend I will be doing nothing but laundry and errands, but that’s alright. I need the rest.
As for travel, I’ll be going to Wales as soon as my internship is up to hike part of the Wales Coastal Path. If you have any recommendations within Cardiff, I’d love to hear them! I’ll be there for a night.
And that’s it, ladies and gentlemen! It’s a simple life, but I’m obsessed with every second of it. Thank you all for supporting me in this adventure, and especially to those of you that have kept up with me. I know I’m not always the best at it. I love you all!