A literary semester

It’s my last semester at Fairfield, so I thought I should take all the classes that I’ve been wanting to take. Why not?

Advanced Portfolio Workshop

Led by former Crazyhorse editor, Carol Ann Davis, this class is a capstone course for creative writing majors. By the end of this course we are supposed to have a publishable creative project. I’m choosing to compose a collection of short stories, all dealing with family dynamics. I supposedly volunteered to have my work examined in the first workshop. Don’t ask me how that happened; it’s all a blur. I plan to submit a very dark piece about a man who fights but eventually succumbs to his demons. Vague? Good! I can’t reveal all the good stuff here. Based on my impressions, I anticipate that this class will be beneficial to my development as a writer. Everyone seems interested in their craft, and I look forward to our sessions.

Teaching and Learning Grammar

Ah, grammar. There are so many bad, horrific, terrifying, embarrassing (OK, I’ll stop) memories of my childhood encounters with grammar. I remember getting back essays with red pen marks all over the pages. I vaguely remember being enrolled in an ESL class, because my English was so horrible. I apparently couldn’t speak English because my parents only spoke to me in Vietnamese at home. I don’t recall much of that ESL class (I did learn Spanish?). Anyways, grammar is my weak point. Yet, in my future line of work, I need to know grammar, so I thought I should finally have a whole course dedicated to grammar. So far, it is really interesting. My professor wants to teach students not only the basics to grammar, but also the history of it.

Issues in Professional Writing: Multimedia Writing

I will have a lot of trouble concentrating in this class. Why? Dogs. That’s why – my professor has DOGS. They’re Huskies, and they are so well-behaved and adorable. But, the whole class seems interesting. I’ve always wanted to build my own website, and that’s apparently one of our larger projects. I think that if I want to go into journalism (right after graduation, down the line, etc.) I would need to know basic web design skills. I like that we’re using blogs, Twitter, and computers to learn. We’re actually applying what we learn in class and what we read from our books. I always enjoy courses with hands-on tasks. As with my other classes, I can’t wait to get started.

Introduction to Poetry

Well. It’s poetry, so I am terrified. But hopefully I’ll survive?

Honors Thesis/Independent Writing Project: Novel Writing

I AM WRITING A NOVEL. That’s all I can say, because, apparently, it’s bad to talk about your writing. It’s the same novel I’ve been working on for over a year, and I am hoping to make serious progress with the help of Dr. Michael White, who is the MFA director at Fairfield.

Internship: Folio Literary Management

Folio Literary Management is a literary agency in Manhattan, so I commute Wednesdays and Fridays to work in the office. I’m an editorial intern so I read, read, read, take out the trash, read, refill the water cooler, read, read and, yes, read. I love it so far.

Work: The Mirror

What can I say? Working at The Mirror has become second-nature to me. It’s a part of my life, and I wouldn’t want to change anything. Of course I am nervous about this semester and the next, when the new staff will have to take over. I’m extremely overprotective of my baby; I think I’ve taken good care of it, so I don’t want things to change. I’m also trying to convince people that working at The Mirror is a rewarding experience. It doesn’t have to be a chore, I say.

We have a lot of competitions that are open to submissions. The first deadline is Jan. 24 for the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards. I hope we win.

Wagner

Don’t ask me why the editor-in-brief, Leigh Tauss, had named it “Wagner.” I guess it’s random – just like the creation of this journal. Leigh has a vision for it – she’s still figuring it out – but I’m glad to be a part of it as the Spelling Witch! Boom. Greatest title ever. If you want to submit, please do.

Oh, summer internships

Image courtesy of Denise Krebs, creativecommons.org

Image courtesy of Denise Krebs, creativecommons.org

Just two months ago, I was stressed because I hadn’t heard back from any internships. I applied to internships with an optimistic outlook. I had my resume ready and cover letters that were individualized and particular to each potential employer. My belief that I would get an internship was made stronger by my experience last summer.

Weeks passed by and I received no word. I resigned to thinking that I would spend my summer working on my novel. It was a nice idea and all, but I now know that if I’d done that, I wouldn’t make any money. And I’ll be honest: I am such a procrastinator when it comes to writing. I like to think that I write from inspiration, but sometimes inspiration doesn’t come so easily and I resort to checking Facebook, Twitter and the news too much.

Then I got a call from an amazing internship but withdrew because of time constraints. Now here I am. I’m interning at Record-Journal, which is a family-owned company that publishes multiple newspapers. I am expected to write periodically for The North Haven Citizen. I also work with writing the blotter and college news for the administrative desk. When I’m not working, I am also a remote intern for “Contagious Optimism” in the press/publicity department. “Contagious Optimism” is a book series of uplifting and self-help stories.

I’m so thankful for both opportunities, because I feel as if I am doing something of use during the summer. And each day, I’m inspired to write. I haven’t been doing a lot of blogging, so I figured I’d write about my summer.

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

Your last choice may be your best choice.

Well, I wouldn’t say these two internships were my last choices, because I didn’t even know they were choices until they were offered to me at the end of the semester. Initially I was so stuck on my dream to intern again in New York that I felt like I would be taking a step backwards if I didn’t not do so again.

Good thing I didn’t. I also like my internships because I can work near or from home. Record-Journal is located 15 minutes away from my house, and I only need a computer to work on “Contagious Optimism.”

Right now, I feel overwhelmed, but I know that I just need to get into the groove of things.

Don’t get carried away with thinking you’re better than anything. 

I often catch myself thinking too highly of myself. I get cocky sometimes. Confidence is a great thing to have, but too much is poisoning.

Applying what you’ve learned.

My two favorite classes out of my Fairfield career have to be Fiction I and Journalism, Editing and Design. The skills I’ve learned in those classes most definitely apply to everything that I do in the ‘real world.’ At my R-J internship, I want to make sure my editors like my writing, which is why I use my AP style and storytelling skills. When I look essays for CO, I think about the grammar and editing tips that Dr. Baden had taught me.

Have fun.

Being in the R-J environment has definitely helped my productivity. I love hearing people typing on their keyboards and answering their phones. Debbie likes to have the radio on and she plays the latest hits. Love it.

In all, I’m honestly enjoying myself.

And hey – I guess I’ll start looking for fall internships. I believe I am qualified for anything related to publishing or journalism. Get at me.