Summer: Sun, Fun, and Spreadsheets

The summer is already half over, and I just realized today that I have yet to write about my internship at Arte Público Press, even though it’s been a big part of this last month and a half. Blogging about it never crossed my mind, and maybe that’s because it’s just not very exciting. Not necessarily something that people online—usually seeking something more exciting than what goes on in their own lives—would want to read about, and I know that because every now and then at work I’ll take a few minutes’ break and check my Facebook or Instagram accounts, because I might find what other people post more interesting than the project or spreadsheet I’m currently working on.

A lot of spreadsheets, in fact. Several of these past weeks have been wrapped up in Excel spreadsheets of “metadata,” which is information about our books, that will be sent to wholesalers. I’d never even heard the word “metadata” before I started here, and doesn’t it sound intimidating, even just a little? It did to me.

If you aren’t able to tell by merely the fact that I’m blogging, I love to write. And my close friends might tell you that I’m good at editing—in the past, I’ve been their go-to person to edit papers and pieces of writing. So doesn’t it seem natural that I’d have liked an internship in the editorial department of a publishing company?

“So you know, interns work in our marketing department; our editorial department does not hire interns.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear from Marina Tristán when I emailed her about the possibility of an internship, but there it was, and, well, what could I say? It’s certainly understandable—I don’t think most publishing companies hire editorial interns, so why would APP be different? What would an editorial intern even do, really, yes, it makes much more sense to have a marketing intern.

A couple of people have already asked me if maybe this is something I’d like to do, as a job or maybe even a career. You know, I’m not sure. I wrote in my internship essay today that I don’t mind the spreadsheets, and so in that sense, I think I’m well suited for office work. So, I don’t think I’d mind it. I think I’d like it—being around books all the time, and maybe having time to work on my own writing. But even if that’s not something I end up doing in the future, I can definitely enjoy my internship now.

I’ve already learned a lot. Because it is a business, after all, I knew already that a lot has to go into the success of a publishing company, but I never knew details. Like I said, I didn’t know about metadata. I’ve never worked on a real website before this one before, so I couldn’t have any idea how complicated that really can be, and while it’s not difficult to do, it is fairly complicated overall. Emails, press releases, mail-outs. ISBN numbers, procedures, hundreds and hundreds of folders of files. A lot to learn, a lot to do, and a lot of which I actually like.

It definitely helps that my coworkers are awesome. Marina is the Assistant Director and my boss, and she is busy, and direct. The kind of person who gets things done while being open to questions, and who always makes me feel like my time is important. She often thanks me for my help around the office this summer, and seems just as concerned with whether I’ll meet my required amount of hours for course credit as she is with the projects that she needs me to do—and I so appreciate this acknowledgement. I’ve also worked closely with Eloísa, Events and Publicity Coordinator, and Verónica, Marketing Assistant, and I think they’re both wonderful. In fact, this morning, I had a nice chat with Eloísa before getting busy on a new spreadsheet, and, as Marina is out of the office today and tomorrow, it was Verónica I turned to for help with this project, and she was immensely helpful, even on day 1. We’re a team at Arte Público, and it feels that way, every day.

I wonder if Alex feels the same way. He’s the other intern—a high school “rising senior,” as Marina introduced him, and he seems like a nice kid. I think he wants to write, like I do, but maybe screenplays. Maybe he’ll make it.

I have less than a month left, and then it will very quickly be back to school. I’m not very much looking forward to that. More days per week. Homework. Exams. You know, I honestly think I’d rather stay at APP, and I honestly know I’ll miss it, and everybody there, when it does come to an end, as all good things must.

Not to be melancholy, but isn’t that the cliché?