Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Something New


"I liked going to work, liked the soothing and satisfactory rhythm of getting out a magazine, liked the orderly progression of four-color closings and two-color closings and black-and-white closings and then The Product, no abstraction but something which looked effortlessly glossy and could be picked up on a newsstand and weighted in the hand...That pleased me obscurely, and so did walking uptown in the mauve eight o’clocks of early summer evenings and looking at things, Lowestoft tureens in Fifty-Seventh Street windows, people in evening clothes trying to get taxis, the trees just coming into full leaf, the lambent air, all the sweet promises of money and summer.
Some years passed, but I still did not lose that sense of wonder about New York."
-"Goodbye to All That," Joan Didion

Some mornings (as I leave my Lower East Side walk-up, ride the F train uptown, slide through the Condé Nast glass doors in my strappy heels and run around the office, glossy layouts in hand), I feel I’ve come a long way from the 4th grade girl who decided she was going to work in magazines one day—the nine-year-old who christened herself editor-in-chief of “The Williams Weekly,” producing poorly-designed pages of family news on an old PC computer. (The magazine did, for those curious, fold after roughly one year. My first lesson in magazines: running a title sans ads, while charging a mere 50 cents per issue, is quite a tricky endeavor. And so is running a magazine with a 4th grader as editor-in-chief).

And yet, even with the progress I may think I have made in my years since then, I am quite happy that—despite completing my fourth magazine internship this summer, despite approaching my fourth year living in New York—I still have not lost that sense of almost childish wonder about the City, that wonder about magazines, of journalism, of all that glossy physicality of which Didion so perfectly writes.

New York during the summer is an excitingly new city and quite different than the New York I have come to know during the school year; an ASME internship is unlike any other internship I have ever completed—lunches with fellow interns at The New Yorker (hearing the editorial director discuss the background story to a feature that had particularly struck me 6 months back), attending Brides editorial meetings where I quickly try to soak up the industry’s vernacular ("TK" and "gutter" and “in first”) and anecdote-filled speeches from editor-in-chiefs who had previously existed to me only as abstractions on a masthead.
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There is, I have learned since being at Brides, a particular wedding tradition calling for the incorporation of four categories into the bridal outfit: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. (In truth, the original poem also calls for “a sixpence in her shoe,” but it seems most brides conveniently forget that slightly more uncomfortable requirement, and so I will take the liberty of ignoring it as well.)

I like to think that my internship at Brides incorporates those same symbolic elements—my old love of magazines and interning, my new experience of a New York summer, of being Brides’ first ASME intern, and of course, all the borrowed knowledge I’ve complied from my previous internships and time in New York, brought to my ASME internship this summer. [Alright, I’ll admit I’m coming up quite empty on that “something blue” category—I’ll just have to leave that one TK for now...]
In short, every single day as an ASME intern, I discover something new.
And that is, after all, the joy of magazines. But also, as I have learned, the joy of New York.

Anna Williams
Editorial Intern | Brides
New York University
ASME 2012



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