Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My internship, described in sonnets

So I trashed my original 900-word attempt at The Great American Blog Post. It was far too dramatic. Instead, I've composed several sonnets about my internship experience, as if that's any better.


I've been up to a lot at Scientific American. This has proven to be the greatest opportunity of my life, and I've learned more than I'd ever hoped. I also get to write a lot. Read my stuff here, here and here, or follow me on Twitter here.

I just had to celebrate with some poetry.


#1. The Commute

I wake every morn' with a dream in mind,
On the train, others too have hopes in eye.
We ride, waiting for the dreams we will find;
The subway carries us to where they lie.

Some step off too early, others too late.
Some never leave, gazing at subway maps
Standing clear of closing doors, they await.
The path to a dream is full of these traps.

But we've learned the dream differs in each one.
Some burn with visions of fame, glory, wealth.
The dream isn't always glitter and fun;
For many, the dream is food, shoes and health.

I feel all their struggle, though not a word said,
For this is my stop, chasing dreams instead.


#2. The Editorial Meeting

Sit at a table on Mount Olympus
Among Gods who you hope to join someday.
The subjects their discussions encompass
Thou must truly learn, if thou wish to stay.

Look sharp! Speak up! Say the masters of trade:
The best interns reach apotheosis.
Nerves, fear, and doubt. All so dissuade
The very skills that brought thee catharsis.

Thou shalt never blunder thy spoken word,
And so thou speaks, and they seem to listen.
Thou shalt be braver than thee can afford,
And for thou, a spot in their division.

Those who fear a stray fault shall not ascend,
The best mistake is the one thou amend.

#3. The First Published Story

For this challenge, you have been quite prepared,
Another story, another gauntlet.
In hard stories, you have been oft ensnared,
This is your own true creative outlet.

Research, interviews, through all with calm nerve
Sharp questions you ask, in notes you recall.
If only your mentors could watch, observe
Perhaps they'd be proud, perhaps they'd stand tall.

But then the time comes, black cursor on screen;
What if your words aren't what they desire?
Apprehension sets in, the page too clean.
The fear of failure sets your soul on fire.

Voice in your head says "Fear you must swallow,
Write true as you are; the rest will follow."

Okay, enough of that crap. Now, for the magnum opus.

#4. Two Buck Chuck

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Charles Shaw, sold for a price moderate.
Pinot, Shiraz, and a light Chardonnay
Kinds all at a price I can tolerate.

The tastes are the pride of Dionysus,
Sweet ambrosia just so aptly named,
Our meeting was only adventitious,
But our friendship so widely proclaimed!

Ne'er have I seen a wine quite so damn cheap,
'Tis the only affordable drink here.
The corks pile up, a most beautiful heap
Like a broke Bacchus, to wine I adhere.

I will never forget my true good luck,
On the day I discovered Two Buck Chuck.

By Bryan Bumgardner, Scientific American Magazine, West Virginia University
Edited by Katie Macdonald, Reader's Digest, Louisiana State University

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