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Saturday, February 2, 2019

All Good Things

I'm taking a break from everything by watching a psychological thriller called All Good Things with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. I do this a lot while working on my thesis to help ground me in my work. The movie is based on the real-life disappearance of Kathleen Durst, wife of New York real estate heir Robert Durst. It's live action creative nonfiction in a way and makes me think about my tone and my approach as I'm writing. I also watch a lot of documentaries. A favorite is Cropsey, a doc about an urban legend that grew from the foundations of the abandoned Willowbrook State School in Staten Island. Rewatching Cropsey actually helped me re-form the beginning of my thesis.

I thought that writing my thesis while doing an internship (plus working and running my own press) was a recipe for stress and possible disaster. Funny enough, I've never felt more organized and settled. I fell into a groove with my internship that was like slipping on a favorite sweater. Andrew welcomed me onto the team as if I had always been there, had always been a part of the team. He assumed I knew what I was doing and treated me as such. So far I think I've done well proving that his confidence in me was just.

It didn't feel like a beginning of any kind, more like a continuation, even though this year has been a new beginning in many ways. I started my married life, transferred to a new school, started work on two new books.

But it was also a continuation of things. Continuing on the path to my MFA, continuing to work on the house.

Then there were the restarts. Picking up my art again. Then striking a deal with a publisher to restart the first book I ever wrote ten years ago, prepping it for a relaunch.

So here I am, learning the ins and outs of SFWP which is the press I would most like Dark Ink to look like, and I'm having a blast. I've had the opportunity to learn more about marketing, evaluating full-length pieces for a contest, and pulling marketing material from the short pieces that will make up the current issue of the Quarterly. I've gotten to see how a strong, effective team of readers and writers works together to make the press run smoothly.

I've also gotten to watch, first-hand, Andrew's passion for the books that he publishes and the authors he works with. Even though his own work is part of SFWP's catalog, he's more concerned about getting his authors as much exposure as possible and that their work is handled with the utmost care and enthusiasm.

This week he sent me a small collection of works that I had requested from him so that I could start taking some staged photos of the books like the large publishing houses do. My favorite bookstagram feed is Putnam books. Every image is carefully taken and curated to highlight their publications in a smart, and marketable way. They create images that people want to share and that's what is most important in the world of social media marketing. You can't just catch someone's eye-- you have to make them want to tell the rest of the world about what they've seen.

Stupid me, I went and looked at their feed and just got distracted for a good ten minutes. I also may or may not have entered a contest for a free copy of The Editor by Steven Rowley.

What was I talking about again? Oh yes. Beginnings.
I'm beginning to appreciate even more that books, reading, writing, and teaching all of the above were all the right choices.

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