First impressions

So, here I am, gaining ‘vital‘ work experience at the Swedenborg Society.  I’ve been here about a month.  Ebooks, blogging, proof-reading and copy-editing – it’s all go.  I came here with no knowledge of Swedenborg and only a few months experience of the publishing world, but slowly I’m beginning to understand more bits and pieces about both.  For example, yesterday I learned the word ‘psychogeography‘ while I was helping Stephen McNeilly upload our first ebook.  I’m still not entirely convinced this is a real word, but it is a fascinating idea!  It’s like a wider conception of pathetic fallacy.  I like it.  Making an ebook was also an interesting but incredibly challenging experience (html is another language, and after 3 days of trying to get to grips with it I’m still barely literate) but it seems to be the way forward, so I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to have a go.

A day in the life of the intern… We have conversations every morning which range from discussions of mesmerism to arguments about new PA systems for the hall.  It’s a good way to begin the day and makes this one of the most social places I’ve ever worked – even the schools I’ve taught in haven’t felt quite so friendly.  Everyone has their own work to do and the day passes quietly, although usually with some further discussion of Swedenborgian-ness. Yesterday Stephen said we’d had a ‘correspondence‘ as I said ‘ridiculous’ just as he was reading the word, which was a nice reflection on my own sceptical inability to take anything of the sort seriously.

On Fridays (usually) I help Nora with the marketing and publicity.  Often this involves wrestling with this website – WordPress and me don’t get along brilliantly. If this site ever looks odd don’t be too annoyed, I will probably be sitting at my laptop somewhere begging it to do what I’ve asked it to do, rather than whatever it appears to feel like doing…getting it to display the Paul Tecklenberg’s photo of the skull took me many more hours than seemed reasonable.  On the upside I like Fridays as I get to sit in the shop with Nora (feeling a bit like a goldfish with glass on all sides) and meet people who come in (we get asked for directions to the British Museum several times a day) while wrestling with my old friend html (it crops up everywhere, WordPress, ebooks…).

Luckily I have an amazing shiny new mac to do my work on – it was bought just a few days after I started here, which made me feel welcome!  I experimented with its special functions early on.  For example here’s a photo of Kristin King’s Gardens of Heaven and Earth in a fish tank:

and here’s one I took of Heaven and Hell in the clouds (apologies – I can’t work out how to turn off the mirror image function):

At the moment it is cold in the office, but not as cold as when I came for my interview. We all sat around in our coats because the boiler was unwell.  I very much hope it has no more near death experiences.  I hear snow is due.  I’m about to suggest that we do a special display of Conjugial Love in the shop as Valentine’s Day is imminent.  I’m not sure how this will be received…


2 Responses to “First impressions”

  1. smhayward

    It is great to hear about your internship. How long are you with them for? I am nearly a graduate and have completed journalism work experience but would love to gain more in the realms of publishing 🙂

    • Holly Catling

      I’m here till the end of March, it’s good to find somewhere willing to give me experience! When do you graduate? Start looking at who you want to work for and look into work experience soon, the sooner the better, and from what I can gather expect to have to do months of unpaid before you get anything more solid – unless you’re lucky (a few people walk into jobs straight away). It’s all about luck and, more importantly, networking…good luck!


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