Thursday, February 17, 2011

Internship: The Loft Literary Center

It all started when I glimpsed my roommate's snazzy-looking resume on her desk. She was applying for a job at Shish and had meticulously designed a crisply laid out CV for that purpose, leading me to think it was about time I assembled one myself. So, with no specific object in mind, I made my resume and happened just a little while later to start shopping through the internships that English majors had done in the past. One of these was The Loft-- which I had visited once before with a friend while wandering aimlessly in Minneapolis. I checked their website and discovered that they were looking for marketing interns for J-term-- cue the harps and cherubic choirs: this was perfect.

For the past year and a half I've been on the work-study program, putting in a few hours a week and working full-time over the summer at the college's Publications and Communications Office (essentially a marketing office). It's an experience from which I've gained a lot of practical knowledge and skills in terms of design and software editing-- oh, I can edit just about anything you've got: copy, video, audio, you name it. I'm certain that this experience recommended me highly over the other candidates for the internship and, lo and behold, I bagged it!

My project for the month: to participate in The Loft's Blog, Writer's Block and to help launch a podcast series for author interviews. Blogging for The Orange gave a me a little background in that regard. What's more, it was the premise of Marlon James' assignments from my Creative Writing class that became the subject of my inaugural post. As for the podcast, I learned about the PC component for editing software, as well as how to set up the infrastructure from beginning to end, from RSS feeds, to Audacity, to recording equipment with invaluable help and advice from people in the Publications Office at Mac.

The ultimate goal was to launch The Loft's first-ever AuthorCast, one-on-one interviews with visiting authors. The first interviewee was Patricia Weaver Francisco, a Creative Writing professor in the MFA track at Hamline University. Her affecting memoir, Telling: A Tale of Rape and Recovery was the focus of the interview, and I had the privilege of reading her book and drafting the interview questions. It's a gratifying thing for a reader to be able to directly ask an author a question about their work-- and have it answered!

The AuthorCast was a success and you can check it out here: Patricia Weaver Francisco.

To say that Macalester prepared me for this internship seems redundant at this point. Having said that, Macalester really prepared me for this internship. One of the things for which I'm grateful about my experience at Mac, is that I've had the opportunity to gain highly practical technical skills in addition to my liberal arts education.

More to the point, these practical skills have helped me to wedge my foot in the door of the Twin Cities literary scene by working for an organization dedicated to the edification, support and promotion of locally-grown authors, both aspiring and published. They offer a gamut of creative writing classes for all ages, host author interviews, and network with other institutions to promote books and offer a platform for writers to develop their craft.

Not to mention that the building is incredible-- an absolute architectural gem blending modernity with nostalgia. It came complete with a coffee shop and gallery on the ground level, archaic printing presses in the basement, a Book Arts store, a snazzy book club room, stone walls, wood floors, and rooms made entirely of doors.

English Major Nirvana.