This week I packed up my lunchbox, stamped my last envelope, scanned my last check, and bid the Old American Can Factory goodbye. My internship with One Story as an editorial assistant is ending, and I’m sorry to see it go. I’m off home for the summer, where I’ll be trying to do a bit of my own writing, now that I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the stories that come across my table and end up, tightened and polished, in One Story’s pages.
It’s been a great semester, getting the chance to see a story’s conception from draft to print. Take our most recent issue, #135, “Corporate Park” by Grant Munroe. It was especially exciting to hear that this story came to our editor Pei-Ling straight through the slush pile. After some back-and-forth, with new sections being written to strengthen the piece, “Corporate Park” was ready to go. I’ve interned at a few different literary magazines, but never with the others did I feel so strongly that a young writer could send a story with promise and get the personal attention needed to make it great.
Or take another story that is upcoming in our pages, “Number Stations” by Smith Henderson that involves ostriches, radio signals, and other slightly strange details. The moment Marie-Helene Bertino brought this one to an editorial meeting, she was excited about it. This was one of those rare stories that needed a little tweak here and there, but had come to us virtually perfect. As an intern, of course, I got to see the original submission, the margin notes of the editors, the underlining of particularly gorgeous phrases. Readers, you have something to look forward to with One Story’s next issue, and I got to see it early.
Then there were the things I got a chance to learn this semester that I didn’t expect to. I learned a lot about party-planning, from how many empanadas three hundred people will eat to planning raffles, art auctions and dramatic performances; I even tried my hand at bartending for a while during One Story’s Debutante Ball. I became a whizz at entering subscription information into the computer, so One Story, I thank you for your training in any future jobs in data entry that I take. Most of all, though, I enjoyed the weekly editorial meetings with all of One Story’s staff, talking stories, readings, and what One Story authors are accomplishing now. It’s exciting to hear about all these young talents breaking into the business, and I can’t help thinking that with a few more publications under my belt, I might get there as well.
So thank you, One Story editors, for giving me some terrific experience in the lit mag biz. And what color will the next issue be?