Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Category: time

The School Girl in Me

It’s 75 and sunny, with a nice cool breeze outside. An anomaly for this summer, when the temperature seems to dip below 92 only when it’s raining. My sinuses are reacting as if this is the beginning of fall, and I can’t help but agree. Anthropologie is sending me emails about sweaters, magazines are advertising school supplies and my little sister is beginning her first year at college.

I’m ready for the change. Summer has always been nice — no school, pools are open for days of fun, and now, there’s no reason to make excuses when I feel like having a cocktail on a Saturday morning, especially if I’m at the beach. But the laziness tends to bore me after a while, and my pale skin tends to look better in fall clothes.

For me, Fall is about new beginnings. More so than New Years Eve or the coming of Spring. It’s a time to buy new jeans, get new notebooks, figure out this year’s signature fall color and root out that top from five years ago that suddenly seems like a good thing to wear.

Yeah, I was that little girl who couldn’t wait to go back to school. To see who I would sit next to, what my teacher would be like and whether there were any cute boys in my class. So when weather like this rolls around, I still feel a little bit of a thrill, wondering what this Fall will hold in store for me. A perfect dress, a new best friend, a promotion for me or my husband? Maybe I’ll actually join an orchestra this fall, or find a new hobby for the season. The city of New York is my limit…which of course doesn’t limit me much at all.

That’s me in the corner

“Oh, life is bigger
It’s bigger than you
And you are not me…”

The man sitting beside me at the Beantown Pub sings along to R.E.M. as it wafts through the tight spaces in between bar stools and coats. I was just fitted for my wedding dress — which I so long to post for you here but I can’t risk Jon stumbling upon it — and now I’m sitting on the corner stool at the bar, drinking a beer. The bar tender sweeps by me, her hands full of empty mugs, and she takes up the tune with a sweet voice,

“…That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight, I’m
Losing my religion”

It’s 2:30 in the afternoon, but the place is full to the brim and I wonder where Jon and his friends will sit when they get here. I take a sip and decide that being alone at a bar isn’t quite as uncomfortable as I expected. And I suddenly wish I had a notebook.

But I don’t. The best I can do is capture this moment in my mind and recreate it later in the week on my blog.

Weekend! Wee!

Today I’m returning to Boston via my old friend Bolt Bus. It’s the first time I’ve been there since Jon moved here. And how appropriate that I’m going back for my final wedding dress fitting.

In truth, I can’t wait to visit our old haunts. The little Turkish coffee shop near Harvard where words drifted up from corner tables to the wooden beams of the ceiling — most of the time the languages evoked thoughts of spices and colors, my own mental symbols of the East. Of course there were the occasional hung-over college kids. Even Harvard students turn to alcohol during college.

I’m really hoping that we can make it to Red Bones, the best BBQ joint north of … well…Kentucky I suppose. It was right around the corner of Jon’s old apartment in Cambridge.

Paul Revere's statue in the North End

And lest I be too focused on food, I must mention the shops on Beacon Hill where one might find the perfect unique stationary set or child’s birthday gift. Most of all, I look forward to the feeling of history and liveliness that swells up from the North End amidst the cemeteries, statues, markets and pubs.

It reminds me that while Boston holds my own story, the story of how Jon and I dated and fell in love, it also holds the stories of countless others. Happy weekend readers! I’m off to The Olde Towne.

An itch for a dream

I have an itch. For days I haven’t been able to find it. To cope, I’ve been short with people around me, jittery at my desk. Frowning more than smiling, and spending way to much time and money on online designer discount shopping sites.

And then this morning I read an APW post on dreaming bigger:

I’d forgotten what it was like to knock on door after door after door, and get told no, over and over again. I’d forgotten how depressing it was. I’d forgotten how determined it can make you. I’d forgotten that confusing, partially excited, mostly terrified feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when someone finally says yes. I’d almost forgotten that art is my hustle.

As for me, I had also forgotten, and it made me lazy. During the day, I add 20 pages of footnotes to a manuscript because the author didn’t know how, and then I listen to Lily Allen radio, read BUST magazine, plan my wedding with an open, practical mind, and expect that to be enough. As if surrounding myself with smart, ambitious, daring women would naturally lead to the success of my own big dreams. Despite my comfortable existence as an editorial assistant.

But now it’s my turn to knock on doors. To be rejected so that I can move on from my safe little cocoon of entry-level work that I’ve perfected over the last two years.

And the itch? It’s the pit in my stomach. Because I know that a door is about to open. Now I have to walk into it. And it’s terrifying. Without really knowing what I’m doing, I have to work with authors who don’t know what they’re doing. See if the executive editor likes my work, and if he doesn’t move on. Because I’ve learned all I can in this position.

I need to blog more, find an interesting job, and build on the community of women that has been supporting me.

Or maybe I’ll go to law school. Who knows.

The Important Details

I’ve read a lot about the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) and how its expectations make weddings expensive and difficult, and make happy, reasonable couples turn into bride/groom zillas. So I knew from the beginning to try to avoid those snares.

But the truth is, with or without the WIC, weddings are just hard, and they will present challenges to the happy couple.

We want a big wedding. Not big as in fancy, over-the-top, designer big. I just want a lot of people there. All 113 people on my mother’s guest wish-list are very near and dear to me. My fiance’s mother has 9 brothers and sisters, so his family list is about the same if not longer. I went them there, I want our friends around us, and I want children to attend (what’s a wedding without kids swirling on the dance floor?).

I want it to be a Catholic wedding. (We’re both Catholic, but I think I feel more strongly about this than he does.)

And we’d like to be married next Spring.

That’s about it. Bring on the paper plates, mis-matched decor and a friend-made wedding dress. It’s the people who make the party.

But my expenses just to make this thing Catholic already add up to an unbudgeted $700 with a lot of strings attached. Including: the wedding must be at least a year after the engagement. What?! So we found a venue that had an opening during one weekend next May. They were booked for June, booked for July. We sure squeezed that proposal in on time.

Then I find out that my sister’s high school graduation is on the very same weekend. She’s a maid-of-honor. And she’s my sister! Not to mention that my mom’s family had a baby boom in 1993, so I have three cousins who might also have graduation that weekend.

Expensive? You betcha. Challenging? Umm…yes. But it’s challenges like this that force us to think about what is important. High school graduation. Important. My sister’s presence at my wedding. Super Important. Following the year preparation requirement, even if it means we might have to wait until August/September 2011? Suddenly a Catholic wedding is not so important to me. (Maybe a Thanksgiving wedding this year would be nice, hehe!)

Here’s to tough wedding planning that helps us grow, that makes us choose, that bridges the gap into adulthood. And although I’m a sucker for staitionary designs and cute bridesmaid dresses, here’s to realizing and focusing on what’s important to us, and just not every little detail that the WIC throws at us.