New name, new life, new blog!

Hey everyone! Thanks for reading this blog. My wonderful adventure in England is sadly over, but I’ve started a new adventure!

I got married about a month ago and my name changed to Ariel Price. My husband, Andrew, and I have moved to Portland, Oregon, where he has a new job and I’ll be starting school in January. I’ve started a new blog about our adventures in Portland… please visit: http://arielkprice.wordpress.com/ Thanks!

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The people who made it happen

This is the Anthem crew, whom I’ve spent 8 hours/day 5 days/week with the past two 1/2 months! I’m going to miss them!

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The Penultimate Day

(‘Second to last’ – yes, I’ve been itching to use that word for quite some time now.)

Tomorrow is my last day of the internship! The last two weeks have been agonizingly slow, but the past couple days have seemed like a slippery frog jumping out of my hands and I only manage to catch it for a couple seconds at a time.

Monday started the biggest yearly event in the publishing world…the London Book Fair! Just a short 15 minutes away from where I work, in Earls Court. Anthem Press had two tickets, and my boss graciously let me and another guy I work with, Rob, take yesterday afternoon off to go wander around at the LBF. We had no idea what to expect. I had envisioned a big room where publishing companies set up shop and sell their books. Wrong. Well, kind of right, but mostly wrong. It was in a big room and each publishing house had set stuff up, but I wouldn’t call what they set up ‘shop’ – more like each house created its own mini bookstore/office/lounge area. There were bookshelves filled with the most exciting covers that served as the walls between each house’s area (some of the biggest houses, like Random House and Hodder & Stoughton had actual walls), and there were little tables & chairs set up inside. It looked like a bunch of trendy bookstore-cafes got together in one room, except they didn’t sell coffee (although there were real cafes and watering holes also spread out throughout the convention center). Most people were dressed professionally in suits and the like. Basically, the London Book Fair is not so much a place to sell books, but a place where publishers can conduct interviews with desperate young bookies like myself, agents can meet authors and publishers, authors can pitch book ideas to publishers, publishers can learn about good printers, and all sorts of business meetings can be held in one convenient location. There are also talks and interviews with authors to attend. Rob and I listened in on one talk about how publishing companies need to begin the process of publishing a book with the idea that it is going to be published in different forms (i.e. a physical book, ebook, etc.), and not just create it only thinking about how it will turn out physically – not just deciding as an afterthought, ‘Oh, yeah, let’s make this an ebook, too’. I’m actually not sure that’s what the talk was about, but that’s what I got from it.

Of course, everyone in publishing is obsessed with the New Media – they’re either singing its praises or making doomsday predictions about the Death of the Book. Personally, I prefer reading actual hard-copy books. I like my books to be ‘loved’, as I call them – practically destroyed with all of the dog-earring, highlighting, scribbling, folding, and bending which I subject them to. On the other hand – as I sit and gaze at the ever-growing stack of books that must fit inside my suitcase and it hits me that the articles of clothing I brought have also magically doubled in number – a Kindle wouldn’t be too bad, you know. Yes, I do think that the inevitable future holds more ebooks and iPads and the like, but I don’t think the Book is going to die. I think it may be like writing by hand. While calligraphy is very rare as an art form and most people don’t write by hand as much as they use computers, it is still useful to know how to write by hand. As long as physical books are still useful to have (and I think they are), they’ll still be around, even if most people end up using their Kindles and Nooks or whatever for the sake of convenience. And with all that said, I think it’s smart for publishing companies to plan from the beginning of the publishing process to have an ebook version of each manuscript.

It was definitely a good experience to see the LBF and realize (again) that publishing is just as much a business industry as pretty much anything else. Books just happen to be our product. But that makes all the difference, really. I enjoy the business side of the publishing world, but I would never want to work at a bank or for Apple or for Ford or for Samsung. The business of publishing is enjoyable because I really do love the product, and I really do believe in the product.

Today is almost over… Tomorrow I expect to shed a couple tears, share a few hugs, and enjoy a round with the people who have been the principal part of my experience here in London.

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England doesn’t see the sun much… so God gave it daffodils

One of the most wonderful things I’ve experienced here is something that I’ve heard about, something I could describe, something I’ve read about so often I thought it was cliche… spring. Right now in California the weather is typically California: 70 one day, 90 the next, 80 after that, sunny, rainy, cloudy, humid. I never knew what spring was. I now understand why countless English poets and authors have found an unquenchable fountain of inspiration in this amazing phenomenon. Every day is a little warmer. Every day a few more daffodils bloom. Every day I hear birds singing earlier in the morning and later in the evening. These words are indeed cliche, but the experience of spring is something that could never get old.

I just got back from a weekend in Oxford. How refreshing to be back in that city! Such a different feel from London. Everything is so close. I miss walking on those streets, surrounded by history but fully participating in modern culture. I visited my friend Kate and we had a great time. The Oxford Literary Festival was going on so I got to indulge in looking at all the newest books published and write down some titles to hopefully buy cheaper on Amazon later :) Also, there was a chocolate festival! Free samples, yes please. We ate lunch at my favorite tea shop, The Rose, and had dinner at the famous Eagle and Child (the Bird and Baby, as it’s known colloquially).

This morning we went to church at St. Aldate’s, a charismatic, contemporary Anglican church. When I was at Oxford I preferred not to attend there because it was a little too close to normal. I wanted to experience the rigid, reverent traditions of the high Anglican churches. And that was perfect for me at the time. Today, I needed the homey comfort of a contemporary service. The most important thing was that I felt the Holy Spirit in those people, and I experienced fellowship, which I haven’t felt since I’ve been here. It just reaffirmed how important a church family is, to gather with people not just for the sake of socializing, but to share in experiencing God together and encouraging each other in our personal relationships with Him. They held an infant baptism, and I was able to share in the joy of that congregation welcoming a beautiful infant into the church. Again, spring. New life. Nowhere is new life seen more than in the church.

I’m back now in London at my home for the next 16 days. I’m anxious, impatient to go home. This internship has been awesome and I would love to keep doing this work, if only I could be wherever my fiance and family and friends are. I’m starting to get excited about planning my wedding. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always been excited, but London had to happen first. Now that it has and I’m close to finishing, I’m looking ahead to what’s next. Just a few more days.

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My ‘Devil Wears Prada’ Moment

There’s a scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway, as the newbie assistant to big-time fashion magazine editor Meryl Streep, is taking notes during a meeting and all the fashionistas and gurus are trying to decide what outfits will be used in the newest issue. One of the other assistants holds up two nearly identical belts (as far as I can tell from watching the movie, the only difference is slightly varied buckles) and cries, ‘Ooh, I don’t know – they’re so similar!’ Anne Hathaway’s immediate response is a bewildered chuckle (as in ‘Oh! That was a good joke’) and everyone in the room stops. And Meryl Streep continues to calmly give a bone-chilling, insert-foot-in-mouth speech about how Anne Hathaway’s character has NO CLUE about this industry and doesn’t appreciate how it impacts her life.

So… my situation wasn’t that bad. It actually wasn’t bad at all. It went rather well, in fact.

My boss invited me in his office to discuss a marketing project I was working on, and we started talking, but then he stopped suddenly as if just remembering something and smacked two absolutely identical books down in front of me.

‘Here – just feel these and tell me which one you like better’, he said.

‘Oh, erm, um, ok’. Highly wary of such tests, I took each book, flipped through the pages, felt the cover, wracking my brains thinking, ‘What am I looking for?!’ There were slight differences (or maybe my desperation to find differences tricked me into believing they were there), so I picked one the one whose hardback cover felt a little thinner and whose pages were a bit silkier to the touch (at least – I think they were).

‘I like that one’, I said.

‘Do you?’ he asked. Ahhhh stomach-twisting anxiety. I picked the wrong one!

‘Oh, that’s interesting’, he continued. ‘Yes, I like that one, too. This other one’s a little nicer with the rubbery finish on the cover and the binding is glued in such-and-such a way… but I think this one is fine, too. Thanks’.

And that was that.

I guess the lesson I learned here was that when a publishing house writes in a job description that they want someone with an eye for detail, they mean: someone who does not let ANYTHING pass them by. It’s a good lesson to learn now, and I’m definitely trying to look at the text and the books with a more critical eye.

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The Balancing Act

Fourth week: boooooooooooooooooooooooring. I guess the high had to wear off at some point. Don’t get me wrong – still love copyediting, but now I’m also working on researching the current market for Economics textbooks. I have never taken economics and am not in the least interested in learning about economics (money kinda freaks me out), so filling my afternoons with trying to find out what makes a good economics textbook is not the most entertaining use of my time… I’m constantly shifting in my seat, looking at the clock, fighting my stupid mouse that keeps trying to click on solitaire (stupid mice…), and looking for excuses to get water/go pee/make tea/ask other interns how they’re doing.

On a very different note, however, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with my fiance, Andrew. If you haven’t read my ‘About Me’ page (I won’t be (too) offended), one of the things that I was interested to learn while I’m here in London is how to be in a long distance relationship with him, since we’ve spent the past year together almost every single day, and how to prepare to be his wife in a few short months. It hasn’t been easy.

I know I’ve mentioned how amazing he is in other posts, but seriously… he is so awesome. I love him and totally rely on him as my best friend.

I really want to be the best person that I can be so that I can love him with everything that I am, and so I’ve been considering the question: what makes a good wife?

The only answer I could really come up with on my own was: A good wife is one that loves her husband. Not a bad start, surely, but definitely needing some support.

Leanne recommended that I read Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s book The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. I was leery at first. I grew up listening to Dr. Laura’s show and as a sensitive young girl, I always thought Dr. Laura was harsh. I just don’t like mean people. And when you’re a kid you can’t tell the difference between ‘mean’ and caring in a ‘tough love’ kind of way. I still don’t like her tone of voice, but at least I know now that she means well. Maybe that’s why I am absolutely loving her book. What she writes is usually very nice-sounding (since writing can’t convey harsh tones of voice very well). But I’m learning a lot about myself and about Dr. Laura’s view on what makes a good wife.

I won’t go into too much detail, but basically, this book is making me so excited to be Andrew’s wife! I can’t wait to make dinners for him, clean the house for him, be the mom of his kids, love him, and tell him how he is totally my MAN everyday.

But wait a minute… in the midst of all this altruistic, self-sacrifice (the very definition of Godly love??!), where am I? I’m in London right now doing an internship so that I can have a career. I didn’t go to a really expensive undergrad school to get an MRS degree. I’ve got a dilemma. The thought of being a stay-at-home wife/mom is really exciting, and so is the thought of dressing up in the suit everyday and going to be an editor in an office!

Of course, I know you’ll all tell me that it’ll be hard, but I can still have a job and be a good mom and wife and make dinner and all that. But seriously, folks. Who wants to get up, feed the kids, put on a suit, work all day, pick up the kids from school, make dinner, clean up, and – COLLAPSE?! I know moms who do it. But I also know that it’s exhausting! Sheesh, I only have to go to work and I’m exhausted. I can’t imagine adding a husband and kids to the picture.

See, what I’m learning from Dr. Laura is that being a good wife isn’t just about what you do – it’s about the attitude you have while doing it. I’m pretty sure we could all agree that a woman who runs to her husband when he walks in the door and showers him with kisses, regularly affirms him, and makes sure his emotional and physical needs are met (yes, I mean sex), is a Good Wife. But I don’t know if you can be a Good Wife if you’re exhausted.

Now, my dearly beloved feminist friends. Seriously, I am a feminist, too. I 100% believe that men and women are equal, and I get very p.o.’d when I see that women are not being treated equally. I assume Andrew wants to be a Good Husband to me, too, and will work very hard to figure out how to do this (though he may not go about it the same way I am – by reading books, etc.). But even if he doesn’t, that’s not even the point. This is not just me trying to figure out all the ways I can be a doormat. This is me rising to the responsibility I’ve signed up for: being in a committed relationship. We each have to do our part. It’s not 50/50. It’s 100/100. So I’m giving my 100, and I’m not being a bratty little teenager withholding my 100 until he gives his 100. I’m just giving it. Or, at least, I’m trying my darndest.

With that said, I do have a dilemma. How do I make sure that I’m not too overwhelmed so that I have enough energy to give him everything he deserves? Because he does deserve it. I love him, and I want him to feel loved/affirmed/valued/manly.

I’d love to hear from some others on this (if anyone reads my blog). Women, what are your thoughts? Guys, any suggestions? Especially, if you are in a happy marriage, what makes it happy?? How is it working for you?

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Thoughts Underground

So many people…trying so hard not to look each other in the eye. Studying the newspaper or book in front of them like their lives depend on it. Listening to their iPods, staring at the ground with a bemused smile that conveys that they are happily engrossed in their own amusement. Heaven forbid your forgot your book or your iPod and then you are in a sad state indeed, staring at the floor or reading the ads with your arms crossed and a sullen expression, wondering what the heck that crazy girl is doing scribbling in her journal. Probably American…

Everyone is rocking gently, swaying, the train humming as it glides over the tracks, sometimes a snap as it hits stray bumps.

My favorite is when kids get on the tube and tumble in, tripping, noisy, into the car. “Sit down, sit down!” their mummies hiss. “Leave the nice lady alone.” Then the little girl mischievously scooches next to her mum and proceeds to stare at everyone who is studiously avoiding her gaze, no one talking. Glued to their books. Their IVs.

Sometimes I sneak a smile…

As you get further into central London in the morning, the trains suddenly start to get packed with people. Men and women in their businesswear—suits and boots and heels and peacoats. I look just like them and I always share a secret joke with myself, thinking, “Everyone thinks I’m British.”

During the morning or after work rush, you’re lucky if you get an inch of space to breathe, let alone a seat. And yet the tube gods have no mercy; the Tube Rule reigns supreme: “Don’t look anyone in the eye!” I swear the British perform fantastic feats of contortionism to obey this Rule. One foot wedged between the seat and a briefcase, straddling someone else’s suitcase, the other foot on tiptoe, gingerly leaning across to hold on to the handrail, and always, always keep your book in front of your eyes!! And the women do it in heels.

“The next station is Baker Street. Change for the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, and Metropolitan lines. Exit here for Madame Tussauds.”

Step over someone’s leg, duck under an arm, squeeze between a backpack and a body, and you might get out before the doors close.

A man standing with a microphone, projecting in his best stadium announcer voice:

“MIND the gap! Please allow the customers to get off the train before boarding. This train is now ready to depart! MIND the closing doors!!”

Get out, swipe your Oyster Card, and breathe.

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Welcome to March!

Almost three weeks in now, and I’m still loving it.

I keep thinking, “I could really get paid to do this?” I have to say, I think I’ve finally found something that I can see myself doing as a career.

I have now finished copyediting two more books, a biography and a collection of short stories. Obviously, the short stories were such a treat. How I had made it this far in life—especially as an English major—without reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Scandal in Bohemia,” I have no idea. I guess that’s the part of this job that I am enjoying the most—the chance to read so many things: things I’ve always wanted to read, things I never wanted to read (but have the chance to be pleasantly surprised by), and things I never would’ve even known about otherwise. I have so many opportunities to enrich my mind.

My other responsibilities have increased as well. I’m in contact with many more authors, asking them to peer review books. And I’m helping my boss with a couple online projects. First, I’m helping to develop the site plan for the website of a new imprint called Thames River Press. For those of you who don’t know, Anthem Press is a small branch or “imprint” of the Wimbledon Publishing Company. While Anthem Press focuses on academic and serious material, Thames River Press will focus more on “trade” books: fiction and non-fiction. I’m part of the team brainstorming what the Thames River Press will become—I’m writing the mission statement and the “About Us” page. Maybe I’m putting more pressure on myself than needed (does anybody really read that stuff anyway?), but I feel like this is a big responsibility and I want to do it well. This directly deals with how the company appears to the public.

Second, I’m also helping to develop the Anthem Press blog. This is exciting because now I feel like there is another reason for me to keep working on this blog, to learn all I can to make the Anthem Press blog the best it can be. I’m also really glad I had experience in charge of the Sigma Tau Delta blog at Azusa Pacific University.

I’m really flattered that I’m being allowed such a role in the company. Maybe it’s really just what everyone does and it’s nothing special, but it’s certainly more than I expected to be able to do. I love that I’m getting real “hands-on” experience that’ll look good on a resume.

But more than that, I’m also really enjoying the other interns. The sad part of this internship is that people are coming and going, so I’m not sure how many really meaningful relationships can be made. Yet so far I’ve enjoyed getting to know a British girl named Katie, who’s been doing graphic design, and a British guy named Rob, who’s the other editing intern (besides me). Most of our conversations have centered on the differences between American and British culture (always a funny topic), but we’ve started getting to know each other and become comfortable. Katie’s last day is tomorrow, but I hope we can stay in contact.

I’ll write again sooner next time, I promise.

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First week of the internship

It’s Saturday. It’s been almost a week since I sent Andrew off back to the US, and I stayed behind, trusting that God knew what He was doing putting me in London. I think He did.

The internship is fantastic. The dress code is “smart casual,” which can be interpreted in American as “business casual.” I’ve traded my jeans and Rainbows (and sunshine, for that matter) for slacks and heels (in the gray rain). Every morning I join the Londoners waiting on the platform for the Underground, or the “Tube,” to take us to Work.

For me, Work is being the epitome of a grammar nerd. Fixing comma splices and misspelled words sounds like torture to most, but doing something you’re good at, and you enjoy, and you’ve trained for, is satisfying. Not all can say that they’re actually using the degree they earned. I’m very blessed to say that I am.

So. Here’s what I’m doing:

I spend the morning copyediting–essentially, proofreading a manuscript that’s been submitted for publication. I didn’t realize how much power I have doing this job. Changing something as small as a comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. I have to try to preserve as much as I can of what the author meant. But I’m not the author, and I read things differently. I don’t think that the author’s intended meaning is the only way something could/should be interpreted, but I feel that as an editor my first obligation is to the author, who has put him/herself in a vulnerable position by letting me touch what they’ve worked on for years. Let the audience interpret as they will once it’s left my hands, but while it’s in my hands, I am aiding the author. Let me just say to all the English majors, never underestimate your own power as someone with authority and knowledge about written words, arguably our prime method of communication. We have a responsibility to use our knowledge ethically. Ok, done preaching.

In the afternoon I get to do the more “fun” part of the job. You know the quotes on the backs of books that say, “This is the best book of the season because of x, y, and z”? I get to contact people who are authorities on the subject of a certain book (i.e., if the book is about the global economy, I contact professors, government officials, businessmen, and other authorities on economics) and ask them to read the book before it is published, and to send us a short endorsement of the book. I become the face of the company to those people. I take care of all their needs (if they have trouble accessing the file, or need more information about the author, etc.). My emails to them must be professional, because impressions inform our relationships. Having someone write an endorsement is a great way to start a relationship with them, to open the door to possibly even publishing their own work some day.

It may be basic stuff, but I see the importance behind it. I know I’m really contributing to the company, and I have quite a bit of responsibility, even though I’m “just” an intern.

On the whole, my first week’s impression is very positive. The jury is still out, obviously, but I have enough knowledge to say that I’m excited to see what happens next.

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The Story of How God Provided For Me (Again)

Really, this has always been a story about how God has provided for me, but I figure, as true as that title is, you might get bored seeing it for every post.

After realizing that I had no living arrangement for my time in London, we thought that I would probably have to return home with Andrew on Sunday. It seemed very unlikely that, so late in the game, we would find a place to stay that was 1) affordable, 2) not a scam, and 3) available right now and for exactly the amount of time I would need it. After such a harrowing ordeal the past couple days, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to stay anymore.

Andrew and I celebrated our one year anniversary on Thursday by going to Oxford, and we figured it would be the best part of our trip together before we both went home on Sunday.

Oxford was amazing. It felt like we had never left. We went around to the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian Library, walked through Christ Church Meadow, and just wandered the High Street and Cornmarket. We had coffee at Coffee Republic, where Andrew and I used to hang out and have tea in the beginning of our friendship, and we met up with one of Andrew’s old tutors for tea at The Rose. We finished the day by sharing fish and chips at the Eagle and Child, renowned meeting place (or “watering hole”) of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and the Inklings.  Also our favorite pub, where we had celebrated our birthdays together while we were at Oxford.

After such a wonderful day, we headed back to London. When we got there Milo and Leanne excitedly told me that they wanted to offer me one of their spare bedrooms! They said they didn’t want to let a couple bad experiences cheat me out of the amazing experience of working at a publishing company in London. I was (and am) still overwhelmed by their generosity. I accepted, and I am so thankful. I think it will be an even better situation than staying in an apartment by myself, like I had planned.

Andrew and I have spent the past couple days much more at ease, touring London, seeing the famous sites, and enjoying the company of friends. Friday we visited Anthem Press and talked to my boss, Tej. Apparently this internship is highly competitive, and if I went home there were 5 people waiting to take my place! Tej also said that most of the interns there go on to get jobs at major publishing companies, and, in fact, some of their staff had formerly been interns. I hadn’t realized how prestigious this internship was. But I’m not too intimidated by it. Tej seemed quite friendly and easy to work with. I’m sure it will be difficult, but I’m excited. I’m so thankful I am staying.

This morning I took Andrew to the airport, and I returned to Leanne and Milo’s house by myself. I already miss him terribly, but I feel so much better about staying now that I am staying with friends and am completely convinced that God is taking care of me. It is obvious that nothing is in my control. I have no idea what God has planned for me during this trip. It’s already so different than what I had envisioned.

I start work in the morning. And so, goodnight!

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