Works and Days



Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency: Caroline McCulloch

As the heels of my boots clopped against the Upper West Side’s sidewalk, I couldn’t help but feel a bit glamorous. My breath fogging in the crisp New York air, my gloved hands clutching a cross-body satchel, I felt the sort of working-woman swagger I’d attribute to Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon strolling near 30 Rockefeller Plaza. True, a Sex and the City comparison might afford me a bit more elegance, but for an equally geeky, slobbish, and sandwich-loving individual such as myself, Liz Lemon is the epitome of professional sophistication. Though I wasn’t writing for a comedy sketch show, I too had navigated the streets of New York City, passing momentous buildings and crowds, to go to work.

Rita Rosezkranz’s Literary Agency is situated in a brownstone apartment building. Rita, an elegant and well-spoken woman (perhaps a new model of professional sophistication), runs it out of her home office. Representing a variety of non-fiction titles, she advocates for her authors by pitching their projects to potential publishers. Additionally, she reviews proposals that will go to publishers, making suggestions to improve the project’s salability. However, her work doesn’t end once a publisher picks up one of these proposals. I primarily aided Rita in finding avenues to promote her various projects, as well as bolstering her writers’ presences and reputes. This sort of research required a clear marketing strategy and thus a firm grasp on the platforms that would most effectively reach the targeted consumer.

When I arrived, I sat in on a call with Rita and Roxanna, the author of a newly released children’s book. I discussed with Roxanna what kind of leads would be most useful in establishing her platform. From there, it came down to scouring the Internet for pertinent articles and journalists. I continued to compile leads for Roxanna throughout my stay with Rita, but also edited multiple proposals and reviewed query letters.

Northwestern University Press: Manon Gilmore, Winter Shadow 2016

When I arrived in Chicago to spend a week this January shadowing Anne Gendler, managing editor in design and production at Northwestern University Press, I admit I didn’t know what to expect. I had always thought of the publishing industry as notoriously difficult to infiltrate, a cutthroat business where productivity and ambition were valued in a time where people are fond of saying that print is dying. Yes, this was a small press, but would it be different?

My first hint that I had nothing to worry about was when I matched the street number I had typed into my phone with a small house that had a “Northwestern University Press” sign out front. Inside was toasty warm (outside the temperature was single digits verging into the negatives, but Chicagoans are good at staying warm), and I was followed in by Grace, the other Reed extern who had arrived the week before. When we had tramped upstairs and shed all of our layers, our arrival was greeted with a cheer, and we immediately got to work.

Equipped with a red pencil and a loaner copy of The Chicago Manual of Style, I spent my week at the press checking passes of manuscripts—essentially different rounds of edits—against each other, proofreading e-books and one author-made index, and attending staff meetings, where all aspects of the process were discussed to see what progress had been made in the week between meetings: acquisitions editors introduced their new books, project editors updated the status of manuscripts undergoing editing, sales and marketing people talked about cover design and material, book size, selling points, and likely audiences.

Information Wizardry: Oregon College of Oriental Medicine: Syd Low, Winter Shadow 2016

When the Reed library decided not to hire me my sophomore year I moved on to other things and contented myself with straightening books (to preserve their spines!) and relocating the occasional mis-shelved loner (so people can find it!) both at Reed and all my favorite public libraries. I'd briefly considered going for a library science degree, but that seemed like a big investment when all I really knew was that I Love Books and Libraries Have Books. So when I saw the posting for Winter Shadow at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine I knew I wanted to get it. While ideally I'd have tried a shadow before my senior year, better late than never right? Part of the description for the OCOM internship was also that they needed help cataloging a large donation of Chinese-language books--a dream come true for a linguistics major with a focus on Chinese!

After being accepted to help out at the library I began to see more of the behind the scenes work I'd been curious about. Veronica Vichit-Vadakan patiently trained me in all the ways of inter-library loans and the particular system OCOM uses, giving me a very every-day look at how a small library runs. OCOM is also unique in that it has a medicinal herb library for students to work with--something that makes sense for the school but that you probably wont find in a larger public library. These kinds of details are now helping me think about what kind of library I'd want to work at, and what kind of degree I'd then want to focus on. Public libraries sometimes have literacy programs or larger historical reference projects, while smaller libraries can have more focused resources and a more focused audience. The cataloging of Chinese language books is one of these more focused projects; unsurprisingly most of the books are about Traditional Chinese Medicine (I certainly picked up some new vocab). It was kind of wild typing a title into WorldCat and seeing that another library copy of the book I was holding was in Hong Kong! Even small libraries are part of this huge global thing. The conversion of older lectures recorded on VHS to DVD was another project happening while I was there. I realized libraries do a lot of work not only innovating new ways to access materials but also in making sure older resources don't get dusty and "left behind." To me this is really exciting--a combination of technology and curating abilities.

All in all, while re-shelving and scanning articles is not most people's idea of a good time, to me it's sort of satisfying. You run into things you wouldn't have looked up yourself. It's also just the most obvious work libraries do, there are larger issues like how libraries handle the increasing push for digital works, how libraries are also one of the few public places people can get together or use computers for free, how libraries can assist with life-long learning, or home schooled or virtual learning, and on and on. Taking the time, if only for a few days, to absorb the library atmosphere, talk about and research libraries, has made it clear to me it's a future I'd consider pursuing. Waiting to be hired in a library would have been a stressful alternative, so many thanks to Victoria and OCOM, and to Reed for organizing the Winter Shadows program. 

Liber Editing, Books Behind the Scenes: Grace Moon, Winter Shadow 2016

My Winter Shadow experience did not concern the cold, bright, often terrifying light of real-time social exposure in the offices and labs I’d always imagined as waystations placed along the glistening Career Track, places for making urgent connections. Instead, it was private, personal, almost confidential—indeed, my time spent with Edith Zdunich, a Portland-based freelance book editor, was very much about what happens in the shadows.

The editing Shadow had captured my interest partly because my understanding of the field was so vague. Sure, as an avid reader and writer with a confidence in her own grammatical accuracy, detail-oriented perfectionism, and literary taste, I had a hunch that being paid to polish manuscripts for publication would suit me. But my comprehension of the processes that brought a work from brainchild to print edition was virtually nil, and Internet searches supplied surprisingly little clarity. I knew what an editor’s job was, but I had no idea what editors actually did.

When I met with Edith, one of the first things I learned was this: neither do their clients.

MindBuck Media Book Publicity, Grace Fetterman, Winter Shadow 2016

I had the privilege of shadowing Jessica Glenn, founder of MindBuck Media Book Publicity. Jessica is dynamic, knowledgeable, and thoughtful. In her job, she devotes her boundless energy to promoting the work of creative minds.

I was so lucky that my time with Jessica coincided with the beginning stages of her dialogue with Blue Star Coloring, the leading publisher of grown-up coloring books. On an icy Tuesday afternoon, I accompanied Jessica on a meeting with Blue Star, where I observed the collaborative effort of a publicity campaign. After the meeting, Jessica had me write a sample press release for an adult coloring book titled, "It's Owl Good: An Adult Coloring Book." As a Reedie English major, I found this assignment to be quite a hoot.

 The entire experience revealed many elements of a publishing niche, and the literary world at large.

Presidents Summer Fellowship, Supernatural Shakespearian Webseries Part 3, Liz Groombridge

President’s Summer Fellow Elizabeth Groombridge ’16, psychology/theater major, is writing and creating a queer, supernatural webseries, “The Green’s Apartment”, based on Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It.

Final Days

After the data loss panic of the last post, the hard drive came back with 90% of the data recovered. A few shots were lost, leading to a few odd shot choices in the past 5 episodes, but enough was recovered that the series was able to be finished. And the footage for the last 4 episodes (the ones still coming out) was stored on another drive, so the project is completely out of the woods now. 

Presidents Summer Fellowship, Connecting to Armenian Artists Part 3, Knar Hovakimyan

Let's talk translation.


I was really surprised to find that the most difficult part of the translation process was reading the poems. This task seemed easiest at first, but when I actually set out to produce a literal translation of a poem, I found myself completely lost. For a while I thought that my Armenian language skills were just not up to par, but I soon realized that the difficulty was not in understanding the meaning of the words, but uncovering their role within the line and within the whole poem. I had to think deeply about what the author of the poem intended with each word since soon I would become the author of the translation, and ideally I would have the same intentions. So the first step was deep reading and analysis to produce a literal translation.

Presidents Summer Fellowship, Supernatural Shakespearian Webseries Part 2, Liz Groombridge

Watch Act I Scene I .

President’s Summer Fellow Elizabeth Groombridge ’16, psychology/theater major, is writing and creating a queer, supernatural webseries, “The Green’s Apartment”, based on Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It.

Bumps Along the Road

We wrapped filming on August 8th in Chicago. It was an amazing experience with so many wonderful people. The whole cast was great and did so well with their parts. It was a stressful experience, filming, because I blocked out 4 hours to film each episode, and for some episodes that was more than enough and for some it was a little short. I learned so much about directing film over the course of this project, because I've never done anything on this scale before. The more episodes I shot, the better my shot compositions became, and the more I understood how to make things dynamic on camera. 

But I think what really helped me learn more about how to direct film was editing it. Choosing to edit during the process was a really good decision, I think, because by watching my footage so carefully and piecing together the narrative from different angles, I began to really understand what looked good and what looked awkward or flat. This has been an amazing learning experience for me. 

Presidents Summer Fellowship, Connecting to Armenian Artists Part 2, Knar Hovakimyan

Working on the ground in Armenia, President’s Summer Fellow Knar Hovakimyan ’16, linguistics major, seeks to introduce Armenian literature to English-speaking communities through poetry translation.

I just finished unpacking back home in LA. When I opened my suitcase, I was greeted by the faint smell of khorovats (Armenian barbecue) in my clothes: the pants that I wore to harvest apricots at my uncle's, the sweater I wore to Lake Sevan on a stormy day. I removed the large number of books I had managed to fit in my suitcase: I remembered discussions with poets at different cafes, afternoons I spent scouring through several volumes to pick which poems I wanted to translate, the look of the books scattered across our apartment all month. My sunscreen spilled all over everything; I had completely neglected to use it on our sightseeing side-trip to Khor Virap, Noravank, Tatev and Karahunj. My purse was crushed way at the bottom of the suitcase, water-stained from the day strangers poured three buckets of water on my head in celebration of Vardavar.


Presidents Summer Fellowship, Connecting to Armenian Artists, Knar Hovakimyan

Working on the ground in Armenia, President’s Summer Fellow Knar Hovakimyan ’16, linguistics major, seeks to introduce Armenian literature to English-speaking communities through poetry translation

 I spent a month at home panicking over how I would get in touch with poets, adjust to their schedules, and meet them each a couple times in Armenia. When I got to Armenia, I quickly realized that I was going about things the American way – here, it is not necessary to make plans weeks in advance, confirm, reschedule... You can just show up at someone's house and they'll have a table set in five minutes. My first day here I made a phone call to a poet, Tigran Paskevichyan; after introductions we arranged to meet later that same day at Artbridge, a cafe he frequents. The entire encounter felt like a scene from a movie. The waiter brought out the poet's usual Armenian coffee, which Paskevichyan enjoyed with a cigarette as we talked about my project; we discussed his influences ranging from Daniil Kharms to Saul Leiter and his intentions behind specific poems – before I left home, I was worried about how far my Armenian language skills would take me, but luckily, I managed to keep up the conversation. With a signed copy of his book in hand and some new poems to work on, I embarked on the hectic week ahead of me.


Northwestern University Press, Reed Winter Externship Program, Julia Green

Julia Green, sophomore history major, was a Reed winter externship program participant. The following blog is a reflection of her experience working at the Northwestern University Press with Anne Gendler (class of ’81)



Tracing Faserland, Fellowship for Winter International Travel, Ben DeYoung

Ben DeYoung is retracing the steps of a trip across Germany as it is presented in the novel "Faserland" by Christian Kracht.

 Excerpt from the first stop: Hamburg, Germany.

            ...I took to the street, unsure of what, exactly, I was looking for. In Hamburg, Faserland had not given me much to work with; he describes the light, but travels the city only at night, and spends most of his time in his friend's apartment. His main characterization of the city, other than his description of the light he does not actually see, comes in the form of what is also not actually there, namely the city that was destroyed. This unseen city, and the reconstruction of Hamburg, would eventually also play a large part in my impression of the place, but I was at least initially struck by a timeless aspect of the city, namely the dialect characteristic of Hamburg, and of its region, Schleswig-Holstein.

The Reed College Peer-Reviewed Journal, Presidents Summer Fellowship

The context for my President's Summer Fellowship engages three distinct elements, which combined, will serve to inform the final goal, the production of a new, peer-reviewed journal that will engage the diverse voices of Reed’s students, faculty, and staff, spanning all departments. The elements include: To work as an intern at one of the seven internships at both literary magazines and publishing houses to which I have applied, in order to acquire the necessary skills to develop the foundation for a journal of this nature and to become well versed in the responsibilities of managing a publication. Secondly, I will conduct research at various colleges like Sarah Lawrence and Goucher College, who are already producing similar successful publications, and lastly, I will return to propose and implement my work here at Reed.