Works and Days

Textbooks and the Oregon Coast: Winter Externship, Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin, junior English major, participated in a winter externship on the Oregon coast with Ruth Werner, author. Nathan is also a recent winner of this summer’s President’s Summer Fellowship, to pursue poetry writing in the desert.

I'm used to textbooks. I've been buying them now for over four years.

I'll continue buying them for another one to three years, depending on
what I do after Reed. I don't think much about where these books come
from. I've cursed when the edition I need is a hundred dollars and the
previous edition is fifty cents. I've cursed louder after finding out
I could've used the older edition after buying the new one. I've also
been fond of textbooks. I had a history text at my community college
that surprised me with the effectiveness of its question and answersunset format. I do love books, but that love has never extended to textbooks. It still doesn't, but now I know a good deal more about where they come from.

Ruth Werner wrote a pathology textbook that's become immensely popular and successful in the world of massage therapy education. This is a world I was only vaguely aware of before spending nine days as her extern at her home office on the Oregon coast. Ruth had not had anextern before,but she was happy to dream up tasks for me to help her with. I did not want for a challenge, nor was the work too difficult.

I ended up updating a portion of an appendix on medications, which was less daunting than it seemed at first. I had other reference books, Ruth, and the internet all there to help me, and the process of theupdate gave me a ascinating look at the inside of textbook creation.

We began working between nine and ten a.m. every day, and stopped
working around four or five. This was really a boon to me, as a
regular schedule is something that's always been difficult for me to
maintain, especially during breaks from school or a job. I not only
learned about Ruth's process for breaking a major project up into
smaller pieces, but got to see one way of scheduling that work into your life without having a company setting to be physically immersed in. This was an invaluable lesson for my own writing practice.

Aside from working each day, there was also time to spend out on thebeach, which was only a short stroll away. I went out with their dogs,
got to see surprisingly clear pacific sunsets in January, and even had
a chance to get up to the aquarium in Newport. This externship was a
fantastic opportunity to get out of town and learn about skills that I didn't know I had.


Tags: winter externship, externship, textbook, writing, reference