The following is a recollection of the Wednesday Intern’s experiences. Most of this it true … or at least as true as it needs to be.
A warning to any future interns of Busybird Publishing: a thorough knowledge of 80s music is a necessity. It’s more important than publishing, or editing, or anything you’d expect to be useful to this job. (You know, the thing that you signed up for.)
The managing director – this guy called Les – is absolutely obsessed with it. I think he secretly has a shrine to Bon Jovi hidden under his desk somewhere, with leather fringes and Eau de Mullet lining the shelves.
I’m probably going to be fired for writing that.
But seriously – half of the work is trying to guess who’s currently playing, and what year it was produced and if their blood type was O or AB. And it trips you up, especially if you’re in the middle of formatting. One minute you’re reading about a knight fighting a dragon, and the next the chapter you had highlighted is now missing.
Which so totally didn’t happen, Kev. I promise.
As another warning, save an untouched file of any manuscript before making any changes. You never know when you’ll need it.
I learnt the hard way not to feed Oscar the Labrador.
Oscar is a sweetie. He’s the most handsome worker at Busybird Publishing, and deserves to know. And in doing so, I gave him a slice of devon. For those who don’t know, devon is a pink mystery meat made from off cuts of meat, animal intestines and probably hooves. Gross? A little. Delicious? Kind of. South Australians call it fritz. Calling it something like fritz helps you take your mind off what it’s made of.
Anyway, I fed it to Oscar, and thought nothing of it. An hour later, I’m scanning some illustrations for a biography in Les’s office and Oscar came to sit at my feet. Not too long after, the air around me became flammable.
I side-eyed Les at first. Surely not? Then over the next two hours, any time Oscar brushed past me the same eye-watering stench reappeared. Kev and Les swore up and down that they couldn’t smell a thing – which means Oscar was doing it on purpose.
But I figured out a way to deal with it.
Quickly before I sign off, I finally knew an 80s song that played! I heard the opening bars of Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69. I was so excited. I shouted it to Les, who replied in his usual upbeat, positive fashion.
“I don’t care.”
Publishing isn’t always glamorous. Case in point – non fiction books. More specifically, encyclopedias. Long, long, medical encyclopedias. (No offense to encyclopedia afficionados.)
For the entire day, my job was to make tables and copy and paste information into them. Make table, copypastecopypastecopypastecopypaste. Six hours straight.
I want to make it clear that I’m not complaining. As an intern, it’s my job to do the busywork, the stuff that makes things easier for the actual workers. But it’s important to paint an entire picture. Publishing isn’t just getting paid to read books, pick bestsellers and rub shoulders with authors. A lot of the time you’re mashing your head on a keyboard because the formatting JUST. WON’T. WORK.
Just ask Kev and Les, and the indents in their foreheads.
I have a theory that Les and Kev are trying to eliminate their interns. (Allegedly – but why else would they have a literal skeleton in their basement?) First it was by Oscar’s gassing. Then it was the day of formatting. Today, it was by threat of falling and cracking my head open on the cement.
For Open Mic Night, the blackboard sign outside needed to be decorated. I put my hand up to do that – failing to remember the steep, rocky ledge that has absolutely no way of getting up besides climbing it. And I was wearing skinny jeans. But I got it done! I was quite proud of the result too.
Then at 6:30 it rained. All the chalk washed off before anyone showed up.
Carly Mitchell, Publishing Intern