Fare Thee Well, 162: A Day in the Life of a Grub Street Intern

By Ariel Goldberg

Wake up, get dressed, ride T, drink coffee, open laptop, check email, make copies, eat Boloco, check email again, close laptop, go home. Simple, right?

Grub Street interns run on one thing: coffee. That’s actually far from the truth, but it definitely felt like it last weekend. Anyone who was fortunate enough to be at Muse 11 had the incomparable pleasure of seeing my glorious mug at the registration table at 8am (which, despite the fact that I work in a coffee shop, is early).

The truth is that we are the mighty stone pillars who hold up the foundation of 162 (formerly 160) Boylston. We are the Stonehenge of Grub Street; no one quite knows what we’re here for, but we obviously have some mystically important purpose. We hail from near and far (although a not-so-surprising number of us come from Emerson). We are undergrads, postgrads, writers, editors, designers, and so much more.

The truth is that without us, the staffers wouldn’t know who’s registered for classes, GrubStreet.org would be riddled with typos and coding errors, Grub Daily blogs might be left unposted, The Rag wouldn’t look nearly as good as it currently does, class syllabuses and handouts would remain uncopied, phones would ring answerless eternally, memberships would never be recorded and membership cards would never be made or mailed, events and workshops might be left unscheduled and unposted on the website, tax information would be incorrect, @GrubWriters tweets would never be written, hors d’orveures at member events and readings might be dumped haphazardly on plates, those brilliant red folders with their little “g” labels would never exist, white-boards would remain uncleaned, garbages would overflow (and trash bags would be nonexistent), toilet paper would be left unreplenished, Keurig cups in the kitchen would never be replaced, the 5th floor might not open on weekends, 162 might literally cave in, and let’s face it – the office would be nowhere near as full of good-looking people as it is now. It’s not that the wonderful (and sharp, in all meanings of the word) staffers are incapable of doing these things themselves, but rather that they’re so busy doing so many other things that they’d each need a clone to get it all done – which is where we come in.

Just for this year’s Muse, my duties included coding presenter photos and bios for the website, copyediting every single Muse page online, conducting and then posting micro-interviews to the Grub Street Daily, compiling a list of books for Porter Square Books to sell at the event, organizing seating charts, editing down presenter bios to fit them all into the weekend program – and then copyediting said program, compiling the presenter Twitter list, manning the registration table and training other volunteers, tweeting about the conference, and innumerable other small tasks whose completion ensured the weekend’s success. This likely reads like a resume, because as I write this I am preparing to go off and get a real job in the real world.

Four years ago I was a naïve Emerson acceptee with dreams of being the next Maya Angelou or New Yorker editor. I’ve interned at magazines, worked at on-campus publications, and spent hours curating my Google Reader to thoroughly reflect the kinds of places at which I’ve hoped to work since middle school. But no work has fulfilled me as much as – and nowhere has made me feel more at home than – Grub Street, whether it be memories of sitting in on a workshop with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, bartending with Richard Russo and Hank Phillippi Ryan (among others) at Grub Goes…Up!, crouched on the floor of the instructor lounge attempting to piece together the pages of a handout that our copier managed to destroy, or getting to shake Lois Lowry’s hand. My job searches have switched from strictly editing and publishing work to intrigue in nonprofits, and in this subtle personality change I think I have become and will forever be a Grubbie.

In three weeks, I’ll be heading south on an epic quest to New York – The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, and (most importantly, for me) a major publishing hub. I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Amy McKinnon a few weekends ago, who told me upon hearing I was gearing up to enter NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, that she wished she were me. But now I wish to be her, because a piece of me can’t bear to leave this place. And I guess, in small ways, pieces of me will remain here – in the words and pages I created and edited for GrubStreet.org, in the quotes that I helped choose for the “Sponsor Our Stuff” plaques, and in the shelves that I stocked with Grub author books after the move.

Thanks for the memories, 162. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon.

(And in the meantime, come visit me here and here!)

About the Author

GrubWrites is a space for the writing and reading community to share ideas and seek advice, a place where writers at the very beginning of their careers publish alongside established authors. Book lovers, we bring you reviews, recommendations, and conversations with exciting new authors to keep you up to speed on all things lit. Writers, this is your one stop shop for expert craft talk, opinions on how we learn and teach writing, and essential advice about the publishing industry.

Plus, we want to hear from you! Our ongoing call for submissions is open to literary community members of all types and persuasions. We want to hear from students, teachers, authors, readers, editors, agents, publicists, and any devotee of the written word. If you have something to say about writing, reading, the publishing industry, or anything related to the literary world, this is the place to voice it. We’re particularly committed to advocating for a diverse range of voices in the literary marketplace and raising the visibility of writers from under-represented communities.

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