Monday, May 08, 2006

(W)rite of passage

Greetings from Florida. As I’m sitting here, alone in my rather posh hotel room, I’m reminded of my first sleepover (which, I think, in typical 8-year-old style, I called a “spend-the-night”). It was an exhilarating experiment in independence; a full assertion of personhood. But it also forced me to think about choices I make regarding simple things like bedtime and food and more significant activities like which conversations and activities to participate in.

If my first sleepover was a sort of rite of passage as an adolescent, attending my first professional conference is a coming-of-age experience for me as an editor. Here, without my husband, home, family, or dog, I am not first and foremost a wife (at least, in the sense that I don’t spend most of my time and energy thinking about how I can make my husband’s life easier, etc.). Rather, I am an editor. I certainly don’t wish to become a prominent career woman, but I find it immensely helpful to be here, apart from my regular work environment, thinking critically about the way I do things as an editor.

The workshops have been great so far. I realized this morning, listening to successful, forward-thinking editors from other magazines, that my dissatisfaction with my role and job over the past weeks is really stemming from a need for a mentor. I’m only two years out of college, and I don’t know what I’m doing—and I’m pretty honest with myself about that! So I could really use some guidance from someone who’s been there before—whether that’s in the form of a book or a boss—to help me find my footing.

If I take that realization and dwell on the absolute dearth of potential mentors in my life, I’m likely to be disappointed and depressed. But I actually find this liberating; now I’m free to search for editorial guidance and inspiration (which actually sounds like fun)!

I also had the marvelous opportunity to see and hear Andrew Peterson in concert today! For some reason (I can't figure this out) I haven't really been a devoted fan of his. But geez, if you know me at all, you know that I'm a total and complete sucker for titles like "The Far Country," and I'd love to sit and talk with anyone for an hour or so about whether we're in the far country, or whether that's where God is. And so, I suspect, would Andrew Peterson. If you're interested, check out his songs, "Loose Change," "The Havens Grey," and "The Queen of Iowa."

I also went to great seminar about communicating in the media of web 2.0, which seems like it could take forever to penetrate the BICmosphere, but we'll see . . . for the first time in a long time I actually have a couple of ideas.

I miss Mr. Incredible and Lewis, and am a little sick of wearing a name tag . . . but overall, this is a great experience for me. Now if I can just keep from getting eaten by alligators. Seriously, downstairs next to the pool there's a murky lake (although I think they call it a lagoon) that has signs all over the pier warning people not to feed the alligators. I'm going to make another visit down there later today to see if I can catch a glimpse of one of these magnificent reptiles . . . if you don't hear from me later this week, you'll know what happened.

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