I Can (And Will) Do Hard Things

This week, we launched our new (hypothetical) book imprint called “Brink.” It has some pretty gritty subject matter (secrets, lies, drugs…that whole shebang), and I am charged with designing the books’ cover art. Long story very very short, in my attempt to design “art,” I was rescued  from complete frustration by my dear friend, Josh. And, we (really he) turned out some pretty good drafts of covers. I’ll post those later this week.



This week has been a good one. I simply cannot believe I am two-thirds done with this program! It has been incredibly challenging. But, in all of this, I have learned something about myself: as scared as I was to do this, I still did it because I knew it was right. This is a pattern for me–one that I am proud of. I served a mission for my church. I chose it, and I knew it was going to be hard. I was 100% correct. One of the hardest things I’ve done. But it was right. Going to college was also very hard at first. But it was right, so I forged ahead.

In all of these hard but oh-so-right experiences, I have found unimaginable satisfaction and reward–I can’t emphasize that enough. But the reward has only come upon completion and accomplishment of the hard task. That cannot be manufactured.

I will continue to do hard things.

Ok, so in-class highlights:

Since I have more of an interest in the magazine side of publishing rather than in the book side, I have found the book lectures to be less intriguing to me. Still I take copious notes because it is all valuable stuff. Some of my favorite speakers this week are professionals in the book industry, specifically cover artists. Lauren Panepinto (Creative Director, Hachette Book Group) and Lucy Cummins (Art Director, Simon & Schuster) were definite stand outs. I think it’s mostly because they were hilarious! Nothing is better than learning under the guise of entertainment.

The other major stand out was Robert Oueste, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins Press). He taught us about metadata. Sounds riveting, right? It’s not. But he taught it in such a way that I didn’t mind the dry subject matter. It must have been his cheery demeanor coupled with his awesomely bad dad-style jokes and sweet ‘stache. I wish I had a picture. He was rad.

So, highlights from the outside-of-class stuff:

On Tuesday, I decided to make a very conscious effort to not complain. I tend to complain more than I’d like. Anyways, I don’t know if it was the lack of complaining or just the nature of that day, but Tuesday was fantastic! We had a really cool evening at Time, Inc. It was a cocktail party. But unlike the cocktail party from a few weeks ago, this one was hosted specifically by Time, Inc. They threw the party just for us.

After learning about the program, they sought us out to network with us. I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that we, as students in this program, are desirable to a company like Time, Inc.! The night started with a really interesting lecture by Collin Bodell, the new CTO and EVP of Time, Inc.

Then they opened up the terrace for us for a networking party. Yeah, that’s right. The terrace. What a view, right?

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We circled around talking and chatting with people who wanted our information and wanted us to work for them. I felt like I had a slight advantage, being one of the very few who doesn’t want to stay in NYC. Time, Inc. houses the editorial departments for all of their lifestyle brands down in Birmingham, Alabama rather than in New York. So, I was pushing for that.

On Wednesday night, I got to see my brothers. Keenan was in town again for business, so he, Collin, and I went out to dinner in MiMa at a Cuban restaurant called “Pio Pio.” So delicious. And the ambiance was unique. It’s one of the bigger restaurants I’ve seen in NYC…many of them are absolutely tiny.

The walls in this restaurant look like wallpaper…but nope. That is actual textured branches lining the walls and ceiling of the entire restaurant.


On Friday, after school, I met Collin at IKEA. I got there by way of bus. The bus system is mostly just like the subway: predictable and kind of gross. But reliable.

I was expecting IKEA on a Friday afternoon in New York to be insane. It was almost empty. And I loved it.

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After a quick trip there, Collin and I walked down the street to an incredible grocery store. Did I mention that I LOVE good grocery stores? Fairway Market takes the cake. Housed in an old industrial building right along the water in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Fairway Market is beautiful inside and out. The colors of the produce…the cheese counter…the olive oil and vinegar room…


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After browsing and wanting to buy everything, Collin and I enjoyed some eats and some chatter about life on the back patio of the store. Best view from the back of a grocery store that I have EVER seen.

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Saturday was filled with me being ridiculously frustrated at the design process. I sat in front of my computer trying to manipulate images in Photoshop for hours, and literally had zero work to show for it. (That’s where Josh came in and saved the day.)

With the graphic novel book genre assigned to me, I can’t help but feel immense pressure to deliver stellar book cover images. I mean, graphic novels are all about the visual. At best, I am a novice with Photoshop. Give me InDesign anyday, and I’ll deliver. But Photoshop and Illustrator…ugh. I’ll need to get more training in those before I can feel comfortable enough.


There are so many people in the program already applying for jobs, and some even sneaking away during lectures to go uptown for interviews. It’s not unheard of for someone to find a job while they’re here. I, on the other hand, am not in as much of a hurry. I mean, I need a job ASAP, but since I don’t really want to remain in NYC, I am limited at the moment. Plus, I have a small cushion of time since I have to finish out my summer out west. I just don’t know how anyone finds a spare moment to research jobs during this program!


Well, I should sign off for now.

The coming week will include details about Hoboken (New Jersey), the Manhattan temple, the 4th of July, a Broadway play, and my birthday!! Oh yeah. and some school stuff. 🙂


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