Holy shit, ya’ll! I did something crazy! Last Friday, I sent my application to BuzzFeed London for a summer Writer Fellow position!
I think I hinted at engaging in something that could be a life-changer in my Wednesday post last week. I figured I had better explain further.
After an especially stressful day teaching, I started searching for writing gigs. I was suddenly struck with the thought, “What about BuzzFeed?” So, I searched their job opportunities, saw the fellow program in London, and was just like, “HOLY SHIT. YES!”
Not only is this gig in my favorite city that just happens to reside in my favorite country, it is a writing opportunity for the summer (I have been on the search for a summer job abroad). It really couldn’t have been more perfect.
I first saw this job posting last Monday and the application was due that Friday.
This wouldn’t have been that big of a deal for Last-Minute-Lorna (one of my many alter-egos), but the application requirements were intensive.
Not that that is a bad thing. I mean, I’d rather apply to an organization that only wants the best of the best than an institution that has no standards, but I had a week to get it all done. A week.
This sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. It.really.isn’t.
This is what was required to apply:
- 3 non-fiction pieces that are at minimum 1,000 words each (I sent Aerial Antics, Linda, and Felony Stop)
- A cover letter including:
- 3-5 pitches that the applicant feels are relevant and that BuzzFeed London would be interested in
- 2-3 literary influences that have helped shape the applicant’s writing, perspective, and style
- Career goals and what the applicant would want to accomplish if given the opportunity to work at BuzzFeed London
The pitches were the hardest part, and what I spent most of my week on. Not only did I want to come up with original (or, if not entirely original, a new, Fatty McCupcakes-esque spin on an existing theme) ideas, I needed to make sure they would fit within the culture of BuzzFeed London. I revised and edited precisely a million times. I also enlisted the help of my editor and two English friends who are also fellow writers.
(Somehow, even after re-reading precisely 8,457 times and handing my draft over to my editor, I messed up my numbering and there were a couple pretty glaring typos. Woes is me, I cunt count. So, likely, my application was immediately sent to the trash bin.)
My literary influences and the write up I sent is as follows:
As white-girl-basic as it may make me sound, Sophie Kinsella is my writing idol. At a time when I was still young and dumb enough to think that getting myself out of debt snafus was as easy as having an upscale yard sale, Kinsella was my spiritual guide on all shopping, love, and oh-shit-I’m-really-screwed matters. Her character, Becky, was a cooler, more British (like, a lot more, since I’m zero British), savvier version of myself. What I learned from Kinsella’s writing was how to reach my readers on a personal, relatable level. In reading Kinsella, I learned the fine art of self-deprecation-poking fun at one’s self and pointing out personal downfalls without seeming whiny or oppressed. Not to mention, Kinsella’s humor and hijinks have been the basis for how I’ve found my own writer’s voice.
The Twelve Little Cakes by Dominika Dery was the first memoir I ever read. In hopes of weaning me off Kinsella, my mom purchased this book for me at the Dollar Store, no less. She thought it looked meatier than your average chick-lit book, and it had “cakes” in the title. She figured it would be a win. For once, my mother’s literary suggestions paid off, and I was utterly engrossed by Dery’s life growing up in Communist Prague. It was in this book that I found the beauty in telling a story about one’s life, however mundane. Dery’s life was by no means unremarkable, but the real essence of her story was found in the simple goings-on of her family. Because Dery told her story in such a way that you could have sworn she lived right down the street, every word was like coming home. Dery’s The Twelve Little Cakes has been hugely influential for how I write my own beautifully mundane stories.
I was first introduced to Khaled Hosseini via the movie, The Kite Runner. Strangely, The Kite Runner was not my first reading of Hosseini, but A Thousand Splendid Suns. This books sits on my nightstand, dusty, but not forgotten. Hosseini was my first introduction into the beautifully chaotic Middle East and the misunderstood Islam faith. Before having read a book on the topic of Islam, written by a Muslim author, I was blind. After delving heart first into A Thousand Splendid Suns and then devouring book after book on the Middle East, I am now intoxicated by the rhythmic prose and haunting stories of suffering, love, and loss found in Hosseini’s books. As a writer, I have learned from his books how to tell a deeply complex and emotionally charged story with only a few words.
I am hoping that my three literary influences show that I am complex, a deep thinker, and am open to new perspectives, and not just a basic, white bitch. Because, as much as I am basic, I am multifarious.
So, now I wait.
Honestly, it was most likely a crap shoot, a shot in the dark, a first step of many yet to come. But, a part of me is holding out hope that I somehow stood out among the thousands of others applicants. And, those applicants had worse typos than me.
I feel insecure sometimes about my ability. Do I even have an ability to write? Am I relevant, but original? Can I bring up serious topics without alienating my readers? Will I run out of ways to be an asshole in my writing? Will I fail to come up with ways to poke fun at myself and be self-deprecating?
Am I even a writer?
This is my deranged-self-conscious-waiting-to-hear-about-an-opportunity-I-really-want-behavior.
I don’t even know if the rejects will hear if they were rejected. I guess if it’s July 1st and I’m not on a plane to London, I didn’t get it.
WHAT DO I DO IN THE MEANTIME?
Just be glad you don’t live with me and have to deal with this on an hourly basis. My poor, poor boyfriend.