Pumpkin Wars

It’s almost time for Halloween, boys and girls! It’s that very special time of year when we get to cast off the shackles of sartorial convention and embrace the thespian in us all. Or, as Sue Sylvester puts it, it’s “that day when boys dress like girls and girls dress like—” well, you get the picture. Add to this an abundance of pasties, puffs, candies, and chocolates, two healthy dollops of the macabre and the supernatural, and a wild saturnalia or six, and you have one of the most bizarre, hedonistic celebrations America can claim.

In other words, my favorite holiday.

I love the costumes. I love the candy. I shriek like a goosed parrot every time I go into a haunted house or hear a ghost story, but deep down I love the creeptacular too.

Sometime between birth and second grade, Halloween ceased to be a single day for me and gradually became its own season, one that did not truly start until my sister and I had picked and carved our pumpkins. For most children, carving pumpkins is a fun, straightforward event that begins in the pumpkin patch and ends with grinning (or leering) jack-o’-lanterns proudly displayed on porch steps. My sister and I, however, made a point to never do things simply if there was a more convoluted method to be had.

In my family, picking a pumpkin was not so much a selection process as it was a competition between sworn enemies to nab the perfect specimen of pumpkin-ness. My sister and I entered the pumpkin patch like drag racers armed with wheelbarrows. Bolting down the rows of squash and gourds, we set our sights on the orange prizes and piled our carts high. Trash talk—such as eight- and ten-year-olds could invent—was common.

“My pumpkin’s bigger than your pumpkin.”

“Well, my pumpkin’s prettier than your pumpkin.”

“That’s not a pumpkin.”

“Yes, it is.”

“It’s white. Pumpkins are orange.”

“It’s a ghost pumpkin, duh. And besides, you can’t even lift your pumpkin, so mine’s better, so there.

Though bitter rivals in the field, once our chosen pumpkins were in hand (and loudly touted as the Best Pumpkins Ever), my sister and I always joined forces in order to plan the best way to lobotomize them.

Insert evil laugh here Photo credit: Doctor Dan on Wikimedia Commons

Our parents never let us cut the tops off ourselves (hyperactive children + pointy objects = bad idea), but that didn’t stop me from laughing like a mad scientist when the lids were finally removed and the pumpkin brains exposed. Pointedly eschewing the spoons our parents had left out for us, my sister and I would fill our hands full of pumpkin innards and parade the goop around the kitchen, trying to smear the stuff on each other and bellowing “Guuuuuuuuuts!” like pumpkin zombies.

Eventually, we would remember why we had cut open the pumpkins in the first place and get down to carving them. In this I was always at a disadvantage, not for lack of skill (though that was admittedly scanty) but because, somehow or another, I always managed to pick the thickest pumpkin in the entire patch. (To this day, I have yet to pick a pumpkin that did not turn out to be denser than a steel bunker. I have come to believe that pumpkins, in general, must have some sort of gourdish vendetta against me.)

My kit of dinky kids’ carving knives were never a match for the thick shell, so I usually resorted to hacking away at the inside with a spoon while my sister tried to hide her smirk. She could smirk all she wanted. I had my perfect pumpkin, and now Halloween could begin.

Marit Hanson is the (other) new editorial intern at Fulcrum. Hailing from that bastion of snow and Scandinavians—Minnesota—she is a Wikipedia addict, chocoholic, and faithful advocate of all snark.

Like this?

Make sure to check out Gloria Evangelista’s addition to the Halloween canon, In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin.

Better yet, enter Fulcrum’s In Search of the Perfect Pumpkin giveaway and win the book in time for Halloween!

And for some truly impressive pumpkin carvings/designs, check this out.

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5 Reasons Why Interning Is Better than Working at a Restaurant

We’ve all heard the stereotypes concerning internships. About how they’re free-labor, waste-of-time, refill-your-boss’s-coffee-cup types of jobs. If they’re even jobs, because oh wait, we’re not really getting paid. Still, while some of these internships might warrant the stigma, I haven’t had that experience. As an admittedly terrible waitress (I can charm you all meal, but I’ll likely forget to bring the butter, and your refill, and oh, that’s Sprite and not water?!? I’m so sorry, I’ll get you a new one.), I’ve had much worse experiences. Aside from the while not getting paid enough money to eat and pay rent issue, here are the top 5 reasons why interning for a publisher like Fulcrum is a much better gig.

  1. Working = being a book and Internet nerd, not talking to myself as I stress over if I remember what side you wanted with your meal (which I could have sworn I wrote down.) I basically get to read interesting and intriguing books, and then share them with you on the Internet universe. Being on Twitter and Facebook is where I’m supposed to be, and not where I’m spending my time instead of working on my seminar thesis. (Which is a random example and nothing I would have ever dreamed of doing while in school, of course.) That’s a pretty sweet deal.
  2. I get my coffee, no one else’s. I also drink it, never forget the cream and sugar, and best of all, don’t have to juggle six plates and cups and spoons to get it to my desk. The best part? It all fits in this handy thing called a giant mug that could happen to have a meowing cat, a flower pattern, or the name of some obsolete literary journal on it to make you feel smart. So much more interesting. Also, I’ve never been afraid of tripping while carrying it to my desk.
  3. There is no nametag, no introducing myself thirty times a day, and no sixty-year-old man looking blatantly below my chin to remember my name later for when he needs to holler for more bread. (This actually does happen.) And while my email account is intern2@fulcrumbooks.com (Send me a note!), I don’t feel like Dr. Seuss’s Thing 2. If someone I talk to here doesn’t know my name, they’ve fooled me. (It’s Stacie, by the way.)

    May I take your order?

  1. I get to dress like… a girl. There is some strange man laughing at the corporate headquarters of the restaurant where I work. Somehow, he has convinced thousands of women across the United States to wear little boy’s white collared shirts and ties. Not only does it take me minutes of my life (that I will never get back) to button up the opposite way I’ve been buttoning shirts my entire life, but I look like I wanted to be a male 1920s silent film actor for Halloween. All I need is a bowler hat and a nice mustache. Exhibit A: Imagine this man with bangs, and that’s me at the restaurant.
  1. I’m one step closer to what I actually want to do. Not that bringing your calamari isn’t at the top of my list of life goals, but I think I’m going to stick with what I know: Books, Blogs, and…social media networking. (There’s no smooth B-word for that, unfortunately.) I guess what I’m trying to say, lovely readers of this blog, is appreciate your servers and your interns. Most of us have to be one (for better or worse) so we can do the other. Oh, and please be careful. Those plates really are hot.

PS: To anyone who may or may not know my name…my name is actually Diana, so if you call me Stacie, I’ll know that you not only don’t know my name, but you also didn’t read my whole blog post. [Insert evil laugh here.] I’m not your average intern.

Diana is the new marketing intern at Fulcrum. A recently relocated Hoosier, she spends her time searching for bike paths, reading classics, making milkshakes, and pretending to know everything about the Midwest. She’s also a good cook and, as mentioned, a terrible waitress.

 

Like this? Try these…

A slightly more vengeful intern: http://internspills.blogspot.com/

Want to read some rants and outrageous stories? Go here: http://bitterwaitress.com/forums/blog.php

For if you’ve lived in the mountains too long: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwestern_United_States

Viva Las Interns!

A few times a year, we’re able to have interns in the office. Unlike some companies, we take our internship program very seriously. We never take on interns unless we have real projects to set them loose on and time to provide real instruction.

This summer, we were lucky enough to have three stellar interns.

In Editorial, we had Lucy, a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute. (If you want to start a career in publishing but don’t know where to begin, DPI is a fantastic place to learn all about the industry. Many of us at Fulcrum are institute grads.) She shows great promise as a developmental/substantive editor, and she even helped us out with a number of catchy titles for our forthcoming books. (Lucy also has a connection to Cake Crumbs and The Denver Cupcake Truck, so we scored some great treats over the summer—their lemon cupcake is to die for!.)

Cake Crumbs/The Cupcake Truck

Mmmm, cupcakes.

Our other editorial intern, Moon, came all the way from the West Coast to join our team for the summer. Moon really took advantage of her time with us, taking home many projects and immersing herself in the experience. She’s well on her way to being a great copy editor!

In the Marketing Department, Sosi did a super job contributing to our social media presence, helping at a trade show, completing database projects, and finishing up mailouts, among other things. She had a positive attitude about being an intern and used this summer to find out as much as she could about all the roles and departments in a publishing company—if you want to be a great intern, be curious like Sosi. We hope to see her in the future, if she’s not coaching swim team!

Yesterday was the interns’ last day, and the office already feels empty without them.

Good luck, guys! We’re so excited to see where the future takes you.