Today as I was leaving work, a coworker stopped and asked me with a funny smile, "How do you always look so happy?" This is one of many similar comments folks have made to me over the past year, remarking on my energy or my laugh or my constant good mood. It feels great to be noticed for that reason, because that wasn't always the case. Guess what, guys? I am happy. It's been over a month since my one year anniversary at work, but I thought it was better late than never that I stop and make it public: I love my job.
In August 2016 I was hired at BookPeople as a school event host, meaning I hosted authors in schools as part of the bookstore's school event program. I helped them and the school librarians with set-up, presentations, and signings, making sure the author had a great visit. I'd report back to our children's buyer and school event coordinator about the events, writing summaries and providing photos so we could show the world how fast this program was growing, and the amazing authors that came our way. It was a part-time job, and I quickly fell in love with it.
There's something truly remarkable about watching an author present to students-- especially when it's a good group, encouraged by a passionate librarian and captivated by a great presenter. I loved hearing students' questions, or seeing them share their own work or stories with the author. I was able to meet fantastic authors and illustrators like Drew Daywalt, Jay Asher, Abby Hanlon, Mike Lowery, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and many more. I got a rush whenever an author emailed me after their event, thanking me for being so warm and welcoming-- I felt valued, and like maybe, maybe, I was good at this.
In March I was hired as the Kids event and marketing coordinator. That is now my full-time job, and I suppose, the biggest reason behind my energy, my laugh, and my constant good mood.
BookPeople is full of extraordinary people. The people who work there are artists, writers, students, booksellers who care deeply about exposing readers to unfamiliar worlds and beautiful literature. I've heard customers say, "this bookseller introduced me to my favorite author" and "I would like to meet the bookseller who makes these incredible staff recommendation cards". I've witnessed people become loyal readers before my very eyes. It's incredible. The love I get to see every day is incredible.
This year I got to introduce Roxane Gay at an event (thank you, Abby!). This year I got to chat with David Sedaris. This year I got to help build a giant Emerald City. This year I got to help make a life-size pair of scissors for The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors. This year I got to interview award-winning author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This year I got to eat tacos with Lemony freakin' Snicket. This year I got to see Jason Reynolds talk to kids about poetry and passion. This year I got to help design a book subscription service for kids. This year I got to read books and tell people what I think about them (and get paid for it!). This year I will get to meet Hillary Clinton. This year I got to make friends with people who make me smile every single day. I am happy.
Anyway, I just thought I would share my joy. It's been a strange struggle to balance the love I have for my job with my writing outside of work. I haven't been doing it as much as I used to, which has been hard, but I've been inspired and motivated in so many different ways. I feel thankful today, and incredibly privileged to love what I do. Go shop at your local independent bookstores, folks!
Thank you for reading, whoever you are. I wish you happiness, too.