From Iceland — Look Out, Reykjavík!

Look Out, Reykjavík!

Published September 8, 2006

Look Out, Reykjavík!

If you read the last issue of the Grapevine, well, you’re probably not alone. Ever since I arrived in Iceland (admittedly, only just over a week ago) I have been impressed by how widely read all of the papers appear to be. Shocked, really, might be a more adequate word to describe how this appears to an American sensibility on print media consumption. I know this may be old news to you Icelanders. Being as you all read so much, I’m sure you’ve somewhere run across a blurb or ten on how well-read you reportedly are. For those picking up the Grapevine for the first-time, however, suffice to say that the locals are an updated bunch of folks.
Speaking of the press, do you know how much coverage a young copyeditor can expect to get at home in the States? Ten points to those of you who answered none. At my age, and with the unfortunate dream of becoming a writer or journalist, the most reasonably adventurous career aspiration a person could have would be of finding someone notable in the literary world to give them an internship, not pay them, send them out for coffee, yell at them occasionally, and eventually form the backbone of their flimsy resume.
The press situation in Reykjavík would appear to be a [tiny, Icelandic] horse of a different color. Being as Yours Truly doesn’t speak the native language (yet!), I am limited to two methods of discovery regarding whatever press coverage I may, miraculously, be getting. Example A, as seen here, is writing said journalistic masterpieces myself. Example B, then, is being informed of this fact by Icelanders: “Yadda, yadda… did you see they misspelled your name in the paper this morning?”
“Qua?” says I, “How did you know how it was spelled?”
“Ah, well, they got it right a couple of days ago in…”
So what, besides the aforementioned pleasant conversation with the locals, brings me to Iceland for longer than the usual leisurely trip ‘round the Golden Circle? Perhaps it is really nothing more than the promise of an opportunity for a little shameless self-promotion.
So, I am the Grapevine’s new addition. I’m a ski fanatic; originally from California and, no, I don’t wish it were hotter here and I don’t know how to surf. I am a recent graduate from a college in upstate New York. A lot of people don’t seem to know that New York has an upstate. But it does. It’s big, cold, and beer is very cheap up there. After four years of skiing, studying, partying (dude, it’s remote, what can you do?), and discovering yet more parts of an automobile that can freeze on about a weekly basis, I’m finally in a position to say that I highly recommend it if you’re into a rural vacation (which, so it seems, Icelanders are).
Following the rest of my graduating class, I partook in the annual migration southward to “The City” in search of your usual fame, fortune, and employment in the arts. I found a job as a secretary (they call them administrative assistants now) for Bette Midler’s non-profit organization, the New York Restoration Project.
They restore parks. I did things like take all of the staples out of a two-foot high stack of papers so they could be recycled and get Cher’s ex-publicist, when she would drop by, “a Diet Coke, cold, in a bottle not a can.” I won’t get too far into the details that built up to my leaving that job.
Now I find myself coming to the Grapevine after six months at The Onion’s corporate headquarters. This is a strange excuse for an office in which an entire department of people works around a ping-pong table. My responsibilities there ranged from editing to delivering large quantities of Onion coasters to local bars. Clearly, I’m a versatile girl and, to that ends, I also freelance for an American magazine called Ski Racing which covers exactly what its name promises.
Since coming to Iceland, I’ve been told that in my writing I need to refrain from linguistically hedging my bets (or, as a line-editor, other people’s bets). So, you won’t be seeing any final sentences like this one again because, in this writer’s opinion, Reykjavik is, arguably, just the place to kill that bad habit.

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Enough. Stop. Now.


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