Leslie Caton is a University of Iowa senior majoring in English with a minor in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies; is in the English Honors Program; and is on the creative writing track with a particular fondness for nonfiction.
When I started my internship at The Iowa Review this summer, I was nervous. I'd been peeking in the door every time I walked by, wondering what made TIR tick. I have been a fan of the magazine for years, moved and inspired and occasionally intimidated by the level of literature between the covers.
As a teenager, I'd cope with nerves by visualizing every possible outcome of a new situation and preparing myself. No matter how much time I spent, though, reality was never what I imagined. I'm glad I don't spend much time imagining scenarios these days because I couldn't have guessed this one, either.
What I found in the offices of The Iowa Review was an unassuming group of brilliant people who have forgotten that what they do every day is extraordinary. I learned to love words again, found a rhythm and brilliance in the rules of usage that I had totally lost while trying to explain why "though," "tough," and "through" sound the way they do to a group of first graders. I learned that there are moments of beauty and insight in the middle of a work day filled with e-mails and paperwork if you work in the right place with the right people and keep your eyes open.
I learned that internships can be awesome. That preparing mail for something cool doesn't get old in the course of a summer. And that I really love the portable scanner. Thanks TIR staff for an amazing experience!