resignvb 1. To submit (oneself) passively; accept as inevitable: I resigned myself to a long wait in line. 2. To give up (a position, for example), especially by formal notification. 3. To relinquish (a privilege, right, or claim).
I did the second one. It's all a bit scary, but as of January 31, 2011, I will no longer work at the Centre for Youth Literature. I've been there for nearly eight years now, so it's a been pretty good first job.
I started working at CYL when I was completing my Honours year at Melbourne Uni. Just a part-time admin job that I saw in the paper. When I googled CYL (or ACYL as it was then), I saw they were putting on a conference called Reading Matters, and DAVID ALMOND WOULD BE THERE. I was instantly determined to get the job, so I could meet David, who was one of my very favourite authors (still is).
The CYL Manager was Agnes Nieuwenhuizen. I kind of knew Agnes, because:
- I used to go to CYL events when I was in primary school.
- Her husband John was my high school librarian.
- She lived around the corner from my family home, and used to come into the cafe I worked in.
- Mum had been part of the Booktalkers program when her book Ramose first came out (this was pre-Dragonkeeper).
I got the job, and it kind of redefined my life. I had majored in Media at Uni, and thought I wanted to be a filmmaker. My best marks had always been in creative writing subjects, but I chose to ignore that for the more glamourous life behind a camera.
But as soon as I was at CYL, answering phones, opening mail, processing cheques, I started reading YA again. Well not really "again", because I never stopped. But I read it more. And loved it. And it didn't take long to realise that this was what I wanted, what I'd always wanted, ever since I could remember.
After a year of part-time admin at CYL, I was offered the slightly more glamourous position of Event Coordinator, specifically helping with the Library's 150 Books, 150 Years, 150 Words project, celebrating SLV's 150th birthday. I ran a competition and curated a mini-exhibition of 150 great Victorian YA books.
A couple of years later we started Read Alert, CYL's blog, and we won an Arts Victoria Industry Portfolio Award for it (blogs were new and exciting, then). Then along came the funding opportunity we'd been waiting for, and we were able to scrape together enough money to build Inside a Dog, which I project managed - and still do. Inside a Dog is getting a bit long in the tooth nowadays (it was created before Facebook went public), so I'm spending my last few months at the Library working on a full-scale redevelopment. It'll be awesome.
Oh, and I've been writing as well.
Nearly eight years after seeing that admin position advertised in the paper, I have five books published and contracts for another four. I'm published in seven countries and have won an award and been shortlisted/commended for a bunch of others. I feel ridiculously lucky to be in such a position, and thankful for all the trust and help and encouragement I've had along the way.
But all good things must come to an end, and although I've loved working at CYL, it feels like the right time to move on. New Inside a Dog will be my shiny and wonderful legacy, and it's time for someone else to put their own paw-print on it. So as of February 1, I shall be really able to put "author" as my primary occupation on my tax return. And of course the great thing is, as a writer, I'll still be around, and see all the same people as before, just in a slightly different capacity.
And who knows, maybe one day I'll get to be on the CYL program, instead of behind it!