- Kristen Ravin and her daughter, Virginia
For six years, Kristen Ravin has compiled the calendar of events for Seven Days. Those listings, publicizing everything from poetry readings to protests, are the vertebrae of the paper, the central information system from which much of our arts and entertainment coverage flows.
Wrangling the collection into a readable format requires myriad skills. There's some sleuthing involved, because not everybody sends event info to the paper. Then there's the challenge of transforming every kind of notice into an informative, well-crafted sentence — two at most. That might require distilling a two-page press release down to its essence. Or, in the case of a postcard announcing an upcoming chicken pot pie supper, extrapolation and imagination.
The more you know — about everything under the sun, including Vermont geography — the easier it is to write lively listings. And, of course, it all has to be accurate. A wrong time or date can spell disaster for event producers and their audiences.
Frankly, it's a grueling job that requires organization, time management and endurance. I did it one summer, and the task nearly killed me.
But in the end, the gig has proved to be an excellent training ground for successful wordsmiths, editors and publishers. Carolyn Fox had the calendar job for three and a half years — right out of Champlain College — before she became our chief proofreader and specialty publications manager.
Similarly, Alison Novak worked her way up from calendar writer for our parenting publication, Kids VT, to managing editor. In the June issue, inside this week's paper, she announces her next step: to full-time reporter on the Seven Days news team, covering education.
Kristen was headed in the same direction. During the pandemic, when the calendar shrank to virtual events only, she became a de facto staff writer, contributing stories to the arts and features section, Nest, Staytripper and Kids VT. You would never have guessed from her prose that she was working from Michigan. A single mom, she moved back home with her young daughter two years ago to be closer to her parents.
Two months later, she'd bought a house. Now, after two years of working remotely, she's leaving us to start a new job teaching middle school English. "Writing for Seven Days has been an amazing experience and a constant throughout lots of life changes over the past six years," she wrote to our staff, "but I'm ready to work where I live."
Hard as it is to see Kristen go, I derive some comfort knowing she'll be teaching young Michiganders how to write proper sentences.
Those kids don't know how lucky they are.
P.S. Post-pandemic event organizers are gearing up, and so is the Seven Days calendar. Think you've got what it takes to write it? Find the job description here. Applications are due by June 9.