Or: A Moment of Sudden Clarity


So I’m not enjoying my job.  I’m not sure if I will enjoy it sometime in the future, but right now it blows.  I’ve also had some rejection letters from five of the ten grad schools I’ve applied to.  And yet, I had a moment of clarity today that seemed to make things all right.

I like writing, and I feel, more than ever, that I am a writer.  I don’t know if I’m an academic.  I certainly enjoy going to classes, and I usually get good grades.  But I find essays a chore.  Shouldn’t you enjoy writing essays if you’re a true academic?  I often tell myself that I just haven’t found my thing yet, the piece of literature that will inspire me to write volumes.  But this is probably my way of trying to ignore the truth staring down at me.  School is probably no longer the place for me.  And, as far as current work is concerned, it appears that the workplace isn’t the place for me either.

When I was about eighteen and struggling through my first years of university, a good friend tried something on me.  He knew that I had no idea what my future career would be – and, being an engineer, he felt that this wasn’t a good thing.  So he asked me: if you could do anything, right now, for the next five or ten years, what would it be?  The idea of the question is to get you thinking about what you should be doing to prepare for your dream career.  Maybe you would say that you want to fiddle around with machines and get them working and figure out the intricacies of how they work.  Or maybe you would say that you want to help people.  My answer was unexpected.  I didn’t know that the purpose of the answer was to figure out your career path, so I just answered, honestly, what I wanted to do.  What I said was something along the lines of: I want to explore little towns and the countryside and just see what they’re like.  I want to go everywhere and see how people live, and what things are like in different places.  This was the jist of it – I wish I could remember precisely what I said, but this about covers it.  Unfortunately, you can’t make much of a career out of exploring just for the sake of exploring.

I like to remind myself of my friend’s career-choosing tactic every once in a while.  What do you really want to do with your time?  Right now, I think it’s still exploring – but also writing.  Writing about what I find, and especially writing about the impressions and feelings I get when I explore.  Luckily, I think that, for now, my job allows me to get a paycheque while also exploring from time to time.  So maybe, for once, I’m actually in the right place for where I need to be right now.

Mont St-MichelUrnes

(Two on my list: Mont-St-Michel and Urnes Stave Church)


2 thoughts on “Or: A Moment of Sudden Clarity

  1. Hello Sweetheart, you are well missed!

    As for what you’ve said about academia and writing:

    “I like writing, and I feel, more than ever, that I am a writer. I don’t know if I’m an academic. […] School is probably no longer the place for me. And, as far as current work is concerned, it appears that the workplace isn’t the place for me either.”

    Well, I could have written (and might steal your quote) the same thing. I am unsure whether or not–for very similar reasons–whether I will even bother completing my Creative Writing MA.

    However, as you already know, I also hold the conviction that writing and the university have absolutely nothing to do with one another (except for the purposes of networking). I don’t even believe that an MA in Writing gives you cred–only your own writing can do that. Maybe I’m a bit naive, but that’s how I see it now.

    As for the working part, well *email me* about that sometime. You still have my address, right?

    I have accepted the fact that I hate work more than the average person, that “hate” is an understatement, and that I’m ok with that: I can accept the fact that some people (as Dylan explained to me) just cannot work for other people, and it doesn’t mean they’re lazy. God knows that writers work harder (and worry, and self-doubt, and fear) more than most people.

    xoxo Ems

    PS: Where are Mont-St-Michel and Urnes Stave Church? I would love to go visit!

    • I’m still not sure what I think about the creative writing MA. For one thing, it did give me about two years to do nothing but write – and I’m really not writing that much now that I work full time. And networking is true – although less networking in the sense of finding people to pad your facebook friends list/LinkedIn connections, but more learning about how other people write, and getting to see what they do. I both hated and loved creative writing workshops, passionately both ways.

      I still have your email address indeed. I am curious to know what it is that can only be told in secrecy.

      Mont-St-Michel is an abbey on the coast of western France, and the Urnes Stave Church is somewhere in Norway. Is it strange that most of my must-sees are religious in nature (Israel is high on my list)? Maybe I, too, am ready for a Catholic conversion (or re-conversion?).

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