Several years ago, I made a ridiculous decision.
Amid what appeared to be some major corporate upheavals at my workplace, I quit my full-time editorial position at a large publishing house and went back to school for my doctorate in English. At the time, it made sense to me: by signing a contract, I had at least four years of guaranteed employment (as a teaching assistant) as well as a generous fellowship stipend. I could continue my editorial work in a freelance capacity. I could afford to buy a house by living in a lower-cost community. And, I thought, I could earn a degree that would give me great personal satisfaction and allow me to teach higher-level literature at some point at a small liberal-arts college that would pay me well and respect my intellectual freedom and give me occasional sabbaticals and opportunities to work abroad on their dime.
Are you laughing yet?
A friend recently remarked that the “academic quit-piece” is a genre all its own these days. Former academic-types pen lengthy explanations for why they fell (jumped?) out of the ivory tower. I’m not going to pretend that you want to know these details, because if you are unfortunate enough to be a member of the academic class in the humanities, you already know too well what the problems in academia are. But I will say this: Over the last few years, I’ve become a better editor than student, and a better pleasure-reader than researcher; and I’m okay with that. I’m one of many who is looking for space in the world to enjoy the things that I love—words—while also paying the bills. There is room for such people out there (I’m convinced of it!); we just need to be a bit more creative. If you are reading this and thinking, Yes! Me too, then you belong here.
Now that my dissertation is done, I have my life back; and I get to write what I want. I hope this blog can be a place for readers, writers, and word-lovers of all sorts. That’s probably a vague hope, but if you are a writer, you know that sometimes your ideas don’t make sense until you’ve done the hard work of writing them down. Let’s read and write together, then see what happens. Maybe we can come up with a good idea once in a while.
Let’s be word-nerds together. Thanks for reading.
Jocelyn / (The BH)