mightysparks wrote: ↑
February 24th, 2020, 2:29 pm
First day back at uni today. Since I’m doing a writing major, it was a writing class and the lecturer asked about what people liked to read. Ok so I get that 99% of the class is made up of 19/20 year old women but only 2, besides myself, didn’t primarily read young adult fiction. One girl with fairly floss colored hair said that adult fiction was dull, slow and too dry/had no sense of humour, and the others agreed. I was surprised that none of them were into classics and either only read fantasy or random new books. Sad times.
I need to interrupt just because reading this post makes me sad. I wasn't a literature or writing major but I went to graduate school at a place with a supposedly elite "creative writing MFA" or something and the students were all into children's books (I'm not accepting "young adult fiction" as a proper literary category). You can imagine that they weren't able to hold even basic conversation about classic or contemporary literature.
That's irrelevant, though. Are you early in your university career? If so, or even if not, you have an excellent opportunity on the horizon if you play your cards right. First step, change majors immediately. Obviously your university isn't serious about the things you care about anyway and, besides, one can't make all their avocational interests vocational ones. Physics, math, electrical engineering--anything that's worth the opportunity cost. Graduate school in one of these areas is a plus but not necessary. Second step, turn your major into five solid years of business experience. No more, no less. Any more and you're wasting your life, any less and step three will be difficult. Third step, start your own consulting firm that specializes in creative content. Hire people to take care of the boring logistics even if it means taking a pay cut; you don't want to remain in the drudgery of step two forever and you'll have saved some money from previously. Fourth step, become a rising star in the consultancy world in your country; in a few years, it should be known as the premier institution for generating creative content across the spectrum of media, although with a specialty in literary content. And, more importantly, you become known for catapulting the underemployed arts and literature majors into solid professional careers, a beacon of hope for those who erroneously thought the world always fails to recognize erudition, beauty, and aspiration. Fifth step, utterly decimate the phonies whose wasted the precious moments of their creative writing degrees indulging in infantile fantasies about wizards and warlocks. They reach your desk--it goes without saying that, as principal creator, the sole area where you still actively participate in your firm's life is in screening the potential talent that gives hope to an otherwise decaying culture--and, when they do, you slightly prod them about their studies, their grand explorations into the pinnacle of human emotional life we call literature, their retreat into the dark recesses of their minds that momentarily flicker alight in pale understanding as they traverse the contours of the human literary soul, their confrontation with the inner mental Siberia that one finds when drawn into the timeless human grappling with guilt, longing, tragedy, loneliness, nihilism, and suffering, those fictional struggles that recreate in more whimsical form what the Greeks could only personify as dieties. "Uhhhh," the newly minted writing BA interjects. "What are you talking about? I like stories about wizards." It's just then that you shut their file and start them on the long shuffle out the door and into well deserved destitution. "How," you begin patiently, "can I possibly hire you when you haven't begun to appreciate or understand the one area to which you dedicated those precious, fleeting few years where curiosity and exploration were rewarded? I cannot in good faith hire someone like that." As you escort the prospective (and now failed) hire down the long hallways she's introduced to those who excelled where they have have failed: John Viereck, creative marketing manager, who during his graduate studies created the largest conceptual map of Jungian archetypes in Western literature and Sarah Liu, VP, whose published undergraduate thesis explicated the hitherto unexplored independent invention of a Sartrean existentialism in China through the lens of A Dream of Red Mansions
and Lust, Caution
. As you the approach the door to the cold, uninviting exterior world, the student realizes that this was a pivot point, that they had wasted 25 plus years of life on trivialities and that, quite rightly, the world doesn't reward trivialities, despite what their parents, teachers, and the media had taught them. This scenario will play out dozens, if not hundreds, of times over your prosperous career. Sometimes, however, you will face a last-ditch rebellion. "I don't care," the failed hire will exclaim at you but to the heavens. "You're all phonies, anyway. I won't work for the 'man', I'm going to be a great novelist." Now here comes the real beauty of surprise, a hidden step I omitted previously. You open your purse and pull out one weighty volume. It's A Tale of Spoons
and -- Oh. My. God., the student is floored -- you
are the author. How could they not have realized? A Tale of Spoons
? Probably the sole contemporary novel universally hailed as a modern masterpiece, a novel that has made hardened killers weep and sane men mad? "But . . but," they stammer; "people with jobs are supposed to be phonies." But you don't hear the last words, the door slowly having crept shut before their awestruck immobility. They turn around and feel the frigid air of a long winter before them. Weak-kneed and wobbly, a cold world within and without extends into the visible distance, and they lurch quietly forward without even the solace of literature to comfort them.
. . . Sorry I think I got carried away.