The Aukstronaut considers prickly-pear...
Analysis, Memories, Observations, Reflection

[A post to “Sibling Share”, copied & pasted]

The Aukstronaut considers prickly-pear...Since I am having trouble opening-up, let alone writing eloquently, I decided to complain to my sister (the almost-librarian):

There isn’t much doubt that I have been fretful about my career since I was fifteen or sixteen, back when I could not decide if I wanted to be a biologist or a musician. Many people do not know this but it was actually John T. Madden, the director of the athletic bands at MSU, who told me in an audition that my application was well-written and that he would rather see me get any degree at MSU (especially an English degree) than have to go to a lesser institution. That was a confusing day, Molly…

I meant to blog about these thoughts last week. Most of last Wednesday, I was feeling depressed and shameful after my visit to the therapist. Somehow, that all came out in my music (I still practice every day that I can) and started to fill my head with the idea I could have ‘made it’ if I had just practiced with the right attitude for enough hours of the day instead of, you know… making-out with my girlfriend like a teenager. I wonder if it will always be the same way with my writing: if I would have dedicated myself with the right attitude for enough hours a day, I could have at least developed a manuscript. As of right now, I have a messy constellation of poems, blog-entries, and old short stories. Yet, if I can have a good day playing the trumpet then it stands to reason I could have a good writing day — I just reached a point with trumpet where I recognized I loved it whether I was ever going to be great at it or not.

–and I still love Jazz more than most other things in life–

Reading advice from ‘successful’ writers online gives me mixed feelings — part of my self-thwarting is to avoid them entirely. John Green (who I would like to read) was probably the most helpful ~ he just admitted that he didn’t do it all on his own but also, yes, that he did work late into the night on his first book and make connections in the publishing industry. A friend forwarded me an article by another writer (whom I had never known before) and I read his list of 33 unusual tips. When I researched further, I found out that he had worked for years and years, suffered through a divorce and lost fortunes, and read religiously. After all that, I saw he had produced books on self-help and a blog of personal essays that were not that much better than mine (in other words, I have no desire to read him). So… John Green must be right: work hard, have friends who help, get lucky… but still read extensively!

In my youth I worried about reading the ‘right’ things and bought several books because I thought a well-rounded person needed to read them. I never made it through A Tale of Two Cities — and never plan to. The Canterbury Tales are in my book tub, along with several other books I have no interest in reading. I wasted so much time convincing myself I wanted to read this kind of literature when I know very well the kind of literature I want to read — experimental and post-colonial. I have Jorge Luis Borges by my bed; he’s my standby. I would really like to read whats-his-name that wrote The Kite Runner and such. World literature is what I prefer, not the English classics. There is almost nothing like that in my book tub right now. This time, I’m not going to try convincing myself that I want to read anything there…

That leads me to my conclusion: I want to go ahead and study post-colonial thought through literature. I don’t quite know how or if it will lead to great success in my life but I feel that, having lived with neocolonialism in real life through my experiences in Bethlehem, that is probably the best starting place for me as a would-be author and possible professor. Do you think I could be a teacher? Do you think I could direct a writing center? Wouldn’t it be funny if we both became WC grad-consultants (or tutors, excuse me) at the same time? Maybe before you finish, I’ll be back in school…

The main reason I want to is simply because I want to be immersed in that kind of literature without losing touch with history and current events completely. At the same time, this would mean giving-up on conflict resolution as a main career choice. Somehow, I might be able to keep incorporating activism, development, and peace studies into my work but my heart was leaning away from that so I could get back to being a word-nerd.

–which is not to say that I stopped being a music nerd or a science nerd. You know very well that I watch as much Sci-Show as I can stand. I also don’t know what I would do without music in my life, even though it competes for time with other things. I’m wondering right now…

…what I have to sacrifice in my life to finally make a commitment to someTHING instead of someONE.

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