Thursday, November 11, 2004

Feeling Human Again, and Thinking of the Ivory Tower

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed and/or posted their wishes for me to feel better. I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, and I was able to drive to work. Yay!

I didn't have time to do my writing this morning, so I'll do it now.

I finally finished Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis. Very good book, even though it took awhile to read. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Lewis is one of those authors whose works really force you to slow down and re-read and underline and think (not to mention--ack--look up words in the dictionary). So I'm going to re-read it and take notes this time. But in order to do that, I need to get my own copy (I'm using the library's copy right now). True to my English Major roots, I have the ineluctable need to underline things and make notes about (and from) the secondary sources in the text.

I even bought a notebook so I could take my own supplementary notes. And printed out what literary criticism and history I could find online ... and punched holes in it ... and put it into a special binder I bought to organize materials for further study.

I even have a special section of the supplementary-notes notebook for vocabulary words.

What am I doing in the mentally unchallenging world of Cubicle Land? Why am I not in the Ivory Tower of Academia?

Oh yes. It's because the "open-minded" folks in Academia were some of the most arrogant and close-minded people I've ever met. And I didn't want to pursue a career in which I would have to work with such people day in and day out. And I thought the whole concept of "publish or perish" was kind of silly. And, because I wasn't a feminist or a Marxist or a racist, I felt "marginalized" (to use a good academic word there). I didn't want to shape up to what I saw as twisted ways of thinking, so I shipped out (after snagging an M.A.) and moved to Cubicle Land.

Would you believe this: in my three years of grad school, I only got one B. The rest were A's. The one B I got was in ... technical writing methodology.

And what I am doing for a living today? I'm a technical writer, and a darn good one. But tech writing certainly wasn't my passion or my strength, intellectually ... it's a class I took for "just in case" I needed to "fall back" on technical writing someday. And now it's turned into a career.

So I've been thinking a lot about grad school lately--about going back. And unrelated things have merged in a sort of synchronicity in my life, and they seem to be pointing to grad school. Nothing major ... just little things that people have said, or referred to, in the course of conversation.

If I go back, it'll be after we hike the PCT. Where we live after that will most likely be dependent on where Dan gets a job, if he decides to stick with the BSA. But I'm still thinking about it. Because I do love literature. And I think I would be happy as a clam if I could be an English professor (because that's what I'd be). Maybe. I'd have to get a job at a school with friendly people, though.

Here are other things I'd like to study if I could go back to school:

Music Theory

Piano Performance



Creative Writing



General Music
(History, "Appreciation," etc.)

My favorite "subjects" within English are:

English Romantic Poetry (particularly Blake and Wordsworth)

17th Century English Metaphysical Poets (particularly Milton and Herbert)

Shakespeare (of course)

American Transcendentalism

Historical Linguistics (what little I learned of it in college)

Rhetoric and Composition Theory (I really loved this and ended up taking lots of classes in it)

Hmm ... one of the traits of INFPs are that they can't narrow down their interests ... hmm, hmm, hmm ...

OK. I've done my writing for the morning. Time to get back to work on my current software documentation hydra.

1 comment:

sarah said...

Wow - you're blog is full of good info. It's getting hard to find blogs with useful content and people talking about technical writing these days. I have just started my Latest technical writing news blog and would really appreciate you coming by - thanks again

Blogging Elsewhere

Hi, Strangers! I've been blogging with my friend Anh over at Then a Gentle Whisper . Check it out!