Monday, May 19, 2008


Thanks Kismet!

Yes it is true, I have officially graduated from college. Columbia College Chicago. Well, actually that isn't entirely true. They did the thing where they only give you your diploma cover because grades haven't come in yet and they aren't sure you really graduated. The ceremony doesn't actually mean anything in the sense of officially having a degree. So far I have one grade left to come in and my GPA right now stands at a 3.943. That makes me happy as does the knowledge that there is no way I didn't pass that class, no matter how rude, inconsiderate, or ignorant my instructor was. I'll try not to get into a rant about the bias that exists between people who favor "literary fiction" and look down their long, bulbousy noses at "genre fiction". Suffice it to say that such a bias does exist and I no longer have to get guff from my instructors on such subjects in my writing.

The big question is: what the hell do I do now? Well, I'd love to just sit around and write books all day long and make a living off my writing. As an unpublished author I am not stupid enough to believe that is going to happen right now, but I am stupid enough to believe it will happen at some point. Hopefully in a few years. It has happened to people, it will happen to more, and I have no reason whatsoever to believe that it can't happen to me. So I do. 

I had another instructor this semester who believed in me as well. This is someone who has spent his life doing what we writers do: writing. This is someone who knows the business inside and out and understands the kind of writing and writers who can make it in that business. This is someone who believes I can have a career from my writing. This isn't the kind of blind faith that parents have in their children's skill. This isn't the "if you can dream it you can do it!" kind of attitude. All of that is good because it pushes you to make what you want happen. But my instructor speaks from a practical standpoint of having an understanding of what works. And he tells me that I have it all working for me. I've never been good enough at something for someone to have that kind of knowledge of the field and still have that kind of faith in me. So to hear those words from someone who had no reason to make it up and lie was incredible and just what I needed.

So I believe I will have what I want and make a career of my writing. That's not going to happen just yet. First, I need time to finish the novel. Then I need time to submit (who knows how long before it is accepted) and then the typical two years of publishing will likely go by. All the while I will be writing the second and third and fourth novels and every other thing that falls into my head that I can put on a piece of paper or a computer screen or the corner of a napkin if that's all I have. As for the time being I am doing what every other college graduate does when they have a degree and a lot of free time: looking for a job. I try not to think about it or agonize over it when I don't have to and instead turn my energies to writing and martial arts (my second passion).

In the end, I made it. I got through four years of college, two and a half of which I spent wasting away my talents in the film/video department. I've made it through thousands of pages of writings alone not including the other thousands of pages of homework, responses, papers and tests I've done. Everyone asks me if I have a sense of accomplishment. Honestly, not so much. I know I accomplished a lot but mostly I'm left with a huge sense of relief that I'm done. Relief that I have a degree and am confident in the writing skills I acquired working for that degree. Relief that I don't have to take one more general education class, or feel like I'm wasting my time and money in a class and with an instructor that makes me want to scream or rip out hair (not my own). Relief that I don't have to go to class anymore, or do anymore assignments when I'd rather be writing, or read anymore books that I hate and fill me with the desire to rip it to shreds. 

A sense of accomplishment? No. Relief? Yes. Confidence in the writing skills I've developed? Yes. Awe when looking back at the person I was when I first started college? Of course. I never imagined I could change this much. But it's not the end. College was never an end it was just a part of the path.

Columbia, I bid thee farewell...

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