Saturday, October 22, 2005

a. the dilemma (of how to get from a to z, that is, of what to do in life and of how to pare that vocation down to the simplest possible terms)

c. andrew likes to write in books.

d. he likes to analyze what he reads in terms of content. he especially likes works with brooding protagonists or characters that are forced to confront the crazy wildness within. if books have a theological bent (rather than religious bent), andrew likes that too.

e. he likes to analyze how authors approach the craft of writing. he especially likes books that approach their subject matter with unobtrusive personal metaphors. in this sense, he likes writing that is poetic. if books swap poetry for the colloquial voice of a particular time & place (like say 'the poisonwood bible,' 'the catcher in the rye,' or anything by william faulkner), andrew thinks it brazen and lame. perhaps this makes him a bit of an odd language snob.

f. in a related fashion, andrew likes to edit. he likes to tear apart sentences, paragraphs, and manuscripts. perhaps this curious delight represents an attempt by andrew to press his aesthetic ideals on others. in any case, andrew thinks that he has a good ear for language. plus, he likes grammar.

g. andrew may like to write. he's not sure. but once its written, he certainly likes to edit it.

h. andrew likes to learn. traditionally, he has both enjoyed school and done very well.

j. andrew could see himself enjoying the following careers: teacher and editor.

k. as a teacher, andrew would enjoy helping students illuminate life-changing texts. however, he's not entirely confident that he would measure up to the standards of insight required of collegiate professors. he wonders whether he could pull enough thoughtful content from a work to spark discussion or merit classroom respect. moreoever, andrew believes that books are important, but feels like a bit of a stoic when it comes to his response to books. like other 'deep' things in his life, andrew sometimes feels a static admiration for the sublime meaningfulness of a passage but never experiences the actual passionate response. again, andrew questions whether this might be an obstacle for enlightening students.

l. perhaps andrew's favorite part of teaching might be the opportunity to impact student writing. during his time at the spu writing center and in freelance editing,andrew encountered a lot of potentially good writing that was just plain crappy. with a tweeking, these writers could be fine. andrew thinks he would enjoy editing student papers and working with students to improve.

m. but andrew would not like playing the role of baby-sitter. he might have difficulty contending with students that lack interest in his class.

n. if andrew wound up teaching at a high school, he would want a piano in his classroom.

o. as an editor, andrew wouldn't have to put up with apathetic students. on the otherhand, he might also miss the hands-on nature of the editing that he has hitherto experienced. this could be difficult. moreover, it might take a bit of work before he reached a position where he was editing material that he found personally significant. and once he reached a position where he was editing material he really enjoyed, would he get bored of it?

q. to be a teacher, andrew would need to pursue a masters or phd (or both).

r. why andrew is worried about this:

s. so, we see that the road to a degree (800 pgs of reading a week) and job prospects for wanna-be english profs are tough.

t. andrew is also worried by the competively esoteric nature of grad school. this may be because he feels unprepared for the intense submersion into critical theory that may await him. andrew once claimed that there are no geniuses. while this claim was 90% silliness, he actually had a tablespoon or two of belief invested in it. now, he is surprised to find himself INTIMIDATED by the cerebral giants that lay in the shadows of grad school.

u. ack! andrew feels so stinkin rushed. if he pursues his initial plan of fall 2006 enrollment, he would have to study for the lit gre (where he needs a kick-butt score in order to overcome his less-than-amazing ordinary gre score), decide on schools and programs (that is, find attractive programs that can be reasonably expected to say 'come on over drew'), prepare forms for professor recommendations, find an insightful writing sample that is drenched in literary theory, prepare applications, and compose a heart-wrenching personal statement -- all in about a month!!!

w. finish work at the va in august 2006

x. during the intervening months thoroughly explore my employment options in the editing field. sign on with a publishing company or speciality journal. if nothing else, volunteer for beth's tutoring program.

y. and spend the next 12 months studying for the gres, perfecting a personal statement, scouring grad school programs for that perfect match, and then applying early.