Graduate School,the Writing Life and my Biggest Fear

Last Friday and Saturday, I underwent orientation for the MLIS program at the local university. During this time I realized that my life as a writer would have to be put on hold a bit, as well as my blogging. But I’m not giving up completely. The majority of the classes are online, giving me ample time to also blog. However, due to the workload, and my work in the Archives, and looking for a second part-time job, and volunteering at the local public library, my time will be greatly reduced, therefore, I’m cutting my hours back to one post a week. I believe I can manage that and my workload. I promise not to let anyone down. There will be some exceptions, updates to the Rivendell challenge will be posted on the first of each month.

My Letter Writing Series will pick up next week on Monday.

But back to graduate school. Sometimes, a person has to determine what is more important in their life, doing the one thing they love and perhaps forgoing the money that would come with something else, and being with the one they love, whose desire for material safety has held back their life together thus far. I have chosen the latter. During a rare moment into his private workings, my fiance let me know what his greatest fear was. And it wasn’t heights. His greatest fear is being poor, and being unable to pay bills, and struggling financially. I should have been able to guess, but I suppose I let my feeling cloud my judgement. I do not fear being poor, living on well fare if I have to. I now realize why he was so encouraging in my dalliance with MLIS. It can come with a steady paycheck.

Do you want to my biggest fear? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. It’s being unhappy. It’s having to go in for a 9-5 job that I hate. It’s flipping burgers. I’d rather be poor and enjoy my work, i.e. writing, than rich and be miserable in all that I do. That’s why I bounced from one major to another to another in my college career. If I couldn’t be happy studying it, how could I find a job that I would like in that field? I am not giving up on writing, but I am giving up a career in writing before it’s even begun, because even if I had a job that I loved if I didn’t have my fiance I would still be miserable. I once believed that he was supportive of my writing, but I have seen now that I was wrong. His only encouragement is what will make us more money. MLIS, then, is a compromise. I like libraries almost as much I like writing, and it has the paycheck that he looks for.

So all that’s left is to win the lottery and never have to work again, right? That way, I can do whatever I please. But I should probably have a back-up plan in case that doesn’t work.

I promise that my next post will be far more upbeat, as I have reread this post I found it kind of…depressing. But perhaps it’s only my mindset since I’m sort of feeling disappointed right now. Still, graduate school is going well so far, and my job in the archives is far from the strenuous work of a restaurant, and I even get to work with rare books, and hang death shrouds, and order little freshmen around. So it’s not all bad, in fact, the ordering freshmen around is quite the picker upper.

Until next time then.



Filed under Graduate School, The Writing Life, Writing

6 responses to “Graduate School,the Writing Life and my Biggest Fear

  1. Good luck with graduate school.

    I understand about your husband’s fear of being poor — my husband is much the same. His family really struggled when he was a kid, and he had to watch his Mum sell of their possessions over and over, just to put food on the table. Now that he’s an adult (and father), he is terrified of being in that position, and would rather work at a job he hates than ever be put in the position of not having enough money.

    I, on the other hand, am much more like you. If I am happy, then having enough money isn’t a big deal to me, and I’d rather quit a job I hate and live on welfare than keep going to a soul-sucking vortex of pain every day.

    But then, I’ve never been truly badly off, either. I’ve never had to worry about where I’m going to sleep, or gone days without food, or had to live without electricity.

    I’ve always said that my husband keeps his feet on the ground so that I can live with my head in the clouds. Sometimes I have to do things I don’t want to do so that his need for security is met. But he also accepts that as long as we have enough money to get by, I need to be able to follow my heart. Otherwise I wouldn’t be the person he loves.

    Best of luck. 🙂

    • It seems we have a bit in common. 🙂
      I know that I used to live with my heads in the clouds. And I’ve now had my feet firmly planted. Mostly, I think I was disappointed to find that his support for my writing wasn’t nearly as deep as I once thought it was. I can understand his fear, but it is not one that I share.
      I always had a roof over my head, but so did he, I’m not sure what spawned this fear, but now I understand a quirk of his better than I used to (he watches Suze Orman all the time!). I think it’s a rational fear, but after having to slave away in the back of a restaurant (and hating every minute) I’d argue that mine is as well. There are job opportunities available, many of them are not ones that I would want to turn into a long-term career. Just imagine fileting frozen chicken for the rest of your life. *Shudder*

  2. I know how you feel. I share both your own and your fiance’s fears (though neither is truly my greatest fear). I pretty much know what it’s like to be poor (been there, done that). It’s not a condition I wish to repeat, either for myself and especially not for my children. But I also can’t not write, and I can’t not dream, and strive and reach for those dreams.

    I don’t think we can ever really give up those dreams, not the core dreams that define who we are to ourselves. We can face the reality that they are impractical, that they’re unlikely. But we can’t give them up. Giving them up is a violation of ourselves. And we’ll never be happy if we compromise our dreams for something less. Not that we can’t compromise, I guess, but we can’t abandon.

    My compromise is this: I have a day job, a real-life career. It’s what I do for a living. And while I try to excel and succeed there, I do my best to maneuver into a place where I’m doing something that I can somewhat enjoy while making a decent living. But I have to protect some free time for writing. I don’t get much. But I need some. It’s practical, but it allows me to hold to my dream and not abandon it wholly.

    So it’s kind of similar to what you’re doing now, in a way. Just don’t give up the dream itself. Keep writing, and keep at least some writing time each week as sacred as you can.

    • I really wanted to focus on my writing, and just doing MLIS for fun. However, it is going to be reversed. MLIS is going to receive the bulk of my attentions and writing will be for fun. I’ve got time set aside (and I had to schedule it in due to the heavy amount of coursework) for writing and editing, and time set aside for blogging. Like you, I can’t not write. But my focus has shifted from writing to learning/job hunting/career. I just applied for a part-time, temporary position at Home Depot. I hope that I get it because it will once again give me the opportunity to work with plants, and earn just a little extra money since my graduate assistantship really doesn’t provide enough to live on.

  3. Don’t be sad…I just heard on the radio today (I think on NPR) about an older librarian who recently wrote a bestseller. She thought that since she has been around books all this time, she might as well see if she could write one. I have been hunting all over the internet, but can’t seem to find the story…The point is, though, that your dream does not have to die. You may be busy, your writing situation may not be ideal, but don’t give up. Anything is possible. Best of luck in grad school, and always write when you can.

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