There are times when I wonder if this is the right path for me. On Friday, I visited Hodges Figgis for the first time, and I started wondering what it would be like to not “be in the industry.” Like, if I were a doctor or lawyer or an office girl and had just decided to browse the bookstore on my lunch break – I wouldn’t be watching the bookstore staff arranging display tables or selecting my titles with quite the same amount of “professional interest.” And, in this alternate universe of mine, I would have had more money because I would have chosen a career in a better-paying industry.
It does occur to me that I don’t truly appreciate literature. Sometimes I think that reading was my self-education, and as high school got dumbed down, I clung to that as my escape route. It’s not that I loved literature, it’s that I had to read or die. I am so bogged down at school right now that reading, even when it’s a book that genuinely interests me, has become a slog. Listening to people talk about books all the time is kind of annoying. I’m in two literature classes right now: in one, I can’t find a toehold in the conversation or gain any traction with the underlying theory, and in the other, I am just flat out wrong in my understanding of the reading. This has been going on every week since January.
So sometimes, yes, I think of jumping ship, or at least getting a book-agnostic job that pays well and frees up time for creative pursuits in a leisurely, non-tortured fashion. I think I would have made a decent accountant. This is part and parcel with the whole “majoring in the humanities at a liberal arts school” strategy – what the hell was I thinking? And at the back of my head, a whispered answer: that someone else was going to pay my way through life.
In a way, grad school at 30 is sort of a last chance, although I know nothing in life is final and I’m obviously too stupid to give up, no matter what the signs are telling me. So I decide not to worry about getting ahead on my essays and instead sit down to read that book for class that had interested me but I didn’t think I could finish before Wednesday (and, in reality, probably won’t), and it’s good and within three pages I’m crying about the old man who has a stroke and sits at the window making chirping noises so the birds come to have conversations with him, and it gets better. Slowly, it gets better.