Monday, September 8, 2008

"Not all who wander are lost."

I saw that phrase on a bumper sticker yesterday (on a car who also boasted a different sticker saying, "The only Bush I trust is my own," ah, but I digress) and since I am neck-deep in yet another existential vocational crisis, this phrase stuck with me.

I have had a direction since I was 15. I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be an English teacher. I pursued this unwaveringly for 10 years, stepping into my first classroom at 24, full of hope and direction (well, as much as a cynical melancholic can be). I left that classroom three years later resembling very little semblance of a human, much less of myself.

While I have spent the last two years recovering quite well from the experience, I still have not quite bounced back from the lack of direction. When I quit teaching, I divorced a journey to which I was blindingly committed. For this loss, I was not prepared.

Hence the constant dilemma.

So then I decided to work on opening a bookstore - great idea and still in the works BUT for the following:
  1. This economy
  2. Personal debt

So I have to wait at LEAST 2 years before I can really pursue anything there - and I doubt I can stay in this shit-sack of a job. (And that's the thing, the job sucks, but the paycheck DOES NOT).

So if I am deeply honest, all I want to do now is go back to school for literature. NOT AT ALL to teach or do anything responsible with the $25k it will cost me to get through the program, but just because I really love it. It will make me a better bookstore owner, yes, but I would be lying if I said that was the motivation.

I am just hungry for knowing.

I have school envy this September. I want new pencils and book bags. I want to wander in the bookstore with a syllabus and find the delicious text books that I simply HAVE to buy for class...I want to go to class in the morning and write, write, know, that coffee-infused time from 9-11 when you forget you exist because your concentration on subject is so keen.

So I am dreaming today of this life - looking at websites and thinking of moving to any school who can accept me and my sad GRE scores. And then, for now, for today - I am content reading Wikipedia's entries on Sylvia Plath and Carson McCullers. After which, I will begin reading T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land and find a commentary on it as well. I LOVE daily assignments.

So in the next 10 years -

  1. MA in Literature
  2. Birth a child or two
  3. Open a bookstore
  4. Write a novella

See, I am not lost just because I wander.

And yet, there is something sad about solving a philosophical crisis within me with a plan - with a direction. Maybe it's not what I need - though it certainly feels like it. Maybe I need to find a place inside where I am okay standing still with a few years of my life.

But I fear I am entirely incapable of this.

~mme. bookling


AvenueFog said...

If you can accept that life's goals are moving targets it is easier to enjoy the road you take on the journey toward them.

"Truths" at 20 bear little resemblance to those at 30, 40, 50, and on. If you find a goal you have been working towards to no longer be fitting try not to grieve for its loss. Try instead to look forward with curiosity at where this new road is leading you.

Every step you take on your path in life happens for a reason. Sometimes the reasons are immediately clear, but often you will find them in retrospect. Difficulties and frustrations today will fortify you for events later.

Find the balance in enjoying where you are today; and the road that leads to tomorrow. Be careful not to dimish either by grieving for yesterday.

You, Mme. Bookling, are surrounded by beautiful people who love you. Know that they will hold your hand and walk with you when you question the road you are on.

Andrew said...

Ah the hunger.

I am glad that the hunger for knowledge does not have to be a competetive hunger. There is no need to fight over the scraps or best cuts of knowledge. No subject is a corpse we can cut up or drain only to sustain us for the fight over the next subject. But at the same time, it is all a competition. You are stymied in your hunger for study because the almighty GRE has decreed that you are not yet fit to feed.

Fuck the academic beaurocracy.

I appreciate your dreams. Maybe it is my inability to formulate lists, maybe it is my fear of failure (maybe it is my fear of success), but I seem to have a singularly difficult time making tangibly possible dreams. Your dreams give me hope.

On another note: Does your desire of knowledge for knowing sake ever make you feel guilty? I too have the voracious hunger to know but am constantly battling guilt because of it. My desire for knowledge is inherently selfish. Though me knowing more might make the world a better place I really don't care if it does or not, I simply want more (and, quite frankly, the more I know the more I depress myself so it isn't really doing any good there unless you take a masochistic point of view).

I suppose, though, that I am also wracked with guilt because I can't help screwing with the knowledge I hunger for. Like a vampire, I feed on the knowledge only to make it like myself (and I suppose another parallel may be drawn between the imortalizationary effects of blood or knowledge). My perceptions and interpretations hijack all graspable knowledge and twist it to fit my narcissitic means. Also I am a literary doppleganger, only writing as well as that which I am currently reading, thus always feeling plagiaristic.

Sorry for hijacking your space. I belive my excessive pontifications are due to the fact that I am not participating in the normal social interaction known as a job

mme. bookling said...

my dearest andrewlific-
fear not for abscondint with my internet page. your words are welcome any and every time.

knoweldge - for me, it's hard to justify gaining it if i am not going to make money off of it. which, as we both know, is a huge pile of bull shit. money cannot and shallnot dictate my life in such an omnipotent manner. FIE FIE.

also. fuck guilt.

Andrew said...


But if you were to somehow progress beyond monetary gain as a justification for your hunger for and subsequent gaining of knowledge (which, by the way, seems to be a slippery slope towards validation only through market value and economic gain of that which is written, read, known, etc.), what would be the driving force behind your desire for knowledge?