9/14/08

Sick Confession or, Who Reads This Anyways?

Every school had them: the kids that didn't go straight into first grade but were in a limbo year after kindergarten. At my elementary school, they called it Readiness, which, in retrospect, was kind of a direct title. I knew some folks that went into it (as in, "Where's my friend from last year?") and some folks that came out of it and they seemed cool, except that they had this issue with self-esteem (which I myself have struggled with most of my life) in the sense that they knew they were behind people their own age, suffering from the same "Where's my friend from last year?" syndrome.

Of late, I have felt the same way, like I'm greatly behind on my career or something. I feel like I'm well ahead in life, in that I'm married and in a few years, plan to start a family. All that seems to be well in progressing.

But career-wise, and maybe talent wise, I feel like I'm not developing- like I'm behind those of my numerical age group. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's very easy to look around and feel that others are progressing at a good rate and look at myself and realize I am not. Three years down in Iowa City and one to go, I wonder what I can do for myself to feel better about my position. Certainly the idea of getting out of the current job and perhaps into school will *feel* like progress, but what if I don't get into school? I certainly don't think I have the energy to keep failing at my hopes of an academic career, or at least more degrees. So what will I do with my life?

I think I will keep writing, but what will be the motivation? While I'm sure many would say there is no MFA glass ceiling, they generally aren't the ones looking up through it and knocking. I suppose the question even right now is about what has kept me writing during my three years in Iowa City? Is it something I feel I'm good at, or have I stopped developing on my own? I feel like I've gone as far as I can writing by myself right now with the only feedback being the occasional Johannes response and the equally occasional "I like the poems, but they're not the right fit for issue N." While this all has helped me develop, I feel like I need some kind of dedicated time and place to write. And I'm not talking about a schedule or a sturdy table with good light. I'm talking about a place mentally where I feel like I can concentrate on writing and concentrate on reading more and more. That's really what I want to do and that's really why I want to go to an MFA program. I want someone to give me the go ahead that I can dedicate myself to it for the long haul. I want someone to validate the life I want to have. I want to plan something and have it work out!

Speaking of, I mention that because nothing I have really *planned* has worked out: everything has either literally or metaphorically fallen into my lap, from Jennifer to Iowa. While I would certainly say I've been lucky, I just want, for once, something I've worked towards to work out. Call it whiny (I know it is), but it seems like at some point, you have to make things to fall into place and can't just wait for them to happen. However, so far, I've been better off just waiting, it seems. But how long can I wait until I'm happy with something career-wise that comes to me?

Or maybe this is it. Maybe this is as good as it gets. This library job. This insurance. This life that pays the bills and helps my wife follow her career plans- maybe that's supposed to be enough for me and I'm supposed to just stop and enjoy it rather than hoping to improve. But it's kind of hard at 25 to give up and say this is it. It's equally easy at 25, I know, to say "this is how it will always be and nothing good will come to me," and that's equally stupid.

But maybe just a bit easier, eh?

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