Thursday, December 09, 2004

Slight Return

Once upon a time I wanted to be a teacher. That all ended when I went to DePaul University. And it has begun again at Roosevelt.

Nestled in the bosom of Lincoln Park, DePaul was a bright and shinning light calling me from a haze of suburban fog. I hated the suburbs. I wanted out and the best way seemed to be by continuing my education. So I applied, got in and played the game. It didn’t take long before I fell off course and far away from that relatively simple goal, becoming a teacher.

I blamed Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote a wonderful introduction to Anne Sexton’s more wonderful adaptation of the Grimm Brother’s tales, Transformations. He wrote that he would not try and explain the poems, as he gave up trying to do so when he stopped teaching. He felt it was criminal to try and explain works of art. Vonnegut also wrote about trying to lecture on Joyce’s Dubliners and not being able to say a word. He just stood in front of the students, completely silent. This impacted me so much I decided to give up trying to become a teacher. Back then I didn’t realize that writers exaggerate or just plain make things up. Anything is fair game, no matter how untrue, so long as the result is a good story. Remember that as you read anything here. Ahem.

I jettisoned school in favor of sloth. It was fun for a while, but eventually one has to grow the fuck up. After many years of playing adult, which has mainly involved working for lawyers, I am backtracking. I have returned to the old goal. I registered for the basic skills test, signed up for another semester of literature classes and reconfirmed my commitment to become a teacher. It feels like returning to an old lover or picking up smoking again—normally two very bad things to do. But this feels good. Terrifying, but good.

Anything has to be better than working for lawyers.