Why I’m an English Major

I’ve got a music degree that’s displayed in the cheapest of frames on the wall in my basement. Can’t say I do much with it. Occasionally I still make music for myself, but I no longer partake of the idea that a career in the industry is for me. The market is over saturated as it is, and more music schools are coming into existence than are necessary to fill the potentially available careers. I haven’t even played the drums since last May. In that regard I don’t feel like the person I’ve come to know as myself, and yet the distance has permitted adequate reflection that I’ll expose in the near future.

Instead of chasing that musical dream full time I went back to the monotonous routine of a day job. Once or twice I joined bands on a whim and did bits of drumming for local musical theatre companies, but nothing concrete formed. Those are the fleeting moments I still dream about. But I went back to school, and between that pursuit and the day job, I am left with little time to consider music. I blame no one but myself in that regard.

This March I’ll have been in the hospitality industry for five solid years. It has afforded me the opportunity to study on the clock, and obtain the coveted ‘experience’ demanded by the majority of employers offering entry level positions. I’ve been promoted to assistant manager, and the place supplied the foundation for the setting of my first novel, The Blue Moon Catastrophe.

You’re going to school for another degree in the arts? Why would you go back for yet another worthless degree? In a time when there’s a slipping enrollment in the humanities is the desire to become an educator applicable? Novelist pipe dreams? Both academia and fiction publishing are over saturated fields: you’ve been down that road with music! From a realistic point of view there is little hope, a fact of which I’m well aware.

Have I learned nothing? Some would call this madness, and I’m somewhat inclined to agree with them. Above all else I desire to become a better writer. Some would argue that the practice of writing alone should suffice, but the serious study of literature will contribute to the goal as well. I’m an English major because I want to take my lifelong enthusiasm for reading and apply it to a better understanding of… everything. I’m an English major because I want to produce better novels. I am an English major by choice and stand by my passion.

I think Fitzgerald best summarized the union of hope and realistic expectations with the famous lines, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Some men think, and therefore are… I write, and know not.


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