Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Fiction & True Confessions
Once upon a time, I was an English major. Then I lost my mind, moved to Moscow, Idaho, and tried to simultaneously attend two schools, studying theology & literature at the Christian liberal arts college and music, English & classics at the state university (while also working a job, eventually getting married & starting a family, and attending a church that was pretty absorbing). After the first day of class with the medievalist in the university English department there, talking with him about my various interests, studies, work, etc, he told me straight up that I was going to have to make some choices. I should have listened, but I didn't want to believe him. In time, of course, I moved back to Louisiana without a degree.
Anyway, once upon a time, I was an English major with thoughts of getting a PhD in English or medieval studies. I've long since abandoned such thoughts, which (what do you know?) has freed me up to read more fiction, among other things. Before, I seldom read much fiction, and what I did read was either really old - often ancient - or the sort of contemporary literary fiction that gets academic critics going. I did not read trade paperback fiction, and I certainly didn't read potboilers.
Part of reading more fiction has honestly been a survival mechanism, a means of escaping the stress of still working a job (or sometimes jobs) that I'd hoped to quit a few years ago. But part of it has also come from abandoning the stupid levels of vain ambition I used to possess (or be possessed by) and allowing myself to sometimes just read for fun now, rather than for assignments or a straining desire to better myself and my education. I realize this should be no big deal. Many, many people read "consumer" fiction - and not for work, but for pleasure or recreation. But I had to learn the hard way how to lighten up and read some genre fiction. More on this later...
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