My favourite three things in the world are — you know, beyond all the obvious things, my family, world peace, my health, a really great grilled cheese sandwich, blah blah blah — writing, teaching, and learning. By a long shot.
Now, I understand that those three words are pretty common, so I should probably qualify them a bit. Tons of people love writing, or at least the idea of writing. Or at least the idea of having a fully published book on the New York Times bestseller list. But what percentage of those people have actually written a book? Or keep up a daily writing practice? Or genuinely enjoy themselves in the process of writing? Beats me. But I’m in that subset. And that matters.
Some people are naturally fast, so perhaps they become athletes. Some people are drawn to music, so maybe they become musicians. And some people don’t just write because they enjoy it. They write because they don’t enjoy life without it. Think of someone like Steven King who seemingly cannot not write. I may not be blessed with Steven King’s ability to tell stories, but I am definitely blessed with his drive to keep trying.
I once read an entire book of Ernest Hemingway correspondence and came away unimpressed with who he was as a man. He has a lot of entertaining quotes and opinions, but when he says “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” my chuckle is sad. Hey man, maybe you shouldn’t have been a writer, then? Maybe you wouldn’t have been as miserable? Also, maybe drink less? Just a thought. But it’s important to stress that I do not bleed at my typewriter. I bleed when forced away from it.
Next up, teaching. I was meant to be a teacher. I have taught many classes. I have given many talks. I am smitten with it. I won’t bore you with all the words up above, but it’s a similar story. I need to teach. If I don’t get to learn a new thing and then share it with others, I feel adrift. Also, and I wouldn’t necessarily say this about my writing skills, I am a fantastic teacher. I love it and I’m good. That’s a pretty great combination, according to my students.
So I had a really obvious thought yesterday, after mulling it for about a decade. I should become a professor. In that job, I would be expected to learn things, write about them, teach them, and repeat. Which could not be more suited to where my interests lie today and as long as I can remember.
I met with a friend who works at the University. They explained how it all works. I volunteered my time as a guest lecturer. My first attempt is in two weeks. It’s very clear that I was meant to do this. I cannot wait.