August 30, 2006

i'm 22 now but i won't be for long

I've been thinking lately about the possibility of my career in creative writing. After getting rejected from master of fine arts in creative writing programs at Iowa, NYU, Bowling Green, Montana and Oregon State this spring, it put some doubt into my head about whether that's something I'll be able to achieve. It also makes me regret not devoting more time to my writng in college when I really had time to concentrate on it. I was happy with the work I did, but I often only wrote the bare minimum required for my creative writing workshops.
When you start thinking about the future, it's very easy to get ahead of yourself. It's a quick path from 22 to 30 when you're thinking about what you want to do over the next few years of your life. I'm 22 and none of my writing has won any school awards or been published in anything beyond Mindprints back at Willowbrook.
I'm no longer in an environment where I get to work closely with professors, have people read my work and give me feedback. Can I continue to improve on my work to the point where I'll eventually have something good enough to get me into grad school? I worry about these things.
Right now I'm reading Dubliners by James Joyce. While reading the back cover of the book, I discovered that Joyce was 22 in 1904 when he began writing the stories that would eventually become the book. That gives me some hope. Sure, he'd already published a few things before then, but nothing of great significance. And I've sort of published stuff. I am a working newspaper reporter.
Now, I'm in no way comparing myself to James Joyce. Not beyond the fact that I'm age he was when he started Dubliners. All I'm saying is, although when you're 22 and done with school it's easy to feel like you're set on the path you're life is going to take, there's still a lot of time to grow and develop.
This all reminds me of an interesting book I heard about that I'm curious to read. It's called When They Were 22. It tells the story of 100 famous people when they were 22, a turning point in their lives. An example from

Oprah Winfrey dropped out of college to become a newsreader in Nashville, and at 22 moved to Baltimore to work at another station where she landed her own talk show

Although it's easy to feel like I'll never make a career in writing beyond newspapers, I guess there's still plenty of time to make that happen. And even if I don't, I'm thankful that I do have a job doing something I enjoy. My grandfather once told me one of his regrets in life was never having a job doing something he loved. I'm blessed to have that at 22.

Theme song from The Office

In celebration of the Best Comedy Emmy. Although this year, I think I would have rather seen it go to Scrubs or Arrested Development.

Posted by dpetrella at August 30, 2006 10:43 AM | TrackBack

Yeah, I've been thinking about that too. I haven't sat down with my guitar, written a song, recorded anything (for myself or others), or even had many of those little half-baked ideas that pop up into your head nearly since school let out. I'm not really worried yet, because I was sort of in the midst of pulling off three of the more stressful changes in life, but it has been a LONG TIME.

And i dont have my artistic community anymore. Good ideas seem to usually be nurtured in community. I can't write a song and play it for 15 other songwriters that same night to hear what they think of it anymore. I can't add violin to music that I didn't write anymore. I can't play in about 30 other peoples' bands anymore. I can't even listen to real live drums anymore - if you've never been in the room with a really good drummer playing loudly, you likely don't know what I'm talking about here... Its just different. Just me and my neurosis now. My musical community no longer consists of Chase Macri and John Brittingham, with whom I would talk at great length about music... It now consists of Ryan Adams and Thom Yorke, which are rather silent on the subject of music once the cd is done playing.

Didn't mean to rant on your blog. I think I'm bored at work (on lunch). Anyway, you should keep posting your works up here, because I thoroughly enjoy reading them, and perhaps the mere act of putting your work in front of somebody (who may or may not be able to give you worthwhile feedback) will influence how you proceed.

Anyway, pretty much all I'm saying is "word."

Posted by: matt at August 30, 2006 12:31 PM

Crappity crap. I just wrote a big long comment to your comment and then hit a wrong key somehow and lost it.
Anyway, I enjoy the long comments. I knew I've left a few on your blog.
Although I've never felt a part of a writing community outside of workshops, I'll still miss that environment. Talking and thinking about writing on regular basis fuels my creative energy.
And though my job involves a lot of writing, I find more of my time and energy devoted to the reporting and fact-gathering side. Maybe that's my problem though. Perhaps I need to expend more energy thinking about how I write my stories about village board meetings rather than just focusing on what I write.
Anyway, hopefully in Nashville it won't be hard for you to find a musical community to become part of.
And have no fear, what I write will continue to get posted on the other blog.
Yeah, that's the jist of what I wrote before.

Posted by: Dan at August 30, 2006 3:13 PM
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