Thursday, July 2, 2015

Writing as the Only Choice

In response to several queries from friends, a bit more elaboration on my plans.

I applied for a number of teaching posts and have now received the standard letters proclaiming an "overwhelming number of highly qualified candidates" for each opening.

The decision to not teach part-time as an adjunct, at least for now, was best for me. I'm too tired to drive two hours (or more) to teach one class in the fall for 80 minutes. Also, teaching part-time where I wasn't renewed full-time wasn't going to be comfortable. (The hiring process still angers me.) The pay was fair, but the situation would not have been healthy for me. If I teach again, it will be somewhere more welcoming.

My passion remains creative writing, and the rhetoric of stage and screen — followed closely by the visual rhetoric of page design (including digital "pages"). Give me scripts, sets, and camera angles. I'll ponder what makes a great play vs. a great movie, and how both are evolving in our saturated media experiences.

Give me histories of printing technologies and digital type. I'll passionately debate why "hinting" isn't as good as designing font data for visual sizes (Display vs. Body vs. Captions, for example).

In the university teaching interviews I've had since 2009-10, most have asked if I would rather teach writing or be writing professionally. I've argued that teaching informs my writing, making it better because you constantly learn through teaching. Told to choose, though, I always answer that given no choice, I would rather write and hope my audiences learn from my words. Isn't that still teaching? (Trying to "thread the needle" as most writers I know also have to teach or have other careers.) I'd argue academic writing is creative, but not how we currently teach it. Maybe I don't interview well when I do get that far in the process, at least in academia.

This is why I am writing primarily, and taking on some non-profit work on the side. Teaching is important, and I will teach through my words (sometimes, teaching that someone else is smarter than I am via my mistakes).

I will miss teaching. I might teach again, someday.

But, when forced to make a choice, that choice was what it now is… creative writing in all its forms.

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