Ahh, mornings. There’s nothing like pouring that first cup of coffee, setting it on your desk, and then chasing down a toddler who’s ripping the cover off an old Hemingway novel. Then changing a diaper, preparing a fresh fruit breakfast, and reading some children’s books until nap time. Then dumping out that cup of coffee you sat down earlier and pouring yourself a second cup of coffee. I wouldn’t trade this routine for anything. Enjoy your morning, everyone.
The main reason for this blog is to get me to write. I’m still not 100% sure how to get a job with my English Degree, but I’m hoping that it will involve writing in some capacity. This includes creative writing, which I haven’t done very much since leaving school. Or at all. OK, I haven’t done any creative writing at all for a while now, but I hope to change that. Rather than just writing something creative for the sake of having it here, I thought I would start by posting something that I wrote a few years ago that I really like. Before that though I thought I would bore everyone with this rambling paragraph. Anyway, here is my (very short) short story:
A Rose for Bethany
By Travis Milam
Bethany use to feel like a prisoner when she looked out at the world from her bedroom window. The mountains that straddled the long valley had seemed like giant fences, and the hickories and elms at the edge of the drive had been like a closed gate, swallowing the road.
Just to the left of the drive hunkered Hank’s shed – the guard tower of Bethany’s prison. It was a ramshackle edifice of scrap wood and rusty nails, punctuated by a stove pipe that would have normally been spinning out a steady stream of grey-black smoke at this time of year. Looking at it, Bethany could almost smell the whiskey overpowering the fresh scent of lilacs; she could almost feel the beatings and the rapes. But now the warden’s office was dormant and dark, its dusty windows devoid of the pale glow that often emanated from the hanging bulb within. Hank’s heart – the dismal thing that it was – had finally given up on him, just like Bethany had done years ago.
Bethany exhaled, and felt a great weight leave her body with the outrush of air. Now, she found the view from her window to be breathtaking – beautiful even, aside from Hank’s decrepit shack. The mountains she gazed upon seemed to exhale as well, inviting her to explore the world beyond their boundaries instead of conspiring to seal her within their walls. The wisps of cloud that encircled the distant peaks no longer reminded Bethany of Constantine wire. Now they looked like halos. No longer did the trees seem to swallow the road. Instead, they parted for it as it wound its way down through the valley.
Tomorrow, she would call for a bulldozer, and have that shambling tyranny, standing now like a crumbling sepulcher, removed from her lawn. Then she would plant a rose garden.
I came across this website that lists “Unemployment rates by Major” and I was shocked that English Majors aren’t at the top of the list. In fact, it looks like “Industrial Design” and “Cultures/Civilization” top the list at 23.1%, while English Majors have only a 4.9% unemployment rate. The website is kind of a mess visually, has ads all over the place, and sites no sources other than alumni survey results from an unnamed institution, so I’m sure it’s an 100% accurate reflection of unemployment rates across the board.
I think that if these numbers show us anything, it’s that Industrial Design and Cultures/Civilization Majors think they are too good to work at call centers, while most English Majors don’t have this reservation. Either that, or English Majors love to lie when they take alumni surveys, while most Industrial Design and Cultures/Civilization Majors are brutally honest.
I’ve been looking online and in the paper for months and, unfortunately, I haven’t seen any classified ads that read similar to the title of this blog post. I know that there are people out there writing things, because I read things all the time. Cereal boxes, pamphlets, microwave instruction manuals, billboards… All of these things have writing on them; I’ve seen it.
Where do the people who write these things go to find work? (Kellogg’s talent scouts: if you’re reading this, you should know that I have some great story ideas about Snap, Crackle, and Pop that I think would be perfect for the back of a Rice Krispies box. Call me.) I’ve seen postings for writing-related positions, but they always want “experienced writers,” which begs another question: where do all of these experienced writers get all of this experience? Why isn’t writing about how delicious Pop Tarts are an entry level position? I have over thirty years of experience eating things, but I can’t find one person who wants to pay me to write about what these things taste like.
A lot of places also want writing samples, which I have plenty of, but I’m not sure that New Critical essays on The House of the Seven Gables and Huckleberry Finn are what they are looking for. I assume they mean professional writing samples that I wrote while doing the mysterious work necessary to amass the five years of experience that I also need for the position. So that looks like another dead end.
Then there are job postings that want “blogging experience,” or “sample blog posts.” So I thought: “Hey, wait a minute! I could start a blog!” So I immediately sat down and created a blog about roleplaying games, a topic so eccentric and geeky that it clearly wouldn’t work in this capacity. Then the light bulb came on all the way, and I created this blog. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it.
(Note: The “Related Articles” below have not been peer reviewed. I have no idea what the content is like. It looks like they talk about The Catcher in the Rye and Nathaniel Hawthorne though, and I did a little too. So in that sense they are related.)