When Writing Was Relevant

Ah, wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back to the days of minstrels and ballads? When your only form of entertainment was hearing about the derring-do and exploits of some roguish knave, spun into lyrics and cooly couched into a lilting melody? Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to the days of AM radio, when family members put aside their differences to huddle a little closer to a small speaking box that delivered their news with finesse and enthusiasm? To be blunt, what happened to the power of words? Has it all but disappeared into the dust that could fit on the dot of an “i”?

Well, I spoke with a professor of mine tonight, and he made an incredibly poignant point: forensic scientists are not tossing and turning at night trying to decide whether they should follow their passion. But those in the humanities are faced with a difficult decision: pursue it or eschew it.

Indeed, society’s pendulum has swung back, and we no longer treasure the humanities or the arts. We perceive people who want to develop a career as a writer (for example) as selfish. But forensics science? Well, you are contributing something to society then, if that is your major. And you are putting the needs of society first (because we need CSI: Omaha, Nebraska), so you can have a fat paycheck as well…

After all, the English majors are just as important as the pre-med/pre-law students in the world, just in different ways. You may be discovering a cure for cancer, sure, but we are the magazines in every treatment waiting room. We are the stack of books you can escape to while receiving your chemo therapy. Hell, we are why you chose the hospital you did. It was because they marketed themselves to you in a way that you couldn’t refuse. That all exists due to language, my friends. And it has power, and the people who wield it have power. Even if society refuses to acknowledge that.

Or perhaps, we acknowledge it too much. Now, with everyone playing the author and everyone existing as a reader through social media, maybe we are putting too much on blast. Maybe we are so surrounded by words that it becomes difficult to distinguish what we should pay attention to. And yet, by the same token, wouldn’t that make the most inspiring prose or uplifting poetry all that more refreshing?

It’s sort of like when you are swimming in a pool, and you feel a warm spot. You notice it, and suddenly you are trying frantically to find its source. That’s what good writing should do: make you feel kind of warm and make you want to know more. And in this way, we need to make writing relevant again.

After all, the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

But more importantly, the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

The Joys of Job Hunting

“As a recent college graduate, I am enthusiastic to begin working for your company” is how some of my cover letters start. In bitter disappointment and dejected sadness do many of my applications end. Almost everyone above the age of 18 understands the “joys” of job hunting. And if you forget those pleasantries, let me remind you:

Every day I wake up with something bright, and shiny throbbing in my chest. It’s called hope (I’m not Iron Man). Hope brings me down the stairs and on to the computer. From there, I log onto numerous job websites; hoping, wishing, pleading that there will be an entry-level writing position open. And every day, when I realize there are no new opportunities, or there is a listing, and it has been open for 3 days (might as well be 3 years in my field because it is already closed), I start to feel defeated. Hope whispers kindly that we will try again tomorrow, after we have spent hours on one cover letter with no results.

And usually, at this point, I punch hope in the face.

Because with hope concussed, I don’t have to think about the long-awaited rejection letter, the horror you feel when you find a typo long after you’ve hit “send,” the feeling that all of your materials are being fed to a monster that thrives on resumes and dreams, and can be the only reason that you receive no reply from a particular company. (Maybe Monster.com is named after that same creature?)

But in reality, we have made it so much easier on ourselves. In a way, hope is right to egg me on and encourage me because technology has made the job hunting process wildly simple.

We can write the one page cover letter that we need to apply to our future careers in our pajamas and in bed. And we can type that aforementioned page in about 5 minutes flat. That is, if we do not repeatedly revise and judge ourselves and cry. We don’t need white out, we have backspace. We have websites for our personal industries, and to create personal connections with potential companies. Everything is electronic for our convenience, and while we may find it maddening when we apply to a job that has been posted for 2 days but is already filled, we still have it better than our grandparents and the generations that came before us.

In this economy, all we can ask for is an interview after we’ve sent in our resume. Before computers, all the unemployed could ask for was that they might stumble across an opportunity by accident, or in the newspaper, which can be even more of a gamble.

In some ways, we are strained as a society. In others, we are completely comfortable.

So, the next time you are begrudgingly answering situation questions after situation question just remember: you’re allowed to hope. Actually, I encourage it. Because when the resume-eating-monster under your bed comes calling, you’ll be able to feed it something other than your dignity.

Don’t worry. Hope can take a hit.



Okay, fine. I know, it’s two. I haven’t always been eloquent…