Living at the margins
I visited the arts career counselor last week. She told me that it’s nearly impossible to make the staff for a magazine or newspaper right off the bat, so the only way to break into writing is to freelance. I’ll likely need to take another job and pursue my major aspiration in my “leisure time.” She then gave me a few websites for fellowships and publishing jobs. In other words, I’m on my own.
Oddly enough, freelance writing would be a deviation from my usual behavior. In high school, I filled my time with cross country, track, piano, band, orchestra, youth group, novels, homework, and Internet arguments, so I could build a base of various talents and experiences for the future. I told myself I’d get it done in college, but then something else intervened: the Catholic Church. In retrospect, I’m a little astonished at how much time I’ve given to this community. Unless I enter the seminary next year, Newman won’t give me any direct vocational experience. Was the time I spent there wasted?
If I’m unhappy twenty years from now (my greatest fear), I may yearn to have this moment back. For now, though, I am satisfied with my choices. Through the Catholic community, I’ve made great friends whom I can visit all over the world. I’ve had the opportunity to push my social and leadership skills far beyond where they were in high school. (I’d actually never lead anything before I came to Duke.) The same goes for my spiritual life: I’ve always had the whole catechism in my head, but now my heart is closer to His ways than ever. I’ll never forget the Sunday of Awakening #5, when I was Jesus, and everything I did came not from my mind but from His, and my heart was burning, burning but not consuming itself.
My soul should burst out of my works, so it’s good that it matured in this community. What tips the scales for me, though, is the opportunity I’ve had to inspirit other people. Duke has literary magazines, but only ten people read them. The campus’s Christian community, on the other hand, is large and growing, and I’ve contributed to it. I haven’t established myself as a writer, but I have brought some light to the world. I kept myself on the margins of the literary world, but I did it for love. I can live with that.