II. Speed Bump or Opportunity?
My parents and in-laws came to visit for graduation. It was lovely. We went to the beach, spent time together, and they kindly refrained from too much talk about the Future. As soon as they left, I sat down and wrote a draft of a short piece of fiction, a sort of John Henry parable about a paperboy on a bicycle who races against a delivery guy in a car, making a stand for the older technology, just before—here’s the ironic twist—the advent of the Internet, which would mortally wound the newspaper. It was only a draft, but see? I was writing! Ha! That will show them! Then I had a job fall into my lap.
It was a freelance gig, a college friend’s husband needed me to write scripts for some educational videos. I jumped into it. The pay was good, the people were friendly and professional, and the work was mostly fun. I didn’t anticipate that it would take all my time, from May through the first half of June. Bye-bye, paperboy. Adios, novel. Smell ya later, memoir.
During this time I applied in a half-assed manner to a few jobs. A sales rep for a textbook publisher. A copywriter for a local marketing firm. A marketer for a university press. I wasn’t applying to many teaching jobs—I was ambivalent about it, initially. There didn’t seem to be any good teaching positions open in the Triangle (for you non-Carolinians: that’s Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, in central NC), and besides, I’d had my brain crammed full of horror stories of adjuncting and what it would do to my life.
As the freelance job wrapped up and Angie and I geared up for a weeklong vacation to Sanibel and the Florida Keys, I did apply to one teaching job: at the last minute a position had become available at NCSU, from whence I had just graduated.
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