This, Too, Will End

At the age of seven, I knew that I was going to be a writer. I had no concept of “career viability;” I just knew. The idea was imprinted on me from the second I cracked the spine of a composition book and meticulously scribbled my first story. At nine, I tore out and threw away all of my old work. I was that kind of a writer.

By middle school, I had gained some understanding of how identities are conceived, and I became comfortable with branding myself as “the writer.” I felt that I had a place, a standing; I was the person to come to when you needed a synonym. This was right.

At the same time, I transplanted from Long Island to South Carolina, taking along a medium-sized violin and a few early Suzuki books. I was nothing special on Long Island, a frustrated and awkward second-fiddler. My classmates spouted nonsensical yet academic-sounding phrases such as “I’m going to play Flight of the Bumblebee for my tenure.” (For the life of me, I can’t figure out what that kid thought he was saying. I only wish I could remember his name, so I could stalk him online and figure out if he graduated from Juilliard or was finally beaten about the head and shoulders for using words like “tenure” without knowing what they mean.)

I was the bottom of the barrel in the orchestras of my old life, but things were different in my new life. Slowly The Writer faded away and was replaced by The Violinist. I thought I was the shit; I had quite the ego.

It was only a matter of time before I realized that context is key, and in the context of a decent university music department I was back where I started; my identity meant nothing anymore. I was no longer The Violinist, I was A Violinist, and a Pretty Crappy One at That.

I stumbled into an English major for lack of anything else to do. Some positive remarks on papers in a Modernist Lit class I was taking on the side spurned me to abandon the past twelve years and start fresh (Professor William Maxwell, if you’re out there somewhere, thanks again). My tiny insignificant secretary job that I’d had since freshman year somehow became a contributing editor position to a news-magazine, and a couple of semesters after that job ended I wound up with what amounted to a paid internship at an academic press. I bought and read my own Chicago Manual of Style. I was The Editor, bitches, and The Editor does not tolerate inconsistent use of the serial comma.

Nine months of constant job searching later, I feel The Editor has become disheartened. The Editor is ready to ebb. The Editor wants to throw down her red pen and crawl under the covers until her time comes.

Which is why I’m applying for a job at my favorite dairy farm. As a cheesemaker. Or possibly, someday, The Cheesemaker.

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