Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Things I've Considered Studying Instead of Creative Writing

Although it was, ultimately, a foregone conclusion that I would study creative writing when I went to college, I had my doubts. If we're being completely honest, I still do. But here, presented with commentary, is the list of stuff that flitted through my mind in between frantic story-crafting sessions and which continues to keep me up at night.

1) History
Last year, my father was shocked to learn that I am a "closet historian." That's his phrase, not mine; I thought my interest in history was well-documented, but it would appear not. I have a particular interest in Am Rev and the European theater of World War II, which may seem pedestrian, but considering that I'm solidly an American lit and pop culture girl, it's not at all surprising. Besides, how cool would it be to hang around Colonial Williamsburg all day or watch Disney's wartime cartoon propaganda shorts and write about them?

2) Public Relations
Nowadays, I realize that I don't enjoy being around people. Even ordering pizza over the phone makes me so nervous that I refuse to do it. Ergo, studying public relations would have been a terrible career move. Yet the idea of shaping the perceptions of the masses continues to fascinate me. This is probably an offshoot of the storytelling impulse. 

3) Sociology
After taking a soc course in high school, I thought, "This is some interesting stuff." More broad than psychology, less demanding than social work. To this day, I wonder if I should have pursued this path. My mother has assured me that I would have been unhappy, but I think I could have done something along the lines of the sociology of popular culture and been satisfied.

4) Filmmaking
Technically, what I considered studying was screenwriting, but I was interested in the entire process. There are still days when I see something so wonderful in a movie that I almost cry over having skipped film school, but the more I learn about the industry, the more confident I am that I would have been blacklisted from the outset. This is due in large part to my attitude problem. Having a producer or studio executive hovering over me would set me off something fierce, I'm sure, and--as the saying goes--I would never work in that town again.

5) Art
I can't draw for shit, in spite of the fact that my parents paid for years of art lessons. I'm not entirely convinced my lack of talent would have mattered--hell, I can't write, yet I managed to graduate twice--but still, having a degree in art is even less useful than having a degree in creative writing. (Apologies to my art major friends, but they know it's true.)

Who knows? Maybe I'll still go down one of these avenues, albeit in a non-academic sense (the idea of going back to school literally gives me anxiety attacks). After all, the saying that you learn something new every day is both true and vital to good intellectual health. 


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