Sometimes, when I read about writers conferences and workshops at small colleges and universities hidden away in the green forests of the midwest, nearby lakes and streams, I remember one of my oldest day-dreams: to teach at a small liberal arts college. Why haven’t I done that? Because I tried teaching while I was studying at the university, and it was very disappointing. I discovered a complete and utter lack of patience. I did not want to have to help other people learn how to write, no, I only wanted to go to the library and read, and then write something, anything.
And maybe, some day, make a movie. By myself.
I actually was very happy at the university, and should have stayed there, but no, I did not. Now I occasionally day-dream of going back. Or I have nightmares at night that I have gone back and forgot to study and now it is time for the final exam…
Or sometimes the dream is more pleasant, and I am just walking around noticing how much everything has changed since the last time I was here.
I actually did go back, once, or twice, if you count in the long run, or five or six times if you count community college as well as the university. I have been to the university three times, from 68-69, 83-88, and 96-97. The last time was terrible. I was in an utter funk about the failure of my second marriage and just literally lived by nightmare. Did not even withdraw from class. Straight Fs. Shit. Weird thing is, I had enough good grades before then that if I read the catalog right, I might even be able to go back a fourth time.
And community college, well, let’s see, I went to Grossmont five or six times, not even counting when I was in high school; and to San Diego City College another four or five times…
So I am, yes, an old student. And I have studied so many different liberal arts, from anthropology to astronomy, from mathematics to music. But not calculus. That is where I reach my limit. So the hard sciences are pretty much all beyond me. Yes, I am only a liberal arts guy who just wants to wander around and read and write.
I don’t need a beautiful college in the woods beside a lake to do that. Furthermore, the truth is I have always preferred to do it myself. To just go to the library or read a book at home. Or now, cruise the information superhighway. Yes.
But still, when I read about a workshop in a lovely midwestern campus with trees and lakes and streams and such, I wonder…
But oh, the humidity of summer and the freezing cold of winter.
It is hard for me to leave California. It is hard for me to come in off the beach.