January 27, 2011


Despite my blog of January 25, I’ve communicated with the author/manager of a well respected blog for writers. She takes submissions from other bloggers and I sent her two even though I was uncertain about the appropriateness of mine. She seemed to provide pragmatic advice to share with non-fiction and free lance writers as they struggle to make a living from their work. Anyone who reads my blogs knows my view about writing: it’s a tool to think about life. But I opened up a conversation, anyway.

I admire what this woman has done with her blog. Anyone interested in the “how to” of writing should visit “Urban Muse,” which I’ve listed under “resources” here.  What’s more, I wasn’t offended by her nice if carefully worded reply in which she did everything she could to make a rejection sound positive. Her response did remind me of my first job interview after I graduated from college, however.  

My major had been philosophy and I had no significant work experience. The man doing the interview looked at my airy resume and noted my major. Next, he leaned across his desk and sneered: “Philosophy huh? What is it you plan to DO with that?”

I didn’t hesitate. The reply was on my tongue and out my lips before I could censor it. “THINK,” I replied.

I didn’t get the job.

I heard on the news recently that today’s graduates are fleeing from courses in literature and philosophy in favor of an education concentrated on skills… as if thinking weren’t a skill. The trend saddens me even if I can rationalize why.  But the bias makes for a foolish economy, I think. A life without literature or philosophy is like living on a one dimensional plane. Things happen to us and we react without the benefit of seeing events through the prisms of meaning that literature and philosophy provide. That response is not a good thing. To be human, one wants not only to react to life but also to reflect upon it. Otherwise, we are simply bees going about our tasks.