Two months after I quit my IBM remote technical assistance job and two years after I finished the one-year screenwriting program at FAMU, Prague, AUP helped me regain some sense of perspective and remember who I was (since I gave up on ever knowing who I am and will be). After reading the CompLit blog, I intensely revived AUP as one of the few continuous (and still continuing) experiences in my otherwise episodic life. Sometimes, I have the feeling of living several lives, not consecutively, but simultaneously. It almost makes the rebirth question irrelevant.
There are some consistent trends in my occupations, nevertheless. By the end of my IBM experience, I was finding wicked pleasure in the act of talking to 50 people a day, in French, about drums, fusers, automatic feeders, and finishers. It also amused me to influence people’s moods (they almost always call hysterical) to the point of convincing them to put their white sleeves in the covered with black, yellow, and magenta toner bellies of their Xerox machines and do things they had never imagined themselves doing. A friend of mine calls it “expanding one’s comfort zone.” I rank it among the best educative techniques and practice it, on myself and on others. The first short-term job I found after IBM was as an interpreter from/to French at a technical fair for cutter heads and other such machinery in the wood-processing industry. I don’t know what my next job will be. Perhaps, I’ll write a toaster manual.
Now, I’m tutoring English and French in Sofia. It’s not a job that leads anywhere spectacular but it gives me the freedom to own my time and, more important, my students can observe their own progress. Strange. I don’t understand how it’s possible that the idea of teaching in a classroom makes me sick, whereas tutoring makes me happy…. I like what I’m doing now, just as I enjoyed what I was doing at the Writing Lab, with the help of my dearest Ann Mott.
The moral is …. There is no moral. (Life rarely offers us morals, unfortunately, although it has a great sense of humor). Except, perhaps, that I wouldn’t have been able to do any of these, if Roy Rosenstein hadn’t taught me to read, Dan Gunn to write, Adrian Harding to read aloud, and all of them together, to think.