Moving, on being over-educated, and writing full-time

The recent posting hiatus was because I sold an apartment worth of furniture, packed and shipped the rest, and drove nearly 3000 miles: the bulk of these miles were getting myself from Boston to St Louis, preceded by a final goodbye north to Montreal and on two back-to-back day trips (guiding winter hiking) in the snowy White Mountains and followed by a bonus day trip to Chicago for my train shipped possessions that didn’t fit in my wee Accent (so my life’s accumulation/culling of stuff is roughly two not so full Accents full).

My time in school, roughly ten times longer than my time outside of it, two thirds of which was at various universities, began with the Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur and culminated with a now completed post doc at MIT in theoretical physics. Which I’m leaving to write. Nope, not non-fiction, not even science fiction. I lean toward young adult fiction and/or dystopic futures, as I call them, more commonly known as speculative dystopian fiction. A border guard went so far as to accuse me of abusing my education to abandon it.

Since before I could write, I’ve known the power of books and stories and a large part of me always wanted to a writer. The first novel I “wrote” was a simple boy-meets-girl story in pictures ending with an image of them beside a bed, although it’s doubtful I understood the mechanics of what would happen there. Also early, I spent many cold nights watching the stars (for some reason more commonly in winter, likely because sunset was early so far North and thus before my bedtime) and memorizing stars and constellations, and nebulae and all the other beautiful anomalies in the sky (Messier many). I wanted to do physics before I even knew what physics was. Finally, irrationally, my dream was to get a PhD in physics and then become a writer. The post doc was extra.

My dilemma now is completing irrelevant forms asking nonetheless my “occupation”. A month ago I could write “post doc” or, more cheekily, “physicist”, but now, while I am certainly a physicist still — this part is rather like contracting one of those diseases that you can never be totally cured of and go on to carry for life, and, likely, remain to some extent contagious too — however it seems presumptuous to call myself a “writer”. Then again, I hear that this sense of presumption never goes away. Presumption or no, this week I entered into my first form “occupation: writer”, cheekily perhaps, but inwardly deeply honest. We’ll see how I feel the next time it comes up.


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