I was talking to myself in the bathroom or, rather, I was having an imaginary conversation with my academic advisor in the bathroom when I found myself saying, “It’s not Literature. Literature is great. It’s just . . . it’s not doing it for me anymore.” That’s when I realized: I want to break up with my major.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Literature. I will always love Literature. We spent four and a half stimulating, productive years together. I learned more about the world, more about how to read and have a deeper understanding of what I read, more about myself, than I ever have in my life. And, as if it could get any better, during the senior year of our undergraduate relationship, Literature and I brought a beautiful, clever, exceptional little thesis into the world, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
But despite all the good times, I feel that, in recent semesters, our relationship has grown stale. Where I once thrilled to every new text, now I sigh and struggle and wonder why? Why am I having to read Melville’s Pierre? I already read Moby Dick, Typee, Benito Cereno, Billy Budd and most of his Civil War poetry. What can I possibly gain from reading Melville’s most critically reviled novel other than a profound sense of resentment? Even writing papers, once a special time where Literature and I could be at our most intimate, has become an unfulfilling grind.
For the record, none of this is Literature’s fault. It’s me. I’m the one who’s changed. Since starting graduate school, I’ve become a different person, a more jaded, cynical person. Definitely not the kind of woman Literature needs right now. I mean, far be it from me to presume, but I know, deep in my heart, that Literature thrives in a loving, enthusiastic environment, an environment I simply cannot provide at this point in my life. So, it is with the deepest regret and the firmest resolve, that I say goodbye to Literature, for Literature’s sake.
And, just so we’re clear, what I write here is prompted by the most genuine conviction of my soul and not at all by the fact that Creative Writing and I have been seeing more of each other recently.