The most thrilling thing about Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World is watching all the people in the movie who are living on purpose. You don’t find yourself one day at 55 years old taking milk samples from sea lions in the South Pole unless that’s really what you want to do with your life. You’re not like, man, I could go for being an accountant in Houston about now. These crazy winter people are hippies without the sandals. Go stream the movie on Netflix if you don’t know what I’m talking about, because it’s really neat.
I get jealous of scientists, like any self-respecting artist should. I like the idea of goal setting. Actually it’s not any different from writing. Step 1: work really hard in school and be trusted to continue your research in Antarctica with the help of a grant given out by the money people. Step 1: work really hard at your writing and find someone who likes it enough to turn it into a book.
My new job is cool but I don’t really want to talk about it specifically. I just started working, lickity split, haven’t had time to miss the academic life. I work in a building that looks like a log cabin. I’m in the basement with a bunch of other writers and editors, which is mostly the same thing but sort of like are you an Elvis or a Beatles person.
The last office I worked at back in Michigan was terrible. I mean, truly awful. Two things come to mind when I think about that place: Thoreau: “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation,” and the great existential film Joe Versus the Volcano. I wrote product copy for sports equipment. I had to go to meetings where they asked me if I had any innovative ideas on how to help the jackass who owned the company make more money. Why would I care? Why would anybody ever expect me to care, and how was everyone around me able to generate so much enthusiasm? They were like bullshit windmills.
If I had a point I lost it. Oh well. Sometimes these things just float away…