At least we have them straight…
My readers are out there. I know they are. I can’t explain how I know it because it’s more an intuition than a rational thought, but I feel it in the core of my being. My readers are out there. They need stories of heroism and redemption in this age of cynicism and greed. They need to immerse themselves in a gritty tale of ordinary people enduring and overcoming tyrannical times because that archetype has passed from one generation to the next for millennia. They yearn for a connection with self-sufficiency, not supernatural hocus pocus. They crave a triumph of rational thought over superstition. I know they are out there because I can hear them in the calm hum of serenity when I close my eyes in the dark. My readers are out there.
I just need them to find me.
It’s bittersweet to read through the comments left the other day by former students. On the positive side, it’s good to know that I’ve reached so many people on an efficacious level. On the negative, it breaks my heart to know that the system is breaking the spirit of so many like me. I’ve given everything I have to this profession, and it feels like all I’ve gotten in return is a demand for more. For someone like me, who has endured my share of hardships, it’s hard to feel defeated. I’m simply not accustomed to it, but for now, the bureaucrats have won. I’ve fought the good fight for as long as I can.
My focus and energy have to turn to something else. Right now, the frustrations of fighting against the business model are wearing me to a nub. I’m hoping against hope that this momentum I’m seeing on Amazon is real. I’m hoping against hope that the dam is about to burst, and The Brotherhood of Dwarves series is finally reaching a broad audience, but it’s still too early to tell. All I know is that something has to give. I can’t continue to live on substandard wages at executive hours, battling students and administration for respect. I can’t continue feeling like a second-class citizen, devoid of any say in my day-to-day life, devoid of any voice in the process.
At heart, I’ve always considered myself a writer first, teacher second. I’ve always believed that eventually the books would find their audience, and maybe that day is close, but even if it isn’t, my time in education is near an end. I won’t be part of the business model, the entertain-them-over-educate-them paradigm that seems so en vogue of late. I won’t make students happy for the sake of keeping them paying tuition. I won’t pass students along; I won’t give them video games and coloring books as assignments. If I can’t teach the proper way, I’ll do something else, anything else, with my life, but I will not perpetrate a fraud on my students or the public by pretending to teach them writing while shoving nonsense down their throats.