Friday, March 28, 2014

Stephen Tobolowsky on Writing Majors in "The Dangerous Animals Club"

Stephen Tobolowsky's The Dangerous Animals Club marks my second book about an actor whose main works I haven't seen (the other being Tina Fey's Bossypants).  Again, it is the humor and view of life that drew me in to this nonfiction book and again, I was captivated by the result.

Amid a bunch of varied stories from throughout his life, Tobolowksy lays down some hard hitting truths about the struggles his wife was facing in college trying to write plays:
"It was crazy enough to be an acting major in college, but to be a writing major made as much sense as studying to be a rodeo clown.  As college students we knew first hand that nobody read books anymore.  At least we didn't.  For many fine arts majors, graduation is a time for celebration, a short celebration -say, about two days tops. Then comes the realization that they may have to turn to Plan B: desperation." (223)

I can only remember sitting in my capstone writing class, surrounded by graduating seniors.  We were all wondering one thing: where will we go from here?  It wasn't something our professor could ease our minds about, either.  Her advice was to market our skills, because we could learn to do any job.  All jobs involve writing.  She suggested applying to various businesses, perhaps as an office assistant.

There's the dream; the reason we all became writing majors. But seriously, it is incredibly difficult to find the type of job that will allow us to use all of the skills we learned. 

"The fall from your dream into reality is especially hard when you've seen that you can fly" (223).

It'll be a rough road for all of us, but we all have dreams.  We were taught to fly in our classes.  And we will fly again in the working world, eventually.  The road is just a little longer getting there than we imagined. Or perhaps a different road entirely.

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