Letters Home, From Your College Son

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m leaving school. First of all, I want you to know I understand how important you think it was for me to go to college. I know this is hard for you both to hear. I’ve only been here for two months, but never before have my eyes felt so open. I came to school seeking a life of the mind- days full of moleskin scribbling, typewriter shopping, coffee drinking. It just hasn’t worked out that way. I find it increasingly difficult to write my masterpiece when I must suffer through endless sessions of torture every day, or from 10-2 on Mon/Wed and 11-3 on Tues/Thurs. These people, ordinary people, are leeching the power from every vessel in my bleeding heart. I cannot create after being in the same room as Juicy Couture sweatpants- can anybody? I know it’s only been two months, but I fear my soul has already wilted beyond repair.

In an effort to salvage the wreckage of my once hopeful college career, I went to see one of the graduate students. I asked, “How did you make it? How did you make it through this meaningless series of trials in order to go on and achieve your dreams of being a writer, finding meaning, living your life through the lens of literature? How did you find the time to write?” At first to my dismay, but later to my spiritual awakening, he did not write. He chose to avoid writing, he said the only way to cope with the infinite turmoil required by his decision to be a writer was by not writing. He said a writer must engage in a life in which literature defines him, and a writer must be pained, so a writer must induce that pain on himself.

I was skeptical at first, but he seems liked. His friends listen to the things he says about Kafka. I showed his friends some of the things I wrote but they seemed disinterested- as if they were embarrassed for me. I asked, “What have you written? Can I read some of it?” They looked at me like I was retarded. “Write? Why would we write?” I figured they would write because they were creative writing majors. They invited me over to their house and got me drunk. They explained everything to me and I think they must be right. Most of them have been here for 5-8 years, they must know what the path is.

And so, in order to experience the visceral pain required to become a good writer and be at peace with the cruel world of words, I must stop writing. In order to stop writing, I must quit school. Don’t worry, I won’t ask for money that often, I’ve got a job delivering sandwiches. Please don’t write back, I’m trying really hard to make myself feel isolated. Your love will only hold me back.

Sincerely,
Your Son

PS Thanks for the cookies Mom, my friends really enjoyed them.

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