Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It began as a mistake

I used to say that music and baseball were my two true passions in life.

It's true. Music and baseball have been a part of me for...well, forever, it seems. Music has been ingrained in me since the beginning, and my other blog should tell you everything you need to know about the respect and love I have for our National Pastime.

I always thought I'd go on forever with those two passions, and I didn't see any problem with that. As long as I had my music and my baseball, I'd be set.

That is, until I enrolled in an English course two years ago, almost completely by accident.

I had a different major at the time and was looking to fill a gap in my schedule. I was at nine credit hours at the time, poring through the class listings to boost it up to twelve. I needed twelve credit hours to be a full-time student and only full-time students received free CTA passes and I needed that pass because who has money for a car these days?

By sheer luck, I happened upon a class that fit perfectly within my schedule. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 12:00-12:50 PM. 

It was called The World of Fiction.

I figured it'd be easy enough. Read some stories, write a few papers, easy A. Simple. No threat to what I thought were my "real" classes at the time. Perfect.

A few things became painfully obvious during the first couple weeks of that course. 1) It wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be. These papers were hard. 2) Despite what I'd learned in high school, not everything can be reduced to a "theme."

3) I was actually enjoying myself.

Sure, it was fun. Innocent fun. I was satisfied with the fifty-minute window of class time every other weekday. Never in those first few weeks did I think this class would be anything more than that.

I still remember the exact moment it became more than that. We were sent home one day with a new assignment, as usual. Read a story called "A&P." The author's name sounded vaguely familiar. 

John Updike.

I read it and instantly wondered what I'd been doing with the past two months of the semester. And first three years of college. And the first twenty-one, virtually not-fiction-reading years of my life.

It's still hard for me to describe exactly why that particular story resonated so much, but I know that the chain of events that have occurred in my life over the last two years all started with John Updike. (This blog takes its name from a line in the story.)

I know it may sound corny or overly dramatic, but I think most literature fanatics do honestly have that one particular piece that changed them. The work that started them on the path to piles of unread books in their home, the piles of books that seem never-ending. The hopeless love affair with literature. 

For me, that was "A&P."

"A&P" convinced me that there was plenty of room for a third passion in my life.

"A&P" inspired me to become an English major.

"A&P" set me on the path to all this.

Trying to wrap my head around the this is what I'm hoping to do with this blog. 

Looking back, I guess I have that bus pass to thank for this.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Looking forward to your posts,man!