Image quality, not great. But I think you can still see what's important: THIS IS MY ENTIRE SPRING TERM.
And as it turns out, my college experience will end not with a bang, but with a whimper. Or if not a whimper, then whatever sound a guy not getting out of bed until noon every day makes. It’s probably more of a contented grunting. I look forward to finding out in a few weeks.
Rest assured, it didn’t come to this thanks to my own hard work. No, as you may remember, I’m dropping my electronic media concentration so I can focus on my filmmaking career next term and just graduate with a degree in magazine feature writing. Were I to stick with electronic media, I would’ve had to take a very stressful class about how to be a news anchor and a sequential class about how to create packages for local news at the same time in the spring if I wanted to graduate on time, which didn’t really make a lot of sense to me given that my interest in journalism is probably as great as your interest in Battlestar Galactica.
Of course, if I were actually going to focus on the things I wanted to do instead of journalism, my best bet would’ve been to go to a college with an actual film school instead of the University of Oregon. Or not go to college at all and just spend my days playing Fallout and drinking Jack Daniels.
Because honestly, what good is a degree in magazine feature writing going to do me? A sad fact of life is that a lot of magazine journalism involves interviews, more or less the bane of my existence because they put the goodness of my story in the hands of others, who can completely derail it by not being interesting. In one of my feature writing classes* there was a unit on long form feature essays, not unlike the sort of stuff I put on here. My enjoyment of the project was diminished when we were required to incorporate interviews with experts on the subject matter – because what the hell do I need with facts?
*I should mention that I had the distinct pleasure of taking Feature Writing 1 and 2 from Melissa Hart, arguably one of the finest professors at the University of Oregon and my favorite aged flower child.
You’ve heard all this before – I could fill a book with the reasons why I’m ambivalent towards journalism, and at this point I probably have. Knowing that, I’m surprised to find myself kind of sad to be leaving it behind next term, and then forever.
The operative words here are kind of - this isn’t end of Chinatown sad or anything. It’s more like the sort of sad you feel when Luke takes off Darth Vader’s helmet, knowing he’s his father, and they look one another in the eyes for the last few moments of Vader’s life until he suffocates. You’ve been dealing with one another for a long time and it’s sad that it’s over, but there was no other way, and so much other good and exciting stuff is happening elsewhere that you’re not going to let it get you down.
Looking back, I realize spent a lot of my time in the journalism school specifically trying to circumvent doing any actual journalism. In Reporting 1 last fall I wrote my final feature story about marching bands so that I could interview my friends from the OMB as sources. In Info Hell I was purposefully ambiguous about whether some of my interviews had taken place via email or not. Virtually all of my articles at the Oregon Daily Emerald were researched entirely on Wikipedia, and I only contacted sources when my desk editor essentially forced me to.
It was sort of like a game – how little actual journalism can I do while still graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism? The answer, I found out, was still one hell of a lot more than I wanted to do; which I suppose speaks to the journalism school’s credit. They’re going to make you do journalism whether you want to or not, just so you know that you got your money’s worth.
Now, though, I’ve basically won at that game, because next term I have not only no journalism but essentially no class at all, unless you consider a 100 level Geology lecture to be work. Now, at long last, all the journalistic bullshit that I had accused of keeping me from doing what I wanted to do is out of the way, and I’ll be free to maximize my creative output.
But then, there’s this Minecraft thing the kids keep talking about…
My old dog Sophie used to love to chase squirrels at the park – she’d go running after them as soon as we let her off the leash, they’d jump up a tree, and she’d promptly go find some raccoon shit to roll in. But one day, when we let her off the leash, she actually managed to get the drop on one particularly incompetent squirrel – it was too slow to start running, I guess, and Sophie clearly was going to catch up to it.
But once she was within range, she stopped, almost confused, and let the squirrel get away. Because she didn’t know what she was supposed to do with the squirrel – she just knew she was supposed to chase it.
That’s sort of me now. I’ve been chasing a term unencumbered by journalistic stress so that I can do what I actually want to do, and now that I’ve finally got it, I’m scared that I’m going to shy away from doing all the stuff I’d said I was going to do – publish the novel, submit some essays to some literary journals, finish the other novel, work on the screenplay – and just roll in raccoon shit instead.
Raccoon shit, in this analogy, is alcohol and video games, if I didn’t make that clear.
Truman Capps hopes you appreciate that he didn’t use the ‘dog chasing a car’ analogy from The Dark Knight. You’re welcome.