When we were babies, we woke up to the sight of Beatrix Potter on our nursery walls. When we were in middle school, we read Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and by the time we’re grown up, we’ve read Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, Lord of the Rings, and classics which we’ve relished in our book clubs and coffee shops, sitting with a cup of tea in our hands and poring over each book we’ve grown to love.
This is the culture from which I’ve grown up and from which I’ve come to college, wanting to write my own stories, and daydream with imagination.
And yet, in this final semester, I’ve had to reconcile the world of fiction with the world of employment. From my culture, I grew up believing that employment would be the opposite of pleasure, that desk jobs would be like cages where I would be setting aside my writing for employment.
Which I have discovered is a very wrong aspect.
I did not anticipate the pleasure of seeking jobs where I would find the usefulness of my degree working itself out in so many different ways.
And yet, when I’ve had to ask God, “Where is the pleasure in writing?” I’ve had to reconcile the worlds of fiction and professional writing as a Literature and Writing major.
For here in our department, I have learned valuable skills in the worlds of technical writing, documents, manuscripts, and descriptions—all of which serve a purpose.
I have had to dissolve the dichotomy between literature and writing—and trust in God, which seemed like an abstract concept against the digital physicality of resumes and cover letters.
Though I have had to seek pleasure in both writing and literature, the stories with which I have grown up will always remain, and I will never lose the sight or dream of becoming an English major and writing fiction. And I hope you, too, inductees, will seek pleasure in both writing and literature as God guides you in this process. May you find pleasure in Him, and He in you. Thank you.
This speech was delivered to the inductees of Sigma Tau Delta, an International English Honors Society, at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul on April 21, 2015.