Bargain with devil1

I always wanted to be some kind of writer or newspaper reporter. But after college… I did other things. Jackie Kennedy

August just kind of tumbled into September and somehow, the year is at the end of the third quarter. I do not have time to wax nostalgic about “how I spent my summer” because I am too busy trying to get into the groove of activities that reconvene in the fall. And I do not even have a child in school anymore. I have board meetings; food and wine club; symphony guild; professional group meetings; literary guild – many of the activities that make up my grown up, adult life that took a summer hiatus. Having “spent” the summer, it is time to return to what is considered a socially acceptable productive life once again.

In this season of new fall school terms, fleeting memories of the promise that the new college year held so many years ago nag at the edges of thought with a familiar scent or crisp breeze. The end of August was always hot as I headed off to the classroom. Glamour magazine brought out its college issue, jam-packed full of advice for a collegiate set to which I never belonged. New notebooks and pens held such promise for the inspired, brilliant words yet to be written.

I was eager to delve into writing and editing. I took courses in abnormal psychology and crime scene photography. I signed up for every type of literature course offered. I dabbled in penning historical romance stories and worked on the college newspaper. My friends and I worked at jobs that we did not intend to hold for our entire lives, paying just enough for gas, cigarettes (yes, we smoked with impunity!), books and coffee. Serious Employment would have interfered with our education. But we all had grandiose post-graduate plans for Serious Employment. We complained of grueling schedules and unreasonable expectations. We talked about our dreams and expectations of changing the world by wielding the powerful pen (seriously, there were no computers yet).

There was not yet the realization that frustration, injustice and mediocrity were, and will always be, the norm. The bitter truth that humanity demands conformity and condemns the individual was not grasped until one was forced to choose or deny the groupthink, at the expense of the individual. Free speech, it turned out, was very costly, indeed. At the time, it appeared to require a bargain with the devil that I would not make.

So after college, I, too . . . did other things.

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