.journal 2000.12.05
An update on my work and whether or not to go back to college.

Now listening to: Jewel, Pieces of You
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Wormwood
Now playing: Final Fantasy VII (Playstation)

Hey, how's it going?

Just a little update on what you can look forward to on the site coming up here: I ended up finishing that short story on Sunday, but not before getting Jeff all scared because I got, like, really possessed with finishing it, and I was kind of terse with him when he came over and called. But when I e-mailed him the story, he seemed to understand what was going on (Heather does the same thing with her work), and in fact he came over while I was at Sufficient Grounds editing the story and reading Wormwood for a chat about stuff, so all's cool with him. I'm gonna collect feedback from Jeff and Heather and a few other select friends, then based on that I'll edit the story, get it how I like it and then hopefully I'll be able to post it Friday. Don't hold me to that, though, because Jeff said he might distribute the story to some of his friends, and some of my other friends may be late getting back to me with feedback, so let's just say I'll have it up in the next week, week-and-a-half at the most.

Before I went to Sufficient Grounds today, I went to Wildwood to get some winter photos before snow comes in and blankets everything. I got the pictures back on the way home from the coffeeshop, and what do you know, this time I actually got 27 photos back! And not a single finger in any of them! Yay for me! I need to get a real camera here soon, though, because there's only so much I can do with disposables. But given the way my finances should be tied up here for a while (anyone wanna get me a car for Christmas?), that may not be possible in the immediate future. If I can't have the story uploaded by Friday, I'll try to have the photos up by then; otherwise I'll hold off on them until next week.

I've been trying to hold off on election talk here, just because I'm sure all of you are just as sick of it all as I am. But I did want to make one observation: did you notice that CNN's main election music uses the same trumpet melody, in the same key, as the Overture from Dancer in the Dark? The invisible hand of Björk reaches far and wide, folks, it's just that people are too stupid to notice it. At least that little quirk's made watching CNN easier to deal with recently.

Chatted with L. this morning, and things still seem to be a bit turbulent for her. I'd love to be able to help her, but given the distance between us, money and a number of other concerns, all I can really do for her right now is be an ear to listen, and to keep on with my work. My work seems to help her as much as it does me, and for that I am glad. If it weren't for her coming back into my life when she did, I wouldn't be doing any of the things I'm doing right now, and chances are I would have never had the courage to get out of that accursed situation I spoke about last month. I don't want to say I write for L., but she's my main inspiration, a source of strength and someone worth fighting for, fighting my own frustrations and blocks and all the obstacles other people try to throw in my path. I'm sure I could continue on without her in my life, but all things being equal I hope that never comes to pass.

But there's been something else plaguing my mind recently, and I think it's something I need to go over here, to get it straight in my own mind as much as to get feedback from you all.

A few months ago I almost ended up going back to college. Going back to Antioch really isn't feasible for a number of reasons, but going to the University of Toledo was a possibility. I went through the formality of applying (basically if you have a high school diploma, UT will accept you), but in the end I didn't go for a number of reasons. Two of the main reasons I decided not to go were because the situation I was in didn't leave me much time for such a pursuit, and because it would be too much of a hassle to go to school without a driver's license. But now that I'm out of the situation, and I can drive, now all of a sudden the possibility of returning to school has opened up again.

But I'm still not sure it's the right thing for me at this time. I mean, right now I wouldn't say I'm entirely happy with my work and home situations, but they are offering me the flexibility to work on my music or other artistic pursuits pretty much whenever I want, since I'm almost always telecommuting and I can be flexible about what hours I work. If I were going to school, a good chunk of that time would be eaten up, and I'd still have to work to afford all the things I need and want, and I'm worried that could leave me without sufficient time to work on my art, and working on my art is the most important thing to me right now.

At the same time, though, I realize that without a college degree my options for employment are fairly limited. I mean, I think I'm a good Website designer, but this past year I tried getting freelance work and it just never popped for me. I had my own company there for a while, but I folded up shop last month and now I'm working through my father again because I just couldn't get work on my own. Designing Websites isn't the most pleasurable thing in the world to me, but it's a whole lot better than flipping burgers (especially since I'm a vegetarian), and I'm certainly not cut out for customer service-type work. The only real solution to that would seem to be to get that college degree, then I'd be a lot more able to find work elsewhere.

But then I have to counterbalance that with the fact that work on my album continues to progress, and once the album is ready to be recorded I have to record it. This album will be the quantum leap in the fulfillment of my destiny, what I was meant to do, and I've got too many good feelings about it not to pursue it to the fullest. More than taking away from my time to work on the album, if the album gets done, I'll have to start devoting all my time and effort to getting it recorded and published, which would invariably mean pulling out of school. I wouldn't be attending school on my own dime, though, and I don't want to be spending thousands of dollars of other peoples' money in pursuit of a degree that I may never get.

Once you take away the pursuit of the degree, what other reasons are there for me to go to college? Well, for one thing, it would keep my brain active and well-engaged. That had been one thing that had been bothering me these past couple of years, my brain was largely torpid and some of the mental arithmetic I'd been able to do before, I found I wasn't able to do anymore. But through chess and some other activities I've been involved in recently (teaching myself Japanese and anime drawing), I've been getting my brain back into shape on my own quite well. Do I really need to spend thousands of dollars to have teacher figures in my life again?

College would also open up social opportunities for me. But I don't really think I've fully explored all that having my driver's license has meant in that regard; going to Sufficient Grounds and Wildwood has been nice, but I haven't met new people yet or done anything like that (although I'm gonna try to go to a party Jeff's holding on Friday). Human companionship really isn't all that important to me, though; I'm definitely one of those "married to my (artistic) work" kind of people. Between L. and Jeff and a couple of other 'net friends, I really think my needs in that regard are being quite satisfied. Then again, I've always been an anti-social person and it could be argued that I shouldn't be making those kinds of judgments until I've tried living life on the other end of the spectrum. I don't know.

UT offers classes, fast-track and regular, during the summer, and I'm thinking that maybe I might sign up for a couple of them and see how they treat me. The way my transfer credits from Antioch worked out, I'm a few credits short of being able to enter as a second-year student anyway, and I'd like to be able to enter in the fall as a full-fledged second year student and not have to play catch-up with extra courses. After the classes were over, maybe then I could see if going to college full-time (or possibly part-time) is the right thing for me. But it's still a large commitment of time and money, though, and not something I want to rush into.

Over the past week or so I've been ruminating on this, and it seems like on alternate days I'm going "I can't do this" and then "I have to do this." I still don't have an answer yet, and although I certainly have plenty of time to come to a decision, I think I'm running in circles and I don't really seem to have a way out of the loop. That really sums up what I used to be like back in the day, agonizing over these kinds of decisions on and off but never coming up with an answer and just letting things go on by, cursing my inability to lay a foot down and go one way or the other. But at the same time this is a big, big decision, one that I cannot afford to take lightly and not do a lot of heavy-duty thinking over.

So I guess I will lay the question in front of all of you: what do you think I should do? Are there other takes on the situation that I'm not seeing? Let me know one way or the other, and hopefully you all will be able to help me come to a clearer decision.

I've got to go complete my edit of the short story and talk to Heather about it, so this is where I will take my leave of you all. I hope you'll all come back later in the week, I should have the story or photos up there in a short while. And remember, if you're on the seanshannon.org mailing list, you always get an e-mail whenever the site is updated so you don't have to come back here all the time to see if I've uploaded something. And if you'd been on the mailing list tonight, you would have received an excerpt of the short story to wet your palette. So sign up already! I run it all myself, so you don't have to worry about spam or anything like that.

I'll see you all around. Come back soon.

- Sean