Survivor’s guilt

4+ years ago, I finished my creative writing MFA. For many days since, until maybe hopefully recently, I have struggled with guilt.

Since graduating, I entered a career that lets me talk about writing (which I like) and editing (which I love) with hundreds of people I would otherwise never have met from all across five continents. I get to share what I find interesting with roomfuls of (generally) open and willing humans. And I have struggled with guilt.

I’ve worked as an editor on fiction and non-fiction publications. I’ve sold book reviews and sports features. A half-dozen websites have “hired” me to write for them, and some of them even pay (poorly). I have been able to spend much of the past few years writing about sports that I care about, and even to spend most of that focus on the teams I care about and root for. And I have struggled with guilt.

15 years ago, after finishing my undergrad program, I narrowed down my career pursuits to three: law school, American studies, or writing. I got into law school and an AMS PhD program, which meant I might make a good amount of $$ down the road, or at least pay nothing while advancing my education and getting on track for a university job while incurring less student debt. Nope. I love writing and thinking about writing and talking about writing and writing about writing. So off I went.

The year I started the MFA, I’d contracted a bacterial lung infection. Continue reading