It has not been easy in the job market for many, including myself. I have been doing office work for years because it is where my experience lies, but I always knew it wasn’t what I was meant to do. I went to college with the intentions of being a teacher, but it is more difficult to get into the field without any classroom hours or experience.
When people ask me what my degree was in, I can sense the disapproval and lack of confidence that my choice will not benefit my chances. I chose to study literature because of my love for reading and writing. I don’t regret it for one minute because I was able to learn so much and delve into such a variety of artists I never knew existed.
I was surprised to see a Caribbean Literature class available, and being from the islands, it never occurred to me that many award winning artists came from all over the Caribbean. I studied Derek Walcott, Earl Lovelace, V.S Naipaul, Edwidge Danticat and Maryse Conde, to name a few. I kept every single book used for the class. One of my favorites is The Oxford Book of Short Stories, an anthology of stories from authors all over the Caribbean and a few from South America.
I was fortunate to study Gothic literature, one of my favorite genres. The curriculum included: Frankenstein, Dracula, several poems and stories from Edgar Allan Poe, and even the story regarded as the first gothic novel – The Castle of Otranto. But it was a poem from Samuel Taylor Coleridge that would intrigue me the most. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” from the romantic era, is a lengthy tale of a sailor’s many experiences during his long sea voyage. It is the author’s longest written poem published in his collection Lyrical Ballads.
With an intense love for everything Science Fiction, I was able to take a class dedicated to work of Philip K. Dick. Already a fan of the movie versions of his stories: Total Recall, Minority Report, Imposter, Screamers and Blade Runner, it was exciting to hold in depth discussions regarding the psychological and political aspects of his twisted tales. Dick combines mental illness and autism, with the physics of time in Martian Time-Slip. It is an intriguing tale about humans colonizing Mars, where capitalism and a disregard for humanity remains the same as it does on Earth. Dick was definitely an author ahead of his time with the way he foresaw the future of humanity’s demise.
His work was so fascinating; I ended up writing my Master’s thesis using a few of his stories. Titled “Mechanized Humans: Our Future Predicted by Philip K. Dick,” I dug deep into Martian Time-Slip, UBIK, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep and Second Variety, to reveal that Dick was giving a warning to mankind as he saw technology taking humanity down a road where all empathy would soon be revoked.
If you love to read like I do, you might be amazed to find authors from your roots. My husband is part Irish, and I was able to share some Irish poets with him during my school endeavors. I love many aspects of the Asian culture, and often I will come across wonderful poems and stories from different countries of the East while doing research on recipes and food.
There is an entire world of literature out there at the tip of our fingers. I will never be ashamed of choosing to study such an important art and don’t let anyone tell you it is a useless degree. My love for the written word will pay off one day and I don’t plan on giving up on that dream anytime soon.
Written by: Donna J. Sanders
Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia – a poetry collection about the struggles we face, the state of the world and how to see beauty in the simplest things, and Cardboard Signs – poems to bring awareness about homelessness, mental illness, self-esteem and the injustices many face.
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Categories: Creative Talents Unleashed