Back to school!

My days in the writing cave for the current novel-in-progress are nearly ended; the last page is in sight, hallelujah, and I still have a week left in the month to contemplate how best to make the reader think the house in my story is the ghost in my story. Ponder that if you will.

But today, before I head back into the labyrinth, I must confess that with all this talk of “going back to school” I am strangely yearning to yes, drop everything, buy some new notebooks, leave my house and most of my belongings and responsibilities, grab my favorite roommate, and head to a campus where you simply live and eat and breathe learning and no one expects you to do anything else.
Is that the ideal existence or what? Forget that at the end of those four years of didactic bliss you will have to start paying for the experience. Let’s not spoil the dream by throwing THAT into the equation. We’re dreaming here. And that is free.
Just imagine it. You take only what you can fit into the backseat of your car. That means only your favorite things. Your favorite jeans. Your favorite PJs. Favorite cup. Favorite books. Favorite photos. You drive to a campus that sent you a letter inviting you to come. You set up residence with your roommate. You place your favorite things around the tiny space that is your only bit of the life you left. And then you begin the new life on your feet. You don’t drive to class. You walk there. Your new, freshly minimal life is a life of travel on your feet. You carry a book bag and nothing else. You sit for hours in rooms whose only purpose is to shelter a gathering of learners. You absorb, ponder, question, dissect, digest; sometimes quietly in the classroom chair, sometimes around a library table with others just like you, sometimes at the campus coffee shop where every table sports an open taptop, piles of books and cups of coffee half-drunk.
You make lifelong friends.
You learn to love again simple foods like peanut butter sandwiches and bananas.
You don’t have to worry about the alternator going out or the water heater or the dishwasher.
You don’t have to clean out a fridge that is taller than you and deeper than the reach of your arm.
You don’t have to walk a dog or clean up its hair on the stairs or scoop its poop in your backyard.
You don’t have to water the grass or prune the rose bushes.
You don’t have to punch a time clock or produce for the Man or make the sale or climb the ladder.
Your existence is simply defined: You listen, learn, read, write, discuss.
Back to school? Yes, sign me up. I have my roommate and I think our parents could drop us off. They might actually want to join us . . . Of course they would.
It would be divine.
Listen. Learn. Read. Write. Discuss.
Bring it on . . .
. . . please

Author: Susan

This post has 10 Comments

  1. Anonymous on August 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I can feel myself getting swept away, too! I want to go to school!! The way you described it, Susan, makes me want to ditch my minivan, get a little volkswagon beetle, fill the backseat, pull down the convertible top, put on my Audrey Hepburn scarf and sunglasses, and head out for new adventures at school. Lets go!!!!

    Amari

  2. Anne Mateer on August 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    My husband and I have always said we would gladly live the academic life always! But of course those loans had to be paid, so we entered the real world, had kids, stayed in the real world. But I think both of us harbor dreams of someday, whether as student or faculty, returning to campus. So many good memories in those years–including ones as newlyweds!

  3. Rachel Olsen on August 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Me too, Susan! I love university life – that's why I married a professor and teach. First class is next Tuesday.

    Incidently, I love novels set at universities. Like maybe Oxford or Yale … hint-hint for a future project.

  4. Susan Meissner on August 20, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Yes, Amari! Let's go!
    D'Ann, they say it's never too late!
    Rachel: Oooh. Yes. I used to live near Oxford when husband was active duty. Can still conjure the odor of the covered market on Cornmarket . . .I could envision a story there…

  5. Hope on August 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    You make it sound like a whirlwind of excitement. I like that– the concept of dreams and having only the favorites. I can't wait to finish my online experience and find a college that I am overjoyed to have all these experiences in.

  6. Nicole on August 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Geez, if you want to absolutely use the worst kind of torture on me that will get me to do almost anything to avoid: Propose sending me back to school. The worst! I still have recurring dreams about school, the kind where I can't find a class, I'm late, I missed a test.

    No. Please. There's nothing quite so nice as NOT having to go back to school. (Even though I did well in it.)

  7. Tina on August 20, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Me too. All the new notebooks and pencils just make me want to start the “new year” fresh with my kids. So many possibilities.

  8. Lisa McKay on August 21, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I'd go back to school in a heartbeat – I fantasize about doing yet another masters degree in creative writing. But, hmmm, not going to happen in the near future. I could learn Lao, but that thought doesn't fill me with great joy. More like fatigue. Yay for you on having the finish line in sight!!

  9. emily freeman on August 23, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Oh, school. There is nothing like fresh school supplies and living in a dorm with all your best girls…

    Today is my first visit to your blog, Susan. I just this very minute finished reading Lady in Waiting (I picked up a copy at She Speaks) and oh…I absolutely love it. LOVED IT. There is so much to say, but for now I will simply say so well done – this was the first book I read by you but it will most certainly not be the last!

  10. Clair on August 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I want to go back to school like you described it, not like I have to (I am a teacher and next week is a week worth of workshop).

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