by Chris de Serres
I don’t like waking up in the morning. Nor do I like cold weather. Yet, early in the morning, while everyone is still sleeping, there is a presence felt not easily duplicated at any other time of the day. The morning run. Or the morning bike ride into work. There is a sense of accomplishment already when I pull out of the driveway and see how quiet the neighborhood is. The city is a very different place when no one is out. There’s space to breathe. There’s no one hurrying past you. It’s all very easy to focus inward. Just writing these words.
I work at one of the most beautiful places in the city. The University of Washington. I am not happy with my line of work but because it brings me here each day it’s just that more tolerable. When I leave this job and this place I will miss these mornings. I will miss stepping out my office and taking a break in Sylvan Grove. I will miss having access to the largest library system in the pacific northwest. Where just about every scholarly journal is at my fingertips. The UW is the only workplace I would take my daughter to on the weekends just to walk around. The young people with their young, intellectual minds and their optimism, and even their persistence and pushiness will all be missed. When I walk the campus I see all these kids and imagine where they are headed. What is their major? What do they hope to become after college? College is a departure from the ‘real world’ and the mundane day-to-day. You come to school for momentus reasons. To figure out how you want to spend your life. The possibilities seem endless. Almost like there are too many options. 4 years seems not enough time to figure it out. Most of these kids won’t. They will commit to something, often with uncertainty. It’s hard to tell sometimes from college whether psychology or political science is really what you want to do.
I’m still trying to discover it myself. Sometimes I think this thing that we are supposed to do for the rest of our lives is not real. We grow. We change. Our interests change. Our passions change. This notion that we sell high school students to find what it is seems a disservice. Often you do what you have to do to pay the rent and feed your family. For many, that’s enough. I’m not built like that. What I want to do is hard to find. You go to med school to be a doctor. Or law school to be a lawyer. There’s no infrastructure for writers. Not creative writers. I’m not sure any writer wants to copy write or write advertisements. That is what you do to pay the bills. We want to write for us. We want to write fiction or about things we are passionate and curious about. We want to maximize our abilities and few know our abilities better than us.
I want to write a book. Not some forgettable book. A book that is up to standard. A book that inspires organically. Not a how-to. Not a this is the boring story of my life. A well written book.