“Why don’t you simply commit to being a writer?” My wife asked me that question several years ago, and I had no answer for her.
I have been an educator, in the roles of substitute teacher, high school English teacher, and college English instructor since 1988. Teaching has been a driving passion for me most of my adult life, but I had always felt another tug to express my love of words and reading in another direction. For many years, I had merely dipped a foot into the churning river of writing, but I had never decided to jump into those turbulent waters and immerse myself.
“You can be both a teacher and a writer,” Liz said to me, and she was correct.
My life has been intrinsically and intricately interwoven with books. I cannot remember a time when I could not read. I was an active and happy child, but much of that happiness came from my absorption into books. I consider reading to be one of life’s great pleasures, along with romance, travel, and cooking and eating. Even though I have started later than most writers, I am now a reader of books, a teacher of literature, and a writer of books.
Most writers begin their creative journeys in their teens or twenties. My beginning, however, like most of the rest of the paths in my life, has not followed the typical course. I was an adult student, earning My Bachelor’s degree in my mid-thirties, and now, in my fifties, I have just earned my Ph.D. in English Literature from Lehigh University. Just like my career as a student, my career as a writer has begun at its own pace.
I do not, however, consider the relatively late start to be an impediment; rather, it is a strength. I can say, with complete certainty, that in addition to being a college professor, I am also now a writer. Regardless of the outcome of my writing, of the level of success I achieve, I will continue to write for the rest of my life.