Burn Out


I’ll tell you what I want. Come to think of it, what exactly do I want?  I used to want to be published in exclusive journals, solicited to speak at prestigious conferences, overseas…in Europe…in Paris, all expenses paid. I wanted to be so valuable to the university I could thumb my nose at the presidents and VPs and deans, especially department chairs like Dr. C. J. Hamilton, who just has to lord over me his award-winning dissertation, the title of which he doesn’t let anyone forget– The Reawakening of Chartism and the Writings of Thomas Carlyle in the Post-Victorian/Pre-Edwardian Epoch.

Do you know what he said when I told him that I had my students all meet me at that great vegan restaurant in Asheville?  He said it was stupid! Yeah. My innovative idea!  Hell of a lot better than sitting around on a bunch of hard chairs in straight little rows listening to Dr. Hamilton drone on and on about Sartor Resartus and Queen Victoria’s increasing seclusion and her fat son’s sickening perversions.

My idea was great!  We had a good meal, raised a few organic brews, and it was off to search for the famous O’Henry plaque embedded in the sidewalk near the cafe. We found it. I didn’t tell them that when O’Henry came to Asheville, he was a penniless drunk.  How could I tell a group of 20-somethings in a goddamn creative writing class that I knew all their dreams would come to nothing?

But then we all drove together over to the Grove Park Inn to find the F. Scott Fitzgerald room.  They all wanted to see the place where Fitzgerald didn’t write while he waited for Zelda to slowly lose her mind.  We found the room, but I think we had all underestimated the effect of that many beers, organic or not, on our critical thinking skills. We had a hard time finding the room, and when we did and got in there… How did we get in there? …

The concierge wasn’t too happy that we barged in on those German tourists.  At least one of them was German because I recognized the words “Verdammt” and “Sheisse.” Anyway, before the burly one threatened to throw one of us, probably me, out of the window, I did get a glimpse around the room, a nice room, but ordinary, nothing special about it at all really. I mean why should there be?  Fitzgerald just sat there, day in and day out, not writing and drinking himself into mind- numbing oblivion. On second thought, although I can’t tell you what I want, I can tell you what I don’t want.

I don’t want to do this anymore.