Budding Writer, 1979: The end is in sight

Reading Time: 2 minutes

About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself, and other writers, career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!

As my first year of freelancing moved into its frantic summer, my housemates and I got word that would push us off our inertia and force some life decisions. This entry has little to do with my writing career other than to show what life choices we make to pursue our work:

It seems that we will actually be moving out of here toward the end of June; the end of this idyllic existence is in sight. We could have it through August, but (1) summer roommates are hard to come by, (2) Roger may take a job in Florida, and (3) it’s getting expensive to commute.

The temporary solution that presented itself was a possible vacancy at [Phi Tau]. Naturally, I have a number of qualms about this. However, the $75 a month rent is about all my earnings could stand right now. Moreover, it might serve as an inspiration for “Tau Tales” …

It is, however, entirely possible that that is where I’m being directed next. I wonder.

The other alternative, and one I’ll have to face sooner or later, is that of renting (or buying!) a place in Lyme, Thetford, Orford, or Fairlee … All this remains to be seen.

Journal, Volume II
13 May, 1979

It truly was an idyllic life. The house we were renting from the college was The Morton Farm, donated by Dartmouth trustee William H. Morton, ’32, in 1970. It had a comfortable Federal-style home, a barn full of squawking guinea hens, and a caretaker. Today it is the Dartmouth Riding Center. The farmhouse is still there, although the rest of the farm has been greatly expanded into a world-class equestrian center.

Returning to the fraternity house, which alumni sometimes did, was a Really Bad Idea. I was already spending way too much time there, and, as we have seen, partying too much. I might have been tempted to continue writing “Tau Tales,” an Animal House-like collection of short stories inspired by my fraternity. A couple of stories about my friend Tex brought me to realize that these were really too personal and I never did go any farther with them.

And that bit about “where I’m being directed next” echoes a feeling I’ve had all my life. External forces — God? Fate? The Space-Time Continuum? — seem to move me into unexpected paths without my conscious awareness.

Ultimately, though, I was directed elsewhere. It was all for the best.

Rhododendrons bloom in Southbury, Connecticut, May 15, 2023. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

One thought on “Budding Writer, 1979: The end is in sight

What do you think? Let me know here. Comments are moderated, and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.