This article was first published as an installment on the Valparaiso University English Department's new blog, "How I Got My Job," which features articles by alumni of the English Department describing their job experiences after graduation to current undergraduate students. You can see the original post here.
Catch that Grace
"How I Got My Job": Regional Museum Director
I don’t think college equals job prep. But, college friends, if you’re going to agree with me on that point, you’ll also need to strap on your practical cap when it comes to making a living. Important tools, as far as I can tell: creativity, drive, frugality, pragmatism—and probably a sense of receptiveness to the crazy twists of grace.
Earlier this year, Iowa's own Ice Cube Press published an anthology that gathered together previously unpublished prose and poetry dealing in a wide variety of ways with that strange, vast expanse of plains and lake country known collectively as the American Midwest. The fearless editors of the collection, Lance M. Sacknoff, Xavier Cavazos, and Stefanie Brook Trout, have called it Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, and it features the work of many emerging writers variously connected to the Midwest, including an essay of mine, and the book's three sections are introduced by three of my literary heros: Dean Bakopoulos, Debra Marquart, and Mary Swander. Since I contributed one of the collection's essays, you can actually order a signed copy from me at a 10% discount, and I'll be joining some of the other contributors for a reading in St. Paul, MN during AWP 2015. More on all that below.
But what is this "prairie gold"? Well, the way the term is traditionally used, it's -- corn. These days, at least in states like Iowa, it's mostly corn that is inedible to humans in its raw state, sold mainly for the purposes of cheaply feeding livestock or being reconstituted into high fructose corn syrup and other popular artificial sweeteners. It's a pretty controversial crop, to say the least. Contrary to what you may have heard if you are not a native of the region yourself, much of the Midwestern landscape is far from the idyllic, reassuring images that our culture likes to paint for us. But, for that matter, much of it does not look like Iowa, either.
Thanks for checking out the new website! Big kudos and many thanks to my pals David and Brittany and to their team at Webity for forging this virtual space with much patience and generosity.
This blog is meant to serve as both an active area for updates and as a repository for all sorts of creative tinkerings, ideas, and links to other sites and projects. (For starters, why not try this one, or this over here?)