Sunday, October 14, 2007

Take Me Back to Manhattan Or Have I Sold Out?

Some good news is that last week I was offered a high school English job teaching almost all of the English classes at a small, rural high school. I took the position. I was in shock for two whole days. Having had nineteen other teaching interviews, I had assumed that the interview I had for this job would end up with the usual result of rejection. But, it didn’t. I’ll be teaching all the freshmen, sophomore, and senior English classes at the school as well as a writing composition elective. I’m very excited and am looking forward to it.

A couple days ago, I was running all over the place doing all sorts of errands. I was at a Borders bookstore looking around for some possible teaching aids I might need in the coming weeks when I saw something that caused me to stop and stare. There in front of me was a table filled with things about New York City: books, maps, a couple of games, and a few trinkets. I just froze for a few moments looking at the items and found myself filled with self-doubt.

As a result of some experiences this past spring and summer, I had decided that I would be moving to New York City, hopefully as early as March ’08, to pursue a career in the production side of the film industry. I was also planning on taking a trip to New York State to visit a couple close friends of mine this January. Because of the new job, both the vacation and my planned move will have to be postponed.

Please don’t get the wrong impression. I’m very happy and excited about the job I’m starting. I’m very much looking forward to finally having a classroom of my own and foster an appreciation of the English language upon young minds. This is something I felt led to do six years ago and I’m eager to see what teaching will actually be like.

Yet, I really want to go to New York. I’ve wanted to make movies since I was a kid. I love the entire filmmaking process and I would wager that film is one of the, if not The most persuasive and powerful art known. It appeals to several senses at once and can leave inerasable imprints upon one’s mind and memory. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was when about six years ago I gave up my opportunity to go to California and attend film school. I wrestled with God for months over that. In the end, I knew what he was asking of me and at the time I wanted it, too. I knew I was supposed to go back and teach. And so I did and though I went through a ton of chaos, I felt totally at peace about it. It’s something I very much want to do. And, yet I still want to make movies.

At the end of this summer, I thought things were starting to make a little sense in my life. Even though I wasn’t teaching, yet, I knew I wanted to go to New York and make movies. I started applying for film related positions in the St. Louis area, including non-paying gigs, in the hopes of getting experience. Apparently, though, no one was interested in bringing me on.

Not only that, but searching for work doesn’t earn any money. I’m in debt and have bills to pay. Moving costs money and at minimum I needed enough cash saved up to pay my bills for a couple of months while in transition. That didn’t happen. I applied for one job after another. I tried temp work and part time. However, other than some sporadic substitute teaching and a one-week stint stuffing boxes full of bags of air (literally), I couldn’t find any work. To have enough cash just to get by I signed up for and participated in a week-long sleep study. I was looking at some medical studies to raise enough money for next month. The pressure was starting to drive me batty. Then I got the job and things seemed much better.

Except, they aren’t because as much as I want to teach, something tells me that I’ve sold out. This something tells me that the only reason I took the job was for the money and now I won’t be able to visit my friends in New York in January and I won’t be moving there this March. I tell myself that’s not really true, but there is a grain of truth there. I really needed cash and the job will help with that for the time being. Like I said earlier, it costs money to travel and move and even though I won’t be earning gobs of money, I should be able to save some so that I can eventually do those things. But that’s not the main reason I took the job. I spent two and a half extra years in college just to get a teaching certificate and almost two years of consecutive substitute teaching. I’m ready to teach.

Yet, I want to go back to Manhattan and I kind of feel like I’ve sold out. Have I?

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