A New Chapter Begins
Since mid-March, I have watched as the freelance world has altered. It didn’t start then, but it’s when I paid attention to how many of my peers were struggling to find assignments. Media tie-in fiction seemed to be cut way back while publishers also cut down on mid-list authors. Fellow members of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers began reporting they were taking day jobs once more, seeking refuge and some security.
I have happily and even somewhat eagerly spent the first few months of my forced layoff to produce new pitches and do spec writing for the first time in ages. In some ways it was freeing and in some ways terrifying.
A few pitches were read and rejected and have since gone on to other points. Others continue to develop as I mentioned in the previous post.
Regardless, I need to earn a living, contributing something beyond my columns’ pay towards the household. This has led to make the career-altering switch to seeking my certification in Secondary Education. The end goal, around the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year would for me to be an English teacher.
I almost went this way once before. In spring 2002, after Bill Jemas foolishly fired me at Marvel, I had applied to Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Certification program and was actually accepted. I also spent some of that time as a substitute teacher in the middle and high schools here in Fairfield, including two days as Robbie’s social studies teacher, followed soon after by accompanying them on the eighth grade class trip.
In early May that year, I missed a call from the school on a Monday. Tuesday, before I could call them back, Georg Brewer called to hire me back at DC. After accepting Georg’s offer, I called the school to learn that the social studies teacher had to suddenly relocate to Florida with her husband and would I consider being the permanent sub for the remainder of the school year. This is one of this pivotal moments parallel worlds are based on. Had I spoken to the school first, I would have had a chance to teach for over a month and then enter the ARC program that summer. Instead, I went back into comics and publishing until I am at this point.
Apparently, for state certification, I need to present a well-rounded undergraduate transcript and I have been deemed deficient in math, science, and fine arts. Beginning today, to remedy this, I begin classes at nearby Housatonic Community College, taking Principles of Statistics and History of Theater. I am also applying to graduate schools to begin my studies for a Master’s Degree in the spring.
I will still have time to write and should any of the circulating proposals or stalled work actually receive a green light, I will still have the flexibility to write.
Last week, I attended orientation at HCC and several of the staff and faculty asked about my career change because they’re seeing it more and more people of my generation return. And sure enough, I was not the only over-50 person at the session.
I haven’t been a serious student in over thirty years and math scares the beejeezus out of me. Still, statistics might make me a better fantasy baseball owner next year. I also recognize that with the country’s economy as precarious as it is, finding work as a teacher won’t be as easier as people anticipated only a few years back. I am still determined to go through with this and create more options for myself.
While I think I’d have plenty of fun with high school students, especially if I ever get to teach AP English (recreating my favorite high school course), Deb and Kate think I’d actually connect better with middle schoolers. I guess we’ll find out in the months and years ahead.