Dear Search Committee–Story #7

1-FrontCovBest-900

Click to Buy

“Dear Search Committee” started out as a comedic look at a cynical, burned out professor who had grown tired of teaching. In my mind’s eye, this story was going to be this comic attack on the absurdity of college administration.

That’s such low hanging fruit, though.

I wrote the opening paragraph of the job search letter and then drew a complete blank. So I did what most writers do. I hid the paper in a manila folder and waited until the idea wanted to be written.

When I started the collection, I pulled the piece out and wrote the sentence after the letter paragraph.

And things took off.

I’m not sure why that happens, but all of a sudden Nathan took on a life of his own.

And it’s a sordid life. Like “Coitus,” I suspect some readers might have renewed doubts about letting me teach their children after they read this story.

Nathan, quite frankly, is not a nice guy. In fact, in the original version he dies by the end of the story. Terry Dalrymple, a fine writer and someone who read these stories in their early versions, told me he didn’t buy it. The death didn’t fit with the story itself. He was right, but, I really want this character to be dead.

Either way, better story telling won out over my desires and Nathan makes it to the end of the story.

Dear Search Committee

It should have been an easy letter to write. Nathan Dumbrowski had been teaching for about 10 years, and he was a leader in his department and a confidante of various administrators.

Dear Search Committee:
I write with great interest in your recently advertised Head, Department of English position, fully recognizing that my interest in your job will probably exceed your interest in me. My years of
experience teaching and my record of working with colleagues to improve programs and recruit and retain students should qualify me for such a position, but I suspect my reward is in heaven instead of a bigger office with a larger paycheck and less work. But, what the hell, right? It’s Friday afternoon, and I can either grade functionally illiterate essays written by students perpetually on probation, surf the internet for free porn, or apply to be a Department Head.

Nathan considered his opening gambit. He also decided surfing the web for porn sounded like a good idea.

(If you want to see why Nathan needed to die, click on the link above.)

Advertisements

About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

FiveThirtyEight

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Scott Adams' Blog

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

%d bloggers like this: