Resume Restrictions

4 Navy years, I stumbled through

Onboard electrician duties.

Sorry, it is unprofessional

To write “I” in a resume.

Someone stumbled through

Onboard electrician duties

Busting his shins on the metal edge

Of knee-knockers while tracking

Cables through the snaky mess

In the overhead brackets.

.

Then, I spent the next years

In and out of dead-end jobs.

Um… I mean…Someone

Spent those years

Building sandwiches on long rolls

And stacking vegies for customers

Who ask for no mayo only

To complain to the manager

That they received no mayonnaise,

Crawling under truck scales digging out

Buckets of dirt while hunching through

Webs and brushing off pale spiders,

And walking through the maze of

Complex apartments and around past

The boat docks where the streetlights shiver

Off the water surface because

The overcast blocks moonlight.

.

Then I… someone spent a year off

The job market. No, it’s none of

Your business. You will not hear about

The nights waking up shivering

With a chalk outline of sweat on

The sheets, pale skin and dizzy spinning

Gasps for breath half way up the stairs,

The medicated saline solution

That that drips down long plastic tubes

Into his arm, turkey baster

Syringe they hook to the base of

The IV tube to withdraw

A puff of blood into the tube

Before pushing florescent pink

Transmission oil into veins, nor

Kneeling over the toilet

Choking up the contents of breakfast

Realizing that Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Tastes the same going down as it does

Coming up. None of that is for you.

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95% Tomato Meter

Dear Rotten Tomatoes,

.

You promised a “critically acclaimed

Action spectacular,” Certified Fresh.

But you delivered Snowpiercer,

A disconnected series of bullet wounds

And bloody stumps. How does

A broken narrative run on rails?

A global warming ice age and

An eternal train carrying

The last of humanity,

Is almost as hard to swallow

As your glowing review.

.

Sincerely,

.

Bored To Death.

Earn an English Degree and Give Up on Your Dreams

I am very happy about the education that I received from USM, but if I had to voice one complaint it would be about the way that they attempted to sell the English degree program to prospective English majors. They opted not to explain what writing centered jobs are available, but to describe how the skills learned in pursuit of an English degree can make you marketable for any job regardless of the degree that the employers expect. And as a holder of an English degree, I do have many marketable skills. I know how to research and write and yadda yadda, blah blah. But I studied English because I want to write. I want to have a job that gives me writing experience that I can use to improve my writing ability, so one day, I can transition into a novelist.

Yet, when I search through the job postings on Monster.com and other similar websites, I come to realize that I have no idea how find writing jobs. I know that it is my fault for not having figured these things out before graduating, but I did try. Every time I asked the faculty, looked through brochures about an English degree, or searched the internet about the writing jobs that I can get after I graduate, I was told the same very unhelpful platitude, “You can do anything with an English degree.”

Shure. Fine. I can do anything with my degree, but I wanted to know titles of writing jobs. Of course, there are the titles of jobs like poet or novelist, but these are not jobs that you can just send in a resume to get an interview for. You have to work your way up paying your dues for several years, publishing short stories. Then, if you are lucky, you might publish a novel, and If you are very lucky, your novel might garner a following. And if you are able to publish a second novel that garners as big a following as the first, then you might be able to quit the “day job” and call yourself a professional novelist. And the same thing goes for professional poet. But instead of going into any detail on the writing jobs that one can actually do straight out of college, they skip rite to, “You can do anything.”

While it may be true that you can do anything with an English degree, students don’t go into the English major because they want to become an assistant store manager at Walmart. People that are interested in managing a Walmart pursue a business degree. Generally, students that pursue an English degree love to read and think deeply about the things that they read. Thinking about things you read leads logically into researching the work of literature, and once you have done the research you might as well write about it. Reading, researching, and writing, sure sounds like there might be a job in that. But no one mentions what the name of that job might be. And if you do manage to find an actual writing job on one of the many job search websites with these weak keywords, they expect five years of experience in the field of writing and a degree in the field that they are writing about. So what they should be telling you when you think about becoming an English major is “With a degree in English, you will be well suited to put aside your true love of reading and writing for a job where you never do either just so you can pay the bills.”

The Writer’s Life (Newly Graduated and Unemployed)

I am a new graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from The University of Southern Mississippi.

I am starting this blog as a way of wasting my time while I should be searching through piles of job listings trying to find one that accepts graduates with no experience in the field. As this is the first blog that I have ever written that was not part of a classroom assignment, I am not sure what exactly what the blog is going to be about. I am sure, however, that it will jump from one aspect of writing to another until I get a rhythm and fall into focus on a specific aspect of writerly life. And it is my plan to post a new blog at least once a week.

In this blog, I will be writing about varying aspects of the writer’s life. Likely, the blogs will be about what I have been reading lately and maybe any poems or short stories that I feel like giving away for free. I plan on writing at least a blog or two about my revision process. And I am sure that I will blog a newspaper style report from time to time as practice. Lastly, I will probably blog about upcoming literary events in and around the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Follow me on Twitter @TheRichardBraxt.