It’s been three years since I first got a sadistic notion to subject the campus to my self-indulgent, tangent-laden, half-demented ramblings, and I have to say it’s been quite the trip (and by “quite the trip” I mean that feeling you get when you’ve spent too many hazy nights doing headstands and shoving Fruity Pebbles up your nose for some kind of twisted ritualistic thrill only to suffer irreparable neural damage as a result of your decadence, thus being forever consigned to speak exclusively in pig Latin).
All highly questionable things must come to an end, though, and in that vein this will be my last stand as undergrad opinions writer extraordinaire.
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Don’t be too surprised if a few years on you stumble across some poor anonymous blog upon which I’ve elected to dispose of all my harebrained musings on the early work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the fundamental immorality of Dave Matthews Band’s continued existence, and the true megalomaniacal nature of Chef Boyardee and his covert New World Order machinations.
This stuff has to find release somewhere, and I figure taking it out on the page is preferable to repressing things until I wind up nude and incoherent in San Diego.
(Too soon? I mean, we’ve been over how I used to want to be one of those guys when I grew up. Damn system ground me down.)
In all seriousness, I certainly do plan on continuing to write in some capacity, whether it be personal, professional or somewhere in the middle.
I’ve really come to require the outlet – if I don’t get my weekly soapbox sesh down in writing then I’m liable to subject friends and associates to the surplus, at which point they will probably cease to be my friends and associates and I just won’t be having a good time.
Besides serving as a venue for my neurotic overanalyses, though, this little stint has also provided incalculable mental and spiritual benefits.
The simple act of churning out six or seven hundred words a week on any given topic forces one to do a great deal more in the way of self-evaluation and reconsideration than would normally be bothered with.
I can recall numerous occasions where I didn’t realize how strongly I felt about a subject until I fleshed out my thoughts; other times I’ve gotten halfway through only to realize I disagreed with myself completely.
All this intellectual exercise has shed me of countless preconceptions and biases I didn’t realize I harbored.
This is to say nothing of the inevitable impact in terms of craft.
I’m generally not one to toot my own horn (unless in extremely self-deprecating fashion), but comparison of my early and recent articles reveals a world of improvement.
One could partially chalk this up to simple maturation (dubious), but there’s no discounting the positive influence of enforced weekly practice.
Indeed, I could just as well ascribe this virtue to my overall academic experience at KSC.
Being an English major, I’ve had to produce volumes and volumes of writing (indirectly slaughtering scores and scores of trees, but we’ll turn a blind eye to that unfortunate side effect) over the course of my four years.
Add to this workout the diverse array of literature I’ve been exposed to and I can say with a good amount of confidence that I’m far more intellectually and artistically developed now than when I came in.
Even the much-debated ISP program served a valuable purpose in preventing my interests from becoming too insulated.
I might have done some griping at the time, and I can sympathize with those who feel they’d be better off focusing chiefly on their chosen field of study rather than being made to skim the surface of everything under the sun, but therein lies one of the blessings in disguise of a liberal arts degree: not everything you learn is going to have an immediate pragmatic application (very little will, in my case), but almost all of it will contribute to your overall well-roundedness and thereby aid you in myriad intangible, important ways.
I know I wouldn’t be so driven to write had the English program not turned me on to various seminal voices and allowed me to hone my own, and I’ll be reaping that reward for the rest of my life whether it takes me in a financially viable direction or not.
On that note, it’s been real – stay smart, stay safe and don’t forget to bring a towel.
Justin Levesque can be contacted at