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On Rooting Oneself

During my years in graduate school and afterward, friends who knew I aspired to become a writer had advised me to seek out a big city on one of the coasts--New York, say, or San Francisco, Chicago or New Orleans, Seattle or Miami--some place that readers had heard about, some place where influential critics might tout my books, where I was likely to meet filmmakers at cocktail parties, where a cab ride could deliver me to television studios.  And they also urged me to pull up stakes and move whenever I saw a chance for more prestige or more publicity.
 My friends were probably right, if my ruling ambition were to make a name for myself.  But my chief ambition, I discovered during our early years in Bloomington, was not to make a good career, but a good life.  And such a life, as I came to understand it, meant being a husband and father first, and an employee second; it meant belonging to a place rather than to a profession; it meant being a citizen as well as an artist.          --Scott Russell Sanders, "Hometown"


Gin A. Ando said…
Scot (or is it Scott? It's spelled in two ways on the page...) I just found your blog randomly going through some of the pages.

But I am going through the same thing. I'm graduating college next year. The thing is, I don't have a wife or kids. So, I suppose I'd like to ask then, if you were in my shoes, is it worth going somewhere to get those opportunities you talk about? Or would you say finding a fulfilling life takes precedence?


Scot said…
Thanks for reading (it's Scot, by the way--I'm not sure where you're seeing it with two Ts). There isn't a clear and easy answer here. I'd take fulfillment over glory any day. Deep roots sustain plants and people during real and metaphorical droughts. There is some merit to adventuring before one makes roots, but that can easily lead to the modern, drifting lifestyle if indulged too long.
I think you're getting the extra T from the Scott I quoted. I didn't write this piece, though I can say I've met him. Success and blessings to your journey, Gin.

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