So, in this abbreviated and somewhat anticlimactic way, I ended up working on my PhD. I continued to enjoy a few off hours here and there at my favourite pub on campus, and it was there, about a year after I started work on my PhD, that I sat with a group of friends when a pretty young lady at the table told a story of how her mother was heading to feed her chickens on her farm back in Italy when a drunken Canadian soldier beat her to the chickens and began machine gunning the entire flock.
That's not it, of course. Nothing ever is. But that is about as much as I can say without telling stories I have no business telling. As a footnote, I never did finish the PhD, (and I could weave many stories about that) (incidentally, I ended up studying Renaissance English, mainly because the other courses were full. It turned out I liked it, and I was one of the few in the class who was prepared to read the Renaissance, but, again, that is another series of stories) in part because I married the young lady and we began to have children. I thought I would be able to handle supporting my family and working on my degree. After all, several of my colleagues were doing the same. Some people could handle it. It turned out I wasn't one of them.
After several misadventures I ended up in a dead and job that allows me to support my family, but not much more. The dream of writing flickers from time to time, and I still do write as you can see. For those of us who are bitten with that bug there is no such thing as not writing and not telling stories. But, except for my attempts at self publishing, the dream of being a published author has almost completely faded. The only lesson I learned from that wasted Creative Writing course was this: write for yourself. True, it doesn't lead to monetary rewards, but it beats the heck out of losing your own voice.
So, despite everything, or because of everything- it depends on your point of view- I stand here in a present not of my intentions but of my own making. Well, my own making, along with a ton of accidents, some good luck, some bad luck, some wicked coincidences and an old curse. In some senses, I have done alright. In others, I am a miserable failure. But, taken all in all, there are worse things than that.