A long time ago, my medieval studies professor said to me: “So, what are you interested in? What subject do you see yourself spending the rest of your life learning more about?”
“…I’m not sure,” I told her. I want to be a novelist, I wanted to say.
“I ask because you’re going to have to start thinking about your grad work.” She shuffled my paper on her desk. It was covered in check-marks for what she called “sparkling” prose. “Someday you’ll be a Ph.D. candidate, somewhere.”
“Oh yeah. It’s what happens, with intellects like yours. You just have to decide on something.”
In the end, I couldn’t decide. I wrote two departmental honours theses, one on prostitution under the Nazis, another on incest in SF. I wrote one master’s thesis on Japanese animation and cyborg theory and fan cultures. Now I’ve successfully defended another on the future of border security. And I’m writing two novels about the dynastic struggles between self-replicating humanoids. Next week, I’ll be in Detroit to open my first design festival, featuring my fiction.
Study one thing for the rest of my life? I don’t think I can. To quote Dickens, mankind is my business. And that field is just too damn diverse.