Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer

Some successful writers turn into reclusive hermits, holing up in their bungalows or country estates like monks in a cave, disappearing from public life. Not Orson Scott Card, who recently accepted a long-term faculty position at SVU, a four-year LDS college in Virginia. He writes about his decision at length in an essay posted at Meridian.

A couple of reasons he is willing to commit to teaching: (1) writing is lonely work, whereas OSC likes people and enjoys interacting with students and new writers; (2) his writing workshops don’t allow him to devote the time he wants to spend with promising student writers he encounters.. A couple of reasons he likes SVU as an LDS college: (1) it isn’t in Utah; (2) it is small and rural yet close enough to nearby cities to not be isolated; (3) it is independent. Sounds like a win-win deal to me. Good luck to both OSC and SVU.


  1. a random John says:

    I’m a fan of OSC’s writing. I don’t think that he is producing great literature, but I enjoy his stories and especially enjoy his method of expressing his ideas about his religion through fiction. I hope that this works out well for him.

    Will he make a good professor? I am concerned about several anti-education statements that he has made on his website. I remember one in which he dimissed the usefulness of high-school math courses, which seemed odd coming from a sci-fi writer. In my mind, it is useful to study math through high school even if you think you will never need it. Who knows what you’ll be doing later? Why limit yourself early on? In another post he questioned the usefulness of a college education, especially for would-be writers. Again, this struck me as an odd position to take.

    The way in which he makes excuses for not completing a PhD. is also a bit odd, though I am glad that he seems to have the intent of using those experiences to teach a in a way that is different than what he felt let him down. Having never attempted such a degree I am not in much of a position to pass judgement.

  2. That’s an interesting move, for both OSC and SVU. I met with the president of SVU a couple of months ago, and found him to be a nice man, with a clear sense of where he wanted to take SVU. I think that the addition of OSC means that SVU is here to stay (soon to be BYU-V?)

  3. My wife and I spent three years in Lexington, Virginia and came to love the area, the towns, the schools and the people. We often were overcome by the lure of movies, restaurants and stores in the bustling metropolis of Roanoke. We have all those things around us now, but we long for the grandeur of the Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. I envy OSC.

  4. I too think it’s a good move for both. And I like the recognition that it will likely bring to SVU. Though I think it would be cool, SVU will never become BYU-V (except, perhaps, in a figurative sense). I think the brethren are relieved at the growing success of SVU because it takes pressure off of CES. I hope it continues to be successful.

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