Straight Outta College: College Dropout

by Clementine von Radics

College Clementine

I get asked often if Where Are You Press has always been profitable. The answer is yes. It has always been profitable because when I dropped out of college and quit my job to become a writer and publisher when I was 21 years-old, I didn’t have the option of failing. When the rent is due, it’s due. And you scrape by and make it happen. That is how this business began.

I did not learn to write and run a business in a classroom. Instead, it was through trial and error as my business and writing career grew. This was not always a graceful process, but it worked for me. There were real life consequences and rewards for my actions. I learned by doing, and this too is a process, just like getting a degree. In retrospect, the end of my college career was just the beginning of a different chapter of my education.

It is too easy, when talking about my lack of degree, to talk about shame. Of course I feel shame. A college degree is a major cultural marker of success, and I do not have one. However, I am the CEO of a small business. My latest book is consistently one of the bestselling poetry books in the country. I have a wonderful partner and a close network of friends who I love and who love me. I’ve stopped hating my stomach so much. I figured out how to correctly contour my face. I have a really pretty apartment with yellow walls and every day I ride my cute blue bike along the river on my way to work. I take in the city I love and Mt. Hood framing the horizon behind it. I have a beautiful life and it took tremendous effort to make that happen. I can’t apologize for that work because it does not fit a typical narrative. There is more than one marker of success and happiness.

Clementine von Radics founded Where Are You Press in 2013. An internationally touring poet, she has traveled through America and Europe performing spoken word. She is the author of Poems from her first two self-published works, Home and As Often As Miracles were adapted into a song cycle for the Carnegie Hall debut of opera singer Melody Moore. Her latest book, Mouthful of Forevers, was released in August 2015 by Andrews McMeel publishing. Her book was a #1 bestseller on Amazon and is available through Where Are You Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and in bookstores worldwide.

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