Always, I considered this degree a private pursuit. I had little expectation of getting a job as a college professor, knowing how hard these jobs are to come by. Most academics do not get jobs at all or get them in places in which they have no interest in living. Given Eric's work and our family life, I would not have the option of moving anywhere in the country to pursue my career. So when a job precisely in my field of interest (seventeenth-century British literature) opened up at Hunter College in New York City, a mere seven subway stops from my house, it seemed a chance for which not even I could hope.
I (miraculously, I always think) got the job, and, from the beginning, it permitted my life to remain balanced: the work challenging, even consuming, but not so allconsuming as to upset my domestic world. Hunter also allowed me substantial liberty to create courses that I wanted to teach and to control my teaching schedule. Teaching what makes me passionate inspired me and, I think, made me a more enthused teacher. Always in the classroom, I was aware of the luxury of getting to talk about what I loved with creative and engaged students. I also relished my scholarly writing—reading the latest criticism in my field and getting that spark of an idea that would evolve into a chapter or an essay. I particularly loved the academic conferences where we would spend the days listening to colleagues present papers and then stay up late over drinks, continuing the day's conversations.
My husband, too, after a recordbreakingly short career as a corporate attorney, had found meaningful work as a journalist. For seventeen years, he has worked at ABC News. Beginning at the entry level as a desk assistant, he has now worked at nearly every conceivable job within the news division. A news junkie, he is never so happy as when a breaking story comes in from some far-flung spot, and he must race to get it on the air. His cool, the quality that most attracted me to him when we met, has also made him particularly good at handling the stresses of his work. During a "crash," he remains unruffled, logical, measured. I would find out only after my own crash how necessary this quality would come to be for our family. And to those who know him intimately, his equability translates into ethical compassion. He is the first to offer aid, to come through for someone in need, or to show support. For me, he has always been the man most likely to cover and protect the body of a girl in danger.
I like to think that together Eric and I embrace the professions of both fact and fiction and that somehow this makes us whole. In the first thirteen years of our marriage, we were a two-headed Atlas holding up a world with a rich, full, and rewarding topography. We were living in the prime of our lives in our own little Eden. I was the luckiest girl in the world.
Excerpted from THE BODY BROKEN: A Memoir by Lynne Greenberg. Copyright © 2008 by Lynne Greenberg. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.