I've been reading reviews of Beckett's letters; a common theme is the amusement at what, to the reviewer, looks like Beckett's obviously ludicrous attempt to find another way to make a living.
I've just come across a link to a piece in the NYT on DFW's commencement speech at Kenyon College. Not only does no one invite me to give me a commencement speech, schools I have actually attended are strangely unkeen to have me come and teach for them - even when staff at the school are enthusiastic about my work.
Early last year I wrote to X at a school I had attended for a year. X had contacted me about a year earlier speaking of his enthusiasm for TLS; we had corresponded; I was not sure I had the energy to haul coal from the cellar for another Prussian winter, so wondered whether the school might have accommodation and some kind of teaching I could do. The school had closed one of its campuses but still owned the site; I thought there might be a place there I could live.
X apparently made inquiries, but thought I must like Berlin so much better, and also thought I would surely be better off teaching creative writing in a college or something. I replied:
It's terribly kind of you to look into this.
It's hard to know what to say to your questions. If a publisher bought one of these books I would probably prefer to stay where I am (thought I wouldn't back out at the last minute if I had agreed to go). But I have no idea how long that might take. I had an image in my mind of the empty campus, covered in snow; it seemed as though it might be possible to combine solitude with teaching.
I don't think the notionally higher-powered places you mention would be better. A job that did not involve working with words would probably be better for writing - something with animals, or plants, or food. Or bicycles. That's harder to set up than teaching because it falls foul of a lot of cultural stereotypes.
I've just taken delivery of all the things I put in storage 8 years ago, so pretty worn out; realised I'd been shockingly delinquent in not replying sooner. Picture me surrounded by boxes and a battered piano.
Answer came there none.
I read somewhere that Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying in 6 weeks while working as a night security guard. That's a job I would love to have, but I just don't have the connections.