Dear students of WR112 – Personal Writing,

I apologize for the delay in returning your graded personal essays. As you may or may not be aware, I am an extremely part-time adjunct desperately trying to survive under late-stage capitalism during a global pandemic. This is something I’m certain you completely understand and also have recurring nightmares about… right? I can’t be alone in this.

My recurring nightmare is that I forget to complete edits for my content marketing job — or show up naked for my intranet development job’s weekly Zoom meeting. Sorry, I forgot to mention, when I’m not grading your personal essays, I am attempting to market to you, your loved ones, and anyone who doesn’t skip YouTube ads for whatever reason.

In both nightmares, I am fired for failing to produce consumable content and possessing an undesirable body. Then, I contract the contagious virus ravaging the earth and can’t afford my hospital bills. You know how it is: last semester, we discussed Walter Benjamin’s cult vs. exhibition value and, under late-stage capitalism, everything is an exhibit, baybee. And transmission, er, admission is never free.

Therefore, I’ve been trying to diversify my income streams to assuage my subconscious. As such, your memoirs have taken a backseat to my new endeavor: starting an OnlyFans for financial security. As a poor actor who has never been given favorable feedback about her body, I fear I will only be able to hula hoop pantsless to Tom Waits albums and pray I am not sued for copyright infringement. Hula-hooping is my only untapped talent, and Tom Waits is the only voice that adequately encapsulates my unstilled soul.

I settled on OnlyFans after realizing I was too burned out to run a Patreon, and too ashamed of my own needs to start a GoFundMe. It will also double as an act of self-care and interim therapy since the institution you attend does not provide health coverage for affiliated faculty. Any unsolicited positive feedback from strangers will replenish my depleted endorphins while reporting any negative comments gives me the semblance of some control over my life. As you can see, I have been distracted.

This is not to say your pieces aren’t good. I have read them, and I have cried. Not because of the content, but because I, too, once had dreams and roamed the world pursuing them. Now, I do not leave the house for fear of a deadly virus and because I have four jobs that give me less than 30 hours a week each — or simply list me as an independent contractor to avoid giving me vacation time. I spend all of those 120 hours sliding between Zoom, various content management systems, and Twitter, where I write tweets like “Social distances into the ocean” and “What if we all met up in the middle of the street and headbutted each other until we died?”

All of this does not mean you will never receive grades for your personal essay assignments. More likely than not, I will wait until we’re almost done with the next unit and then simply leave comments like, “Really captured the raw bliss of being able to leave the house, A-” on Canvas, which may or may not notify you I’ve updated your score.

Thank you for your patience, and please mention my OnlyFans to any affluent connections you may have. Even if they are not interested in hula-hooping or me, they may really like Tom Waits. I can do Leonard Cohen songs, too.

Your Overwhelmed Adjunct