At the interview, they had not wanted to know about my degrees or my years of teaching experience, only about “Peace Research.”

“Tell us about ‘Peace Research,’” they said. I began the only way I knew how—at the beginning.

(I had applied for this job only as a last resort; I’d take it if I didn’t get asked back to my current job—a temporary full-time instructor position at a small state college in Ohio. Surprisingly, like all things I don’t desire deeply, the possibility of a job came to me, and I was then sitting on the eighteenth floor of the Marriott Hotel in Boston, in the chairman of the English Department’s room, which had a couch, an end table and two walls of windows. Boston stood outside, gray, boxy and neat.)