Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Writer Me: Younger Me, Older Me

The other day, I thought about my life, about my writing trajectory, about some of the opportunities I've gotten that younger me would have been so thrilled to have, and also, about all the ways I thought my writing life would be different by now.

I also thought about younger me, who was an avid reader of interviews with authors, particularly with authors whom she loved.  Younger me was always looking for clues about how to do what they had done.

I started thinking about someone younger who might be researching me, even though I don't have the presence of Margaret Atwood, Gail Godwin, Marge Piercy, all those writers I would have been researching.  

And this blog post emerged:

Somewhere, a 27 year old wants what you have.  She has read a poem of yours in a place you don't even remember publishing.  She thinks about the life that you have built and wonders how to create something similar for herself.

She knows you got a PhD, and she wonders why you chose the teaching life that you did.  Still, she admires the fact that you taught so many first generation college students, the adjective we now use when we're worried that to use "underprivileged" is no longer OK.  But how much more might you have written if you had chosen a liberal arts college?

That 27 year old reads what she can to discern more about your relationships.  She reads between the lines, knowing that the lines might be something that she's just creating out of how she wants her own life to be.  She thinks you would have made a great mom, but she understands why you decided not to have children.  She wishes that you could be her mom.

The 27 year old finds a picture of your house, a picture of your writing room.  She imagines long mornings writing in dappled sunlight, drinking strong coffee.  She does not consider the long hours you have to work in your non-writing job to pay for the writing room where you never get to stay long enough. 

The 27 year old thinks about her own life trajectory, so much of it yet to come.  She thinks about your trajectory, both your writing arc and the other elements of your life's narrative.  She cannot realize how fast it all goes, how one minute you are just starting out, full of resolve, ready to change the world with your words, and then the next minutes, decades have disappeared, while you still feel like your younger self.

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