Most of the memoir students I coach privately and who are in my class at the University of Washington are over 40, and for that reason I was intrigued when one of the alum from my MFA program, Sonya Chung, recently launched a new site called Bloom, which highlights the work of writers publishing their first books past the age of 40. This week, Bloom posted my essay, “The Price of Admission,” on coming into my writer’s voice “late,” which I’m reposting here. I’ll be sharing an interview with Sonya about the origins of Bloom in the coming week. Meanwhile, I’m keeping busy getting folks registered for the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat. Hope to see you there!
It started in my freshman composition class. “It” being love, a crush, a longing for something more, although what that more was I couldn’t say. I only knew that after devouring the assigned essays and short stories, I was hungry for more and that I, a notoriously lazy high school student, now stayed up late feverishly revising my essays. I wanted to. The way we want to do things—even difficult things—when we’re in love. Two years later, at age 20, I dared to speak these words in a hushed whisper: I want to be a writer.
I think we know stuff before we know it. Speaking those words made me afraid because some part of me knew that becoming this person called “writer” would require more from me than I was ready to give. I deep down knew that in order to claim the title of “writer,” I’d…
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I just read this piece. It’s excellent!