This past week, author Hilary Zaid performed a reading of a chapter from her novel Paper is White. I attended this reading knowing little about Zaid, but I’ve always enjoyed hearing authors read their own work. However, I was also lucky enough to have gotten lunch with Zaid and several other students the day after the reading. Reflecting on this, I discovered a well of regret.
As a brief digression, I’ve often felt like college is a job. I show up, I do what the job requires to my best ability, but then I go home and disconnect from that job. I’ve also struggled to identify with the basic idea of being a college student. Because of all of this, and my tendency to be reserved and occasionally awkward, I’ve only gotten to know a couple of writers outside of class. As a senior, most of my time to do this is already spent.
After this week, and getting to hear Zaid talk about her experiences as a writer, and some of my classmates’ experiences as well, I found myself regretting not having reached out to more of my fellow writers along my college path. I regret feeling like I couldn’t reach out to people because I wasn’t interesting enough, or that my own writing wasn’t interesting enough. Writing workshops are often filled with intimate, sensitive material that we share with each other, in earnest hope to improve our craft. This is an odd practice to me because I think we write what matters to us, hoping that it matters to other people too. We share that writing with others not only because we want to improve our writing, but because we hope what we’re writing is worthwhile. At least, that’s what I hope.
So, if you’re reading this and you feel like you want to talk about writing with someone else who wants to talk about writing, feel free to shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.