Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Looking Into the Past

I am 27 years old, and I work (and live) among college students ranging from 17 to 23. I was one of them not so very long ago, and when I listen to them--sometimes eavesdropping in the cafeteria, sometimes counseling them--I'm thrown back into the past, confronting my early-20s self. That girl, she is me and is not, and I keep learning from her.

There are things I know I should never do again, and things I still have time to do that I put off for various reasons (valid or not). Thanks to the mistakes I made in my most unstable days, I am a better, stronger person now, simply for having survived them. When it comes to writing, I have an abundance of source material at my disposal because I lived through those years, even if I did not thrive.

I'm hardly the first writer to take this approach, whether it's a memoirist or a historical novelist. After all, so many people give the advice to write what you know (which is a flawed instruction, but still). I invite you all to reach into your memory and see what's there to discuss today.


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