When the claustrophobia of living in coronatimes began to overwhelm me this spring, I knew I needed to give myself new things to look forward to. So I decided to sign up for an online writing class this summer called “How To Write Essays” at the Loft, a haven for readers and writers that is located in Minneapolis.
The first week, our instructor asked us to write a 250-word mirco essay introducing yourself to the group. This is what I wrote.
Hi! I’m Emily, and I’m a writer. That’s still a new thing for me to say. Honestly, it feels like a lie. But I’ve come to think it might just be deeply true.
It feels like a lie because by the time I decided that I wanted to be a writer, it was after I had already been other things. A bikeway planner. A mental health therapist. A researcher.
I wrote in the edges of my day. I journaled in the half-dark. I composed earnest Instagram captions. I imagined writing a book, yes, but someday far away, a cherry on the top of a sundae of a career in something else.
That vision changed slowly then all at once. The slow part started five years ago this week, when I became a mother and began interrogating how, exactly, I wanted to fill my days. Then, this January, when I was in Chicago helping my dad after his quintuple bypass, I found a box. When I brushed aside the photos of me with other Emilys and Megans and Lizes, I uncovered writing. My writing. Sheets and sheets. Some graded, but mostly not. I wrote about the environment (“We can’t keep destroying the rainforest!”). About psychology (“It’s not easy to be a good person.”). “You are,” my dad said, “the most consistent person I know.”
So here I am. A writer.
I look forward to learning from you all.