Wednesday, April 12, 2006


<>James Tate:
"As a child I was exasperated by the question: 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' Here you are, six years old, you know, trying to put together this little model airplane, and they say, 'What are you going to be?' I just wanted to say, 'I'm going to be seven. Next year I'm going to be eight. Leave me alone ... Whatever it is I'm going to be, let it be a surprise. Or I'd rather be nothing at all. And if you keep asking me this I'm probably just going to be a guy who avoids interviews.'

"The question persisted, but at the age of seven I started getting cagey and hit on an answer that got these people off my back. I told them I was going to be a writer, and that silenced them right away. And I went back to kicking my pet squirrel."

I like this because of it's irreverence -- you should see my seminar project then you'll understand how I've found a kindred spirit in Tate. Hell, even the crack-baby short story I did for Chiarella's workshop last fall possesses that same off the wall, too harsh but slightly funny quality.

... Heithouse says that the answer that shuts people up isn't a writer, it's a lawyer, because it sounds respectable. Well ya wanna know what? This past semester English Lit/Writing people ask me what I'm going to do come May and I tell them Law School and they all look at me with sad little faces and say "so you don't want to be a writer?" ... Um, no, I just thought law school would be a hoot, a good place to set my first novel. I say I'm going to law school and then conversation doesn't end there sadly. I hate to burst your bubble but it doesn't. I get the "what are you going to do with that?" question (where the cynical part of myself says it's because I'm female that they can't come up with that answer all by themselves). This question is that much harder to answer than the more direct question of "what area are you interested in?" which is easier because I just tell them international law and I'm done with that conversation because practically no one knows international lawyers because they don't do divorces. Ew, civil law, not even going to go there. But what do I want to do once I'm a lawyer? Practice law? I'll have loans to pay off so yes. Be a trial lawyer? Hell no. Work in politics? There's an answer no one likes to hear. ... I hate that look they give you. That "you were such a nice girl until you said that" look.

Highly Recommended