A reporter for the New York Times interviewed me about Fort Negley last night. I don’t know if I’ll be quoted in his story or if he just wanted someone who could dump a lot of background information on him, but I dumped what I could.
And then I freaked the fuck out. I mean, I’m sorry, but what the fuck? How is this life?
They tell you “Act like you’ve been there,” but I haven’t. I don’t know people who have. I don’t have any idea what you do when the Times wants to talk to you.
For all I know, maybe George W. still looks at his wife in wide-eyed wonder every time someone from the Times wants to talk to him. Maybe freaking the fuck out is what people who’ve been there do.
The gulf is so big. The kind of person I am. The kind of life I’ve been able to lead.
I see why the myth of meritocracy is so important. The reality is nuts. The myth makes sense of a world that makes no sense. This shit just happens and you can kind of draw a line between “I did this” and “this happened” but I know a lot of people who are also doing “this” and “this happened” is not happening for them.
I am so very, very lucky.
And I can’t shake the feeling that I’m getting away with something. Not in this particular instance, but overall. That I was supposed to be a miserable, lonely outsider trying to be okay in some small Midwestern town. And somehow I escaped. And no one ever came to drag me back.
I was in college when I first read Adrienne Rich’s “Song” and I still think about it all the time. It still is deeply meaningful to me.
I feel like that about things that, although I worked like hell and put in the hours, still required a little luck (or a lot) to come to pass. It’s like I think I don’t deserve the luck? I don’t know.