So Carrie's second comment/question (scroll down to yesterday's post if you're wondering what I'm talking about) is equally provocative: "After reading HLMHLMN, I found myself wanting Trish to explore her own individual passions and purpose apart from her quest for landing a man."
Fair enough! I actually laughed a bit when I read this, because I'm not sure how to explain what my deepest passions were in my twenties without sounding like a bit of a loon. So I'll ease into it slowly with a slight digression on the craft of memoir:
When you turn in your first draft of a memoir, the first thing an editor does is go through and cross out all the sections that don't connect with your narrative arc. Funny stories, poignant moments--if they don't move the reader forward in the story you're telling (and oddly enough, every memoir is the story of only a small portion of the author's life), out it goes. It has to, otherwise who could tell their story in under 972 pages?
So one of the many things that never made it into my pages is the fact that my BIG dream in life back then was.... To own and run a private, maximum security prison. Yep. Seriously. This was my plan. I was fascinated by the utter failure of our national correctional system (really, there aren't many places where we get less bang for our buck as taxpayers), and I was certain that a kinder, gentler approach to rehabilitation was the key. And clearly I was the perfect candidate to turn this ship around: my political science major meant I had stored up four years of strong opinions. Pair that with my minors in philosophy and dance, and who wouldn't think "Prison Management" when looking at my resume?
The best part of this, though, was that at the same time I was plotting to revamp our country's approach to corrections, I was also vehemently anti-gun. My boyfriend at the time was the grandson of one of the big names in gun manufacturing, and the things I read in the magazines he subscribed to (about the rate at which various bullets rip through flesh and such) so upset me that I all but put a "No Way NRA" sticker on my car (I didn't have a car; I suspect that's what stopped me...) I have no idea how I planned to maintain order in my gun-free prison: was I going to club bad guys with my baton? Nag them until they agreed to behave?
So as you can see, I had big dreams. They didn't always make much sense, but mine has never been a life without gigantic hopes that could only happen through some sort of miracle. The writing dream kicked in right around the same time I realized I didn't want to be a lawyer anymore. If God had to pick one to make happen, I'm rather glad it was this one, and not my prison plan!