Mixed Signa: the Ivy League and Literary Success

Went to a conference today. It was two minutes from my dorm. It was good, but one of my worse habits is my need to compare myself to others and be like them. Not the best thing in writing. Most of the writers I look up to went to Ivy League. Think Kelly Link, Karen Russell, all the dead authors we’re taught about in college literature classes.The humanities chair opened up today’s conference by talking about Thorea. He loves Thoreau and says how he went to Harvard. He talked about the Lysium Circut and the American scholar. Afterwards he talks about how we cannot try to be our role models. We have to let our role models help us be our best selves. It’s a beautiful thought and despite the fact I know it’s true I can’t help but be puzzled by the fact that two hours later we have a keynote speaker who got his bachelor’s from Princeton.

These thoughts filled my mind because I presented my paper on magical realism that talked about Link, Russell, and Ursula K. Le Guin. For years I have felt that I have been fooling myself when I examine the lives of the writers who I admire. Is there any place for a low-income, first-gen with ADHD and mediocre grades in the literati? Or is she destined to always remain the lecturee, never the lecturer?


Quote of the Day

“I loved reading anthologies and collections as a kid. I wrote a short story for a workshop at Columbia, taught by Raymond Kennedy, and liked both the workshop and the feeling of having done something that wasn’t terrible. After I got out of college, I eventually applied to a workshop because I thought it would be awesome to spend more time writing short stories and hanging out with other people who wrote them. I’ve spent more than half of my life, at this point, thinking about short stories. But not so much time thinking about why short stories. Actually, what I’ve been thinking about recently is paragraphs. And I’ve been told that thinking about paragraphs is something that you do when you’re moving more into novel space.” – Kelly Link