My friend Abbie sent me a message the other day, and I’ve been totally haunted by it. What she sent was an email I’d written to her in 2009, six years ago. (Only six years ago. How is that possible?)
I had written:
July 29, 2009 at 7:26pm ·
I’m dying to get into Hamline in Minnesota, and am therefore knitting my Minnesota Scarf of Optimism. Second choice is Naropa. Either way, I need to be where it’s cold and literary.
I got into Hamline. I got into Naropa, too, but chose to go to Minnesota. I met Zach very shortly after I moved there, and we moved in together shortly after that. We got engaged, then we got married, then we had two kids. We live in a suburb of Seattle. I write when I can, and we play, and there’s preschool and play dates and I read for twenty minutes at night before I fall asleep, totally exhausted.
But what if I’d chosen Naropa? It would have been such a small thing to do in 2009 – just a matter of making one choice instead of the other. But it would have changed everything. Naropa is in Colorado, and it’s Ginsberg’s school. They offer yoga classes, and the students there write outside on blankets. It’s a school of Beat Poets long after the Beat Generation. What if I’d gone? No Zach, no Maddie or Simon, probably no Seattle. What would I write about? I wouldn’t be writing children’s lit, because Naropa doesn’t specialize in children’s lit. Hamline does, and that’s where I learned that I love writing for children above writing for anyone else. What would I be doing now? Would I have stayed in Colarado? Would I have had other, parallel universe children? Hattie and Clive?
Every single thing in my life hung on that decision six years ago, and I’d had no idea. What a crazy thing.