Letter to My Future Famous Self
I’ve heard it said that a turning point in the process of maturity is the recognition that you will never be famous or wealthy in your lifetime. Well, I’ve got nine months until I turn 30 and am thereby a modern American adult, so lay off.
I’d like to take this opportunity, at the dawning of my writing career, to say a few words to Emily of the future. And to show you that I am both realistically optimistic and appropriately humble, I have composed two drafts: one for famous Emily, and one for not-famous Emily.
Dear Famous Emily,
By now you are basking in the responsibilities of fame and the burden of being adored. Well done. Husband Hill always knew you had it in you. Assuming you are somewhat preoccupied with keynote speaking engagements and lengthy stints in Ireland for “book research,” I call your attention from the past with just a few reminders before the driver ushers you to “The Tonight Show”.
First, I recommend that you live small and smile big. Live in a small house, with small cars and a small mailbox. Love your small garden and carry out small tasks with aplomb. Let all these ordinary spaces be loved and lived in with innocent jocularity, checked only by simple silences. The rest of your money can go to starting a school or a Nursing Home, or funding a Christian artists apprenticeship program … anyway you’re probably already eyeballs deep in some such ridiculous project.
Teach and mentor as much as possible, even at the expense of quality writing time. Relationships are more important, and improvement of character is the most important.
Lastly and crucially, find a top-notch milliner and commission a slew of 1940s and 50s style hats to don. After all, if you are as famous as I suspect, you are obligated to use your influence for good. The world is suffering from a lack of hats. You can work on gloves later.
Yours affectionately from the trenches of Insecure Writerdom,
P.S. Treat Husband Hill to a very long vacation. It should somehow involve dogs and World War II historical sites.
Dear Not Famous Emily
Hey, it’s okay buddy.
Don’t worry about it; 2015 Emily was fully prepared for this scenario. She pictures you living in a small house with a small car and a small mailbox, tending a small garden with aplomb. See? You’re just like Famous Emily except you’ll never lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon. It could be worse.
First, allow me to remind you that your family loves to talk about, well, each other, and that your puttering writing career is rife with material for holiday gatherings (you’re welcome, Perez clan).
Second – and I say this with gentleness and understanding – if the challenges of becoming a (failed) writer did not improve you in one hundred ways, I highly recommend choosing another equally hopeless dream and plunging into it with abandon. This time, try to be good at falling short. 2015 Emily will be disappointed with you if you turn out to be a bitter, judgmental, fatigued little raisin of a woman. Very disappointed.
Now that you have nothing to lose, may I make a suggestion? Take all your savings and invest in a slew of vintage hats from the 1940s and 50s. I’m 60% sure you won’t regret it.
There’s this song on the radio right now about how it’s okay to not be famous. It might help. Is there still Youtube in the future?
P.S. Tell Husband Hill you need to take a long vacation. It must involve Ireland.
Photo creds: Foter.com