Saturday, July 25, 2009

On "Pussies" by Paula Bomer (4126 words) *****

One of the things I enjoyed most about teaching freshman composition, for the few years that I did it, as a graduate student, was that I got work with eighteen-year-olds, folks just beginning life as an adult, life on their own. There was so much hope, so much vibrancy there, so much expectation. Even by twenty-four I had become a bit jaded, and other students, the upper-division students in literature classes, were also. They've been at this a few years, know what it is to live away from mom and dad.

I remember my own days, that summer after graduating from high school, the way that I thought maybe, given all the great work I'd done in school, the world would open up for me. Just give it a little time--a month or two--and people would see how much I could do for them. Good jobs were likely to walk right into me. Now, I know that I don't much matter to people who don't know me, that I'm one of seven billion people--and seven billion people is a lot of people. At eighteen, seven billion--that doesn't seem to register. I don't know why. Somehow, we think we're different. Not one of the billions who go through life anonymously, vanishing with only a handful of people caring.

Bomer captures those kind of young moments in this piece, that awkwardness of youth, that worshipping of cooler friends, that thinking, conversely, that somehow people will eventually come to know us and will love us, given time--you know, a month or two. Read the story here at Night Train.

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