How not to talk to your future agent, unless she is your friend

To a friend who works in publishing and who, recently pregnant, finds herself navigating her career path and impending motherhood. I don’t have advice, just a growing understanding (and anxiety) of what she’s heading toward.  

Hey —-,

When I started this email two weeks ago, I was sitting at the Cadillac House in Soho, which is a coffee shop that also sells Cadillacs. Or maybe a Cadillac shop that also happens to sell coffee. Either way, it’s a popular place for creative, city-dwelling freelancers that clearly don’t have the money (or the need) for Cadillacs or office space, but who can still afford a 4-dollar cup of coffee.

On a non-frivolous note: Congratulations on having a boy!

Have you guys thought of any names yet? Some of our friends are struggling with that at the moment. People throw out names they’re serious about and you hear them and think, “No.”

Now I understand why some parents keep the name a secret until the kid’s born and labeled. Who wants to be judged for their taste in names? The clothes you wear, the car you drive – that’s one thing, but what if you’ve just always wanted to have a badass son named ‘King’? I raise an eyebrow and then quickly put it down. I love big, ambitious names as much as the next person but what if you named him King and he ended up like me, on the dole, nursing $4 coffee at the Cadillac House because that’s what it costs to sit next to Cadillac? You can’t be a ‘King’ and drive like a white Honda Civic. But ‘Betty’? No pressure.

But yeah motherhood and all the prejudices it comes with is no joke. Even if I’m one of the prejudiced. I didn’t pay much attention before, and even wondered if some of my friends really did want kids because they were waiting until their mid thirties to start trying. But now that I’m over thirty and have barely made any strides in writing, I see that if I were to suddenly be in the best spot career wise I’ve ever been, after years of hard work and whatever career politics one endures to get to where one is, how having a kid could seem like a step back, or not a step at all.

It sucks that your job looks at pregnancy as you being unambitious. What jerks! (Tom suggests taking a dump on your boss’ desk). Is it because all the other women are younger? Do you think there’s a chance you’re being too hard on yourself? You’re pregnant, not suddenly illiterate! I don’t understand if that’s actually their mindset. How stupid.

I’m not pregnant (or married) yet, but I wonder about the upcoming years. You want to sell a book and I want to give you a book to sell. But on the writing front it often feels as though I’m starting over. While I am one hundred percent always thinking about writing, I feel it comes less naturally now.

I’ve attempted three short stories in the past three months. They are all terrible. But I’m slogging through, telling myself that at the very least I have the time right now, and I’d better take advantage of it and use some butt glue so that in the future, when real life (marriage, full-time job, babies, etc.) hits again, and I REALLY don’t have time, I won’t look back and be like, “Oh god damn I wasted so much time not writing.”

On that note, Federer is about to play….

I’ll write again soon, maybe from Taiwan!

love,

Betty

*Photo by Ryan Hanke, Curtains Trying to Make Their Exit

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