Write Part of My Memoir in November, Day 9: Confidence Game, Pt. 2

Write Part of My MemoirWelcome to Day 9 of my memoir writing challenge wherein I ponder confidence again — see Part 1 — and get slightly scatological.

You hear a lot about the confidence of youth; it often tag teams with a contempt for one’s elders. I was one of the “Never trust anyone over 30” generation, but the confidence that was supposed to accompany the snotty attitude never materialized in my case, at least not when it came to my ambition to be a writer.

Middle age? Since I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to when I was young, that’s when my sense of being behind the curve kicked in. I wasn’t alone. When I was an editor at Fodor’s, a freelance writer came to my office looking for guidebook work. She was apologetic about her age: 40. Somehow, she thought I would only want to hire younger people. That wasn’t true, but it worried me. I wanted to be a freelancer and I wasn’t much younger than she was. Would self-employment turn me squirrely like that?

Worse, her attitude made me less disposed to hire her — not because she was 40 but because she lacked confidence.

That taught me a lesson. Be as abject as you like in private, with your friends, and on forums you trust. Fake it when it’s a question of getting work.

And so I did. I got up the nerve to quit my publishing job and move to Tucson. Four books, hundreds of articles — many of them in major publications — later, I still find reasons to doubt myself, including my age. I’m not imagining that many editors under 30 want to work with their peers. Boomer karma is a bitch.

But if age and what most people would consider success haven’t brought the unabated confidence I’d hoped for, they’ve brought a certain sanguinity. I give less of a shit about many things than I did in the past. A semi-shit. Maybe a fourth of a feces.

These meditations on confidence came about because I wanted a reality check for my memoir, but was hesitant to contact a former editor about the time we worked together. She was very nice but, my annoyingly abject voice said, “She has a big important job now. She won’t want to be bothered.”

Then my less-shit-giving self kicked in. I shrugged and said, “If she’s too busy, she won’t answer me. So what?”

I sent her an email. And then I wrote this.

 

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

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