Mary Yukari Waters has a beautiful new essay in the latest edition of the Rumpus:
Once, I worked for a large international accounting firm. I had a good resume filled with the right internships, the right client assignments. Contrary to popular perception, the job was stimulating and interesting; I got to work with a lot of smart people. But over time, a certain unease took hold. The best way I can describe it is that some essential part of me was fading away from lack of use – that my busy, career-focused lifestyle was leading me astray from some central core. Of what this core consisted, I wasn’t quite sure. Over the years, my unease slowly grew.
Ultimately it pushed me into writing. I wanted to find this core before it disappeared for good. Occasional hints floated past: a flash of beauty, a long-forgotten ache, an oddly resonating memory. I grabbed at each one, trying to weave it all into something cohesive which I could view in its entirety and save for the future like a photograph album.
What gradually emerged in my writing was a sensibility strongly drawn to the intersection of beauty and sorrow. Maybe I was wired that way from birth – so many of my strongest childhood memories seem to have that afterglow. Or maybe things were colored by the fact that both of my parents had recently died – I was in my twenties at the time – which heightened my sensitivity to the nuances of loss. In any case, my emotional focus had an intensity that permeated everything I wrote.