Dear Wayne County – Love, Daniel
Today I turn twenty-five years old. I will celebrate it by announcing that, at age twenty-five, I will write a memoir.
The short version: I am writing a memoir, tentatively entitled Dear Wayne County (Love, Daniel). It covers three broad topics, and I want to know what the people of Wayne County(and the larger area) think about them. To this end, I would like to interview them—or, you. Contact me at email@example.com.
The long version: I left Wayne County in 2010. I attended Harvard College from 2010—2014, and lived and worked in Boston from 2014—April 2016. As of this writing, I have relocated to Cincinnati, OH, and I have already begun to reduce the deficit of Wayne County time I’ve built up over the years. While I prepared to depart Boston, the city where I grew into an independent adult, I thought about the young man who first arrived there in 2010. With a few exceptions, his world was composed largely of a county in east central Indiana. What would he think about the man I’ve become today?
As the title indicates, the memoir addresses Wayne County as I knew it growing up, and it has three audiences:
- First, I am writing a book that I wish had been available for me to read prior to 2010, with the hope that it will be relatable to those currently growing up there.
- I am next writing this book as a reintroduction to all of those people who knew me in 2010, and are wondering what the hell happened (ha).
- Finally, I am writing this book as a first introduction to those I never had the pleasure (or otherwise) of meeting. To everyone, I say, respectively: onward, hello again, hello.
One of the first comments I keep receiving from those to whom I’ve mentioned this project is: “Aren’t you a little young to be writing a memoir?” To that question, I offer an emphatic NO. Humans of every age have a different perspective on life, and all of these perspectives offer something unique, and valuable. The implication of that question is that young people (me) do not have enough data with which to present a coherent picture of a life. I have two things to say in response to that question, and all of its implications:
First: I do not think that one necessarily gets smarter or wiser the longer ones lives. One gets smarter and wiser by integrating an ever-increasing body of contextualized knowledge. The passage of time is required for this process, but that passage does not by any means guarantee that it happens.
Second: history and the modern day are filled with young(er) people who accomplish more and better in their youth than most do in their whole long lives. Alexander Hamilton was barely 20 when the Revolutionary War began, and barely 30 when he penned The Federalist Papers. Marie Curie had just turned 30 when she discovered radium. Wisdom is not gained with only the passage of time, but by the integration of contextualized knowledge—you can do a great deal of this at a young age.
If you think that my evaluation of the relationship between age and wisdom is incorrect, I would enjoy discussing it; this topic is, in fact, covered in the memoir itself. By writing a memoir at 25, I am presuming to already have something valuable to offer by telling my short life story. But I haven’t helped to birth a nation, or upended physics. In contravention of conventional wisdom, I assert that the lives of the young have a distinct value that makes them dear enough to distill into a memoir. If nothing else, it will help others of different ages better understand their counterparts of my age. So—what will I be writing about?
Sex, politics, and religion, of course. You know, casual.
The first part of the book examines how I became a Christian, grew fervent in my faith, and then (twist) apostatized. The second part examines how I was a “straight” male throughout most of my early life, only to come out to the whole world on January 1, 2012. The third part examines how it is that I got to where I am today—ambition. Each of these topics has an implied “and what would the culture of Wayne County have to say about that?” tacked onto it.
As of this writing, I have the first draft of the memoir written—but it is incomplete without the multitude of discussions I hope to have with a wide array of people from around Wayne County. If you are interested in discussing the topics I’ve mentioned, or in helping me to reach any of my three audiences, I would love to hear from you.
My goal is to have this book done in time for many of the founding day celebrations that occur at the end of the summer in the County, or, alternatively, by the end of this year. I will be writing, editing, designing, and publishing the book myself. Yes, this is a fast timeline. Perhaps some of you reading this will have concerns about the feasibility of such a rushed (I prefer *prioritized*) project. I guess you’ll have to wait to chastise me until after you’ve read the book. Which you will be holding in your hands. By the end of September (edit 9/20/2016: looks like it’s the end of the year!).
I’d love to hear from those who grew up in Wayne County with or close to me, those who taught me, those who worshiped with me, and those who were a general witness to the state of the County from about 1997—2010. I can be reached through the Contact tab of my website, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share with anyone you think might be interested!