‘I Have Been Writing To Impress Old White Men’

Photo: vintagecat

As a young woman I had one and only one intense and ceaseless pastime, though that’s not the right word, though neither is hobby or passion. I have practiced this activity with religious devotion and for longer than I can remember. I have been trying to give it up recently, since moving away from Bedford Falls, since around the time my daughter was born. But nearly all of my life has been arranged around this activity. I’ve filled my days doing this, spent all my free time and a great amount of time that was not free doing it. That hobby, that interest, that passion was this: watching boys do stuff.

— Claire Vaye Watkins, acclaimed author of Battleborn and Gold Fame Citrus, presented “On Pandering” during the 2015 Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop. Now published as an essay, Watkins gets honest with herself, her audience, and her answer to the question, “Who do you write for?” and how she ( and we) can change our answers.

Read the story