Don’t let anyone tell you that authors can’t connect with people different to them. I now have “What It Means To Rush” as proof that a writer’s greatest tool is empathy. The author, Natasha Tamate Weiss, has a different gender, ethnicity, environment, and childhood than me. Yet her short story captured my experiences as a kid on a long road trip across America. The subdued breakfasts at motels, the desperate glances out the car window to find something interesting, the conversations with oversharing strangers, the bored/annoying brother, the desperation to find suitable food late at night… Weiss explores vacation hallmarks familiar to me, but she expands on them with sharp metaphors and two bookends that transform “What It Means To Rush” into more than a travelogue. Am I positive now because I spent these last few weeks workshopping amateur class offerings? Well, maybe… maybe I’m learning to appreciate how hard it is to write well.
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