All this is not to say that my life is somehow eerily parallel to Meryl Streep’s.
I have yet to be named the best actress of my generation, despite several groundbreaking karaoke performances.
It was only when she got to Vassar, in 1967, that her world opened up and she discovered feminism, acting, and something like an authentic self.
Warning: this is the part where I quote Joan Didion.
“That was the year, my twenty-eighth,” she wrote in “Goodbye to All That,” the urtext of twenties self-reflection, “when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.” The twenties “count,” though they don’t always feel that way.
As I was writing, I was aware of the strange fact that my main character was both older and younger than I was.
Streep is sixty-six now, having lived a life of international celebrity for several decades, and yet the person I was studying was an unknown, untested twentysomething still defining herself in ways that felt familiar, because I’d already lived them.