Born, Chicago. Mom: “No, we did not name you after that wimp in Gone with the Wind.” Education begins. Montessori. Learn how to dry dishes and put coat on. Parents divorce. (No correlation.)
Chicago Latin School. Best friend Fiona and I lock bathroom stalls from inside, have water fights. Separated into different homerooms indefinitely. Outraged, we begin our memoirs. I am put in advanced reading group. Accomplishment: being uncool, a dork, something that sticks.
A character in The Young and the Restless is named after me (Ashley Abbott). Dynasty/Michael Jackson years. Mom humors me and buys me a replica of Thriller jacket and a sequined white glove. Many pictures taken in this get-up, without irony. God bless my family.
Exeter Years. Am not especially smart, but represent Midwest geographic so they take me. Pendleton plaid pants, feathered bangs, braces. Diving Team. Terrible idea. Bathing suit in winter, puberty, and a serious cinnamon Pop Tart habit. Junior Year in Rennes, France. Drink heavily. Somehow master passé simple. First Boyfriend.
Georgetown. Stop drinking but smoke heavily. Write French sonnets and make up pretentious witticisms based on Janis Joplin songs. Run out of money. Work in a tanning salon wiping down beds. Then, telemarking calling magazine subscribers who are dead. Second Boyfriend (no correlation).
M.F.A. in fiction at N.Y.U. Make no progress on my book but marry second boyfriend. Three babies in five years. Work on novel, but not really. Mommy and Me classes. Breastfeed second until she is able to walk. Starbucks with mommy friends. Read six books a week, go to lots of movies. Time to get off my ass. 2009, write, write, write. Clinical depression. Book gets slow and boring. Smoke heavily again, take long walks around the Reservoir. Keep going. Finish.