An Open Letter to Humans like Stefanie Williams

Dear Stefanie Williams,

In my neighborhood here in Brooklyn, I’m always amazed at what unemployed people are eating and drinking in coffee shops. And the whole bourbon bacon thing is tired. That is annoying.

I sympathize with your response to Talia Jane’s letter to her manager, but I think both perspectives come from the same economic tension that makes people unhappy. It seems understandable and human to want to tell stories. It’s important and interesting to note that you are speaking across sub genres of a broader genre. Talia Jane’s story, although fractured, is an economic critique. Your response is also an economic critique. Talia is expressing her helplessness regarding her situation; you are claiming total empowerment over your own. There is always something evasive about extremes because they are usually unjustified. Isn’t the pride of accomplishment an extreme that shelters a hidden vulnerability? In this case, it might be a human frailty and unwillingness to entertain inequality.

You got your first job in a bar through a family friend. A bartender. How many want to get into bartending, or land high paying hostess jobs, but aren’t good enough? You wanted to live in the city with your friends. You had friends. Not everyone has them. Friends who wanted to live with you who you wanted to live with — that is an amazing gift and key aspect of your lecture. You lived at home with your mom only 40 minutes away from a huge economic hub. Presumably, neither of your parents is a meth addict, which is awesome. You excelled in a challenging industry. You dealt with pitying looks as you ran into members of your social network. I see no shortage of affirmation in this story plus a great deal of glamor. Your rise must have been amazing.

Where droves fail, you went on to succeeded as a writer and are now represented by a large creative agency. A lot of people not only have their work rejected, but get rejected by agency after agency. What mentors who appreciated your writing and appreciated you were key along the way? What creative collaborators? How did you get your foot in the door? You write:

“I was gracious and thankful and worked as hard as I could even if it was a job that sometimes made me question my worth. And I was successful because of that.”

Aren’t you also a charming person who had a great deal of luck who has no shortage of pride in her accomplishments which you can never fully, completely own? None of us can completely own our accomplishments, just like none of us can completely own our failures, and the hand of fortuna is a fickle and scary selector that exposes our own frailty.

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