While our friends pursued internships in air-conditioned city buildings, or lounged around their parents’ suburban pools, we stuck around Ann Arbor and spent our summer days hot and dirty, in mandated steel-toed boots.
Essay Endings and "Big Ideas"
(SPOILER ALERT: Read the essay before continuing.)
At the end of Regular Guys Emily writes: "I remember pushing my shovel along in a steady line, and the way that the grating rush of metal against cement was momentarily and beautifully punctuated by the contents of each room I passed. . . . It was like walking past a series of discrete but connected snapshots offering only a momentary flash of the sublime that was being created inside. And as one sound faded another began, but they never overlapped."
I asked Emily, did she consciously mean to say that she did not overlap with Drew / her type of woman did not overlap with his type of guy? Or did she cast around until something kind of seemed to fit without real "this is my message/Big Idea" intent?
She responded: I had that shoveling-past-the-practice rooms experience before I dated Drew (or after, I can't remember), and it was one of those moments that I thought was so magical and had to someday be written about (this was back when I wasn't really writing, just dreaming about writing and occasionally jotting down writing-worthy moments/ideas). As far as its meaning in the essay: it just kind of showed me its double-meaning, if that makes any sense. And I like that it works either as a statement on class or just as an observation of something beautiful.
You can read a short story of Emily's in Best New American Voices 2010. Keep an eye out for more of her work.