Tilly Warnock: Words of Wisdom

I took the excellent Writing Process class with Dr. Rigsby a number of semesters ago and have carried this quote from Tilly Warnock with me since leaving:

“I learned to respect the potentialities and probabilities of revision, as I learned to respect the fallacy of hindsight, the truths we create with hindsight, the patterns we change by turning the kaleidoscope, the potential distortion of historical facts and horrors.”

I enjoy this notion of “rewriting” my life or, more understandably, taking a different perspective on past events. Often times, especially in our youth, we are driven into modes of understanding that we don’t even think to control. The events and people around us force our perspectives on our lives in one way or another. In reality, with personal exploration and insight, we can take a reappraisal of the situations of our past lives, re-invent them based on who we have become in relation to who we were then. We tend to take emotional, enduring snapshots during our times of crisis in life and have trouble letting them go.

Louis C.K tells a joke of an openly gay professor he knew in college. While reminiscing about him with an old friend, Louis remarks the professor “would always try to have sex with me.” His friend, stunned, replies “really? Like he physically tried?” Louis replies “No, you know, he would just…always try to have sex with me.”  Confused, the friend replied “Well, what do you mean? How so?” While thinking about it more, Louis realized he was unsure. After continuing their conversation, Louis came to the realization that the crux of the story was simply “I once knew a gay man,” with nothing really ever coming from it. His younger, more naïve self was unable to understand the situation and he hadn’t reflected and reevaluated back on the topic since that time period. He highlights this example as a way we retain narratives in our lives that can be rewritten with time. As a kid, Louis had a naïve view of homosexuality and was likely uncomfortable with it. Without having to confront that particular situation with that man in his life again, he never experienced a personal reappraisal of the situation using his newfound experience and intelligence. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the notion that that man acted that way stayed dormant in his mind. Humorous, yes, but I also think it highlights a decent point of conversation.

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