On the subject of owning your expertise: why can’t I be comfortable with who I am and what I do know? I have just returned from my monthly book club. I think you all know that I have been in this group for eight years now and it is myself and eight very intellectual, well-read, well-traveled women—six of whom are in their early to late seventies. Granted they have all lived considerably more life than I have, but I leave every time feeling so humbled. I absolutely love book club, but I leave convinced that I am an illiterate, inarticulate fraud. I’m supposed to be smart but I don’t know anything I should know—as in politics, history, geography, world events, literature—and I lack the vocabulary and capacity to articulate an original idea. I am constantly vowing to correct my egregious deficiencies by being more aware and a more avid reader, but even then, I face the problem of rarely remembering what I do read. Detail amnesia: what do you do about that?
My mother has often complained about feeling intellectually insecure and I thought she was silly, only now I find myself feeling the same. So is it okay that I am culturally illiterate? What could I do differently to help myself remember the things I read or learn? What could I do to better educate myself? Does it matter?