“Once, a few years earlier, Jules had gone to see a play at Ash’s theater, and afterward, during the “talkback,” when the audience asked questions of the playwright and of Ash, who’d directed the production, a woman stood up and said, “This one is for Ms. Wolf. My daughter wants to be a director too. She’s applying to graduate school in directing, but I know very well that there are no jobs, and that she’s probably only going to have her dreams dashed. Shouldn’t I encourage her to do something else, to find some other field she can get into before too much time goes by?” And Ash had said to that mother, “Well, if she’s thinking about going into directing, she has to really, really want it. That’s the first thing. Because if she doesn’t, then there’s no point in putting herself through all of this, because it’s incredibly hard and dispiriting. But if she does really, really want it, and if she seems to have a talent for it, then I think you should tell her, ‘That’s wonderful.’ Because the truth is, the world will probably whittle your daughter down. But a mother never should.”
~Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings
A true highlight of my writing career thus far: meeting Meg Wolitzer, hearing her read from The Interestings, and hearing her describe her own reverence for this quote. I have thought of it countless times since.