• Carlie Slattery

Could you be fearless and re-release your twenty-something work?

Once upon a time, I had a newspaper column. It was 2007, I was 25, and it was —excruciatingly — called ‘Go Girl’.

I can feel you cringing. Don’t worry, I am too.

I shared the column with two other women, journalists who I felt had far more informed opinions than I. We would take turns in sharing our ‘female perspectives’ on topics of our choosing.

It all sounds very Carrie Bradshaw, but it wasn’t. More often than not, I was scrounging for ideas and resenting the fact my life wasn’t interesting enough to warrant this platform I had been given, which many would consider a privilege.

I saved some of these columns, and I stumbled across them recently while going through storage boxes.

OH NO, GIRL: My column from 2007.

And look, they haven’t aged well. The writing itself was not as bad as I feared, but the topics … oh the topics. Hair colour. Fashion critiques. Friendship dramas. It’s all kind of naive, immature and superficial.

A few weeks ago, Taylor Swift re-released her 2008 album, Fearless. It’s a near-perfect copy of the original, with a few new songs written at that time thrown in too. Listening to it reminded me so much of my own work from that time — sweet and innocent and juvenile. It got me thinking, how utterly bizarre it must feel to have this time capsule of yourself out in the world, for anyone to examine and critique, when it’s not who you are anymore.

Could I re-release my twenty-something thoughts into the world?

My initial thought is no. No no no no no HELL NO. How mortifying. How embarrassing. What would people THINK?

But then I decided to be gentle with myself. Your twenties are meant to be about fun, freedom and building life experiences, right? Poor decisions and trivial pursuits. Discovering who you are and what you want from your career, from relationships, from yourself.

Just like Fearless is for TS, the columns are a snapshot of a time in my life when those topics were relevant to me, and I did the best I could.

In fact, I can look back with immense gratitude that frivolous topics were my only fodder. Many others are not so lucky. Check your privilege, girl.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that no, there is no need for my columns to see the light of day ever again, but they are providing some solid inspiration for my fiction work.

It seems they are relevant to me now, after all.

YOUR TURN: How would you feel about re-releasing your twenty-something work?

Or if you already have published work in the world from that time, how do you feel about it now?

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