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  • Writer's pictureAileen

Intern, Writer (?)

I think my initiation into being a Hot Literati Intern was the mysterious book launch party Bella Ve wrote about. The party was a sea of gray hair, black and white business casual clothes, and caviar (which I was too scared to try in case I didn’t like it because I couldn’t see a trash can anywhere). I was clearly the youngest person there with my mini dress and red cowboy boots. I had to think about every move I made for at least five seconds beforehand so I could be absolutely certain the step I took and the movement I made with my hand would not embarrass me. I had fun though.

Is this party really where all the artists in New York are?

I took the event as an opportunity to work on my small talk. In the spirit of (re)Cognition summer I tried my best to not erase myself from everyone’s view by scrolling on my phone and to look approachable. It worked and a man came up to me and asked what I was reading this summer.

“Babel by R.F Kuang.” I said. “It’s for my research. project” (more on that later).

“Cool,” he said. “I’ve never heard of it. Don’t laugh but I’m reading Elon Musk’s autobiography.”

I laughed. I mean how could I not? He tried to justify his answer while I tried stifling my laughter but the damage was done. I will always remember him as the Elon Musk guy.

The Elon Musk guy asked me how I found the event and I explained how my boss, Hailo, invited me and how I intern for Hot Literati this summer. I pointed over at Hailo and the group of other Hot Literatis. I laughed to myself at how I called Hailo my boss even though she’s only three years older than me. Mister Elon Musk then asked, “What is Hot Literati?”

What a great question!

I’ve tried answering this question multiple times over the past weeks. To my friends when they ask what I’m doing this summer, to my mom when she asks where I’m going, and to my academic advisor when I ask for help updating my resume. I’ve even asked myself. What is Hot Literati? Why did I apply for this internship? Am I what Hailo is looking for? Am I interesting enough for Hot Literati? Can I even call myself a writer?

Unfortunately, I have spent most of my life asking myself questions and not enough time doing things I’m bad at. The reason I have not been able to write anything is not because “I’m working on my craft” or because “I should try writing by hand instead of typing” it’s because I have been so caught up on making sure no one can ever laugh at me that the thought of putting my content out into the world paralyzes me.

I’m petrified by failure so much so that I have the same skill set as I did in high school. Picking up a paintbrush startles me, and throwing a ball distresses me, the mere thought of microphones can send me into a coma. Even when I play the Sims 4 I cheat my Sims skill sets so they master everything so I don’t have to watch my Sims fall face first on the treadmill or smash a plate while cooking.

When I turned 20 this past January, I had brunch with my best friends Lexi and Sariya. I promised them and I promised myself that I would calm the fuck down this year and actually enjoy life. No more questions or doubts!

I’m not Joan Didion, or bell hooks, or R.F. Kuang, or James Baldwin. I’m a bad writer! I’m a bad writer but at least I’m writing. This realization came in time perfectly with (re)Cognition summer. I’m thinking for myself, writing for myself.

Going back to writing about the party…

I stepped aside from the event to film some content and as I did I could clearly see the divide the Hot Literati group caused. Hot Literati was like a blooming flower bed among the grass. While everyone else looked straight out of a Succession episode, the Hot Literati looked real. They looked like actual New York artists.

That’s why I joined the Hot Literati. I needed something real. I needed something to push me out of my cave. I could not be more excited to be a part of Hot Literati this summer.

I <3 Hot Literati

1 Comment

Jun 29

as a fear of failure retiree myself, you're doing great and it does get easier to be seen trying <33

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