I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


On the first of each month,
a guest writer
how they spend the day.



September 1, 2023: Sari Botton


Sari Botton was born in 1965 and is Gen-X. I was born in 1957 and am a baby boomer. In her memoir-in-essays, And You May Find Yourself… she writes about family dinners and mean girls and apartment therapy and living in NYC, and while the details of her life differ dramatically from mine, the takeaway is the same. She “came of age at the intersection of two conflicting attitudes: ‘should’ and ‘whatever.'” I did too. And she writes that “she was sidetracked away from” herself and only began to discover and own who she really was in her forties. Yeah, me too.

No one had coerced me into the life I was living. Far from it. I chose almost every detail–had desperately longed for, even campaigned for, many of then, including the genius idea of marrying almost criminally young… As I was embarking on adulthood, I somehow couldn’t see beyond the confining parameters of my little world, or find the courage to consider other possibilities beyond it.

So much of what Sari writes resonates with me. Like this section, from the foreward: “I remembered how little I know about the lives of my grandmothers…I remembered how much I relish reading books by women abut their lives. I remembered that my voice matters. I’m using it now, to take up space, to say, ‘I was here.'”

In the introduction to the memoir, Sari writes that she became a writer because she “felt like a weirdo.” And in fact, the subtitle of this, her first book as author, is Confessions of a Late-Blooming Gen-X Weirdo. And a lot of this memoir does read like confessions, but the confessions of someone who is saying it to claim it, in order to put herself back together.

In “Leaving the Land of Make-Believe,” Sari writes about her parents’ divorce in the 70’s. “I felt split in two, one version of me only able to fit in with my friends on Long Island, the other specifically engineered to fit in in Westchester.”

In “Mean Girls,” she recounts falling out with girls in junior high in the 80’s and not having any friends, which led to her being wary of friendships with girls and women, which she’s still trying to get over in her fifties so she doesn’t have to deal with it in assisted living…

In “Confessions of a Closet Vocalist,” she writes about skipping gym class to sneak home and sing. “Connecting the dots between the creative weirdo I was as a kid and who I honestly am as an adult has been my great project of mid-life.”

In addition to this memoir, Sari is the mastermind behind Oldster Magazine, published over on Substack. Its tagline is “Exploring what it means to travel through time in a human body, at every phase of life.” If you’re fascinated by aging, as I am, then you’ll love reading Oldster. One of its many features is a questionnaire that Sari created–a fixed set of questions that contributors respond to from the vantage point of different ages. Here are a few of the questions: Is there another age you associate with yourself in your mind? What has aging given you? Taken away from you? How has getting older affected your sense of yourself, or your identity?

Sari has also edited the bestselling anthologies Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NewYork and  Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York. She teaches creative nonfiction at Catapult, Bay Path University and Kingston Writers’ Studio. She was the Writer-in-Residence in the creative writing program at SUNY New Paltz for the spring of 2023. 


Come back on SEPTEMBER 1st to read how SARI BOTTON spends her days.