Kathleen’s Career Fantasties: A Bucket List for the Ages

Writing a career bucket list seems in direct opposition to my New Year’s Resolution to take one thing at a time. 

But, I’m nothing if not a rule-follower, and my assigned topic this week is a bucket list, so here we go. It’s a writer’s dream:

  • I’d like to buy a fancy new dress in order to attend a Hollywood party celebrating the successful adaptation of my work. Let’s take this a step further and envision the selfie Reese Witherspoon will snap for Instagram. Later, after I’ve walked the red carpet, Anne Hathaway and I will run into each other in the restroom. She’ll low-key beg me to write something else in which she can star. Her people will call my people.
  • I’m a guest on the New York Times Book Review Podcast. At the start of the interview, Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, will tell me that she loved my latest novel and ask me how I managed to write the breakout bestseller of the year. She’ll say that though my novels can be described as page-turners, they also each pack a hefty emotional punch. Pamela will probably want to be my friend. We’ll have lunch after we’re done recording. I’ll start writing for the Book Review on assignment.
  • While I produce pithy and insightful literary commentary, I also write fiction continuously under contract, signing subsequent deals just in time after I’ve finished my previous books. I send my kids to college and spend full days in my pajamas not crying over the words I’m pouring out onto the page. I can open my own edit letters without having a friend vet the feedback first. I’m a goddamned professional.
  • My book is chosen as a Book of the Month selection. I love Book of the Month, and I’ve been a member forever. I’d not-so-secretly hoped that MINOR DRAMAS would make the cut, but it looks like I’ll have to hold my breath for the as-yet-untitled Book 2.
  • Reese or Jenna Hager or, what the heck, Oprah, chooses me for their book club. I look amazing on television as we discuss my witty and timely novel. In fact, I’m so good on tv, that the producers book me for a regular segment of book talk and recommendations.
  • While I’m backstage at the Today Show, I meet Matt Damon. Matt and I immediately bond. Did I know his mother was a teacher? Why YES, Matty, I did know, and let me thank you for your advocacy for teachers and schools. Oh, your people will call my people? That would be just delightful.

Okay, we’ve veered far into Jason Bourne fantasyland here, but you get the idea. All of this, of course, but also one thing, one challenge at a time. Mostly–for real–I just want to keep writing.

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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.