Finding Your Niche

How much can you experiment before you settle down?

Posted Jun 18, 2017

Courtesy of Jessica B. Harros
Source: Courtesy of Jessica B. Harros

I was so busy being a Renaissance Woman that I forgot to find my niche.

Last week I attended a party in honor of my college classmate Jessica B. Harris. Her memoir My Soul Looks Back has been published and reviewed in The New York Times. She has a niche. Black woman and specialist in food of the African diaspora. Not to mention that she met James Baldwin, Maya Angelous, Nina Simone, and Hugh Masekela.

I hardly knew anyone famous and waffled around until I found my niche. Of course, when I was a Mademoiselle Guest Editor in 1968, I did interview Truman Capote in his apartment, visited Gordon Parks, and met Ruth Gordon. And I have a photo of me and Dustin Hoffman. Many years later, I interviewed Carlos Santana at the launch of his shoe line at Macy’s.

But mostly, while others were specializing, I collected accolades for my resume: Fulbright Scholar, University of Chicago Law School, blah blah blah. Until I finally found my passion and gift in my fifties, teaching and writing about personal essay and memoir, my number one subject being Me. Me running through Italy, me driving in Provence, me at a wedding in India. It personalizes the story to have my (usually humorous) take on whatever I’m doing. If you like stand-up comedy, you’ll like my memoir.

Prompt: Write about your passion.

Copyright © 2017 by Laura Deutsch