There are plenty of books about people who follow their artistic dreams to glory. Rachel Friedman asks, "How about some books where we focus on gracefully giving up on something?" And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood is a fine specimen of the sort.
The book evolved out of Friedman's disappointment that she hasn't reached a level of financial solvency in her chosen creative field. Even after she became a published author--her first book was the travel memoir The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost--she had to take a part-time job as a managing editor to make ends meet. She wanted to know if her disillusionment is shared by others who, like her, fully intended to earn a living as an artist.
Friedman had a ready-made subject sample: her cohort of 20-odd years earlier at Interlochen, the fabled Michigan performing arts camp where she studied viola. In college, she felt as though she had hit a creative wall as a musician and stopped playing. She has wondered ever since if this was a mistake. Friedman tracked down some of her fellow campers. There's Daniel, an actor who transitioned to screenwriting and then took a job as a creative director at a Los Angeles special effects studio. There's Jenna, a violin prodigy who is now a high school orchestra teacher. From these and more, Friedman hopes to learn who is still reaching for the stars and to what extent they have accepted compromise--and in And Then We Grew Up, "compromise" is usually a gentler way of saying "day job." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer