rebel girl

When You’re a Girl, Success Is Rebellion

Photo: David Levenson/Getty Images

Rebecca Solnit spoke to Rookie about the specific relationship girls can have to success. For example, by accomplishing one can be a rebel, by succeeding one can be the dark horse, and by achieving one can be a surprising comet that no one saw approaching. In Solnit’s words:

One of the things about being a girl is that, often, no one encourages you to be ambitious. Sometimes you’re told you’re going to be a failure, but it’s more fun to rebel against that than rebelling against the idea you’re going to be a success—which is what a lot of guys get told. I got to rebel by succeeding, and it surprised everyone, including myself.

Another aspect of Solnit’s life that might be surprising to her, something she might not even know, is her possession of a lovely writing routine. When asked about her average workday, she says:

People always want writers to have some beautiful ritual. I know there’s some poetry lady who gets up, watches the dawn, and lights a candle to the muse. I have a very ritualized breakfast with tea and toast and yogurt, with a teapot on a tray so that I can take it wherever I want in my or my partner’s house. This morning I did that, and then I went rowing, and now I’m doing an interview. 

She continues that “other than the tea and toast, my daily routine is totally chaotic,” but for the morning, at least, she is that poetry lady with an elegant ritual. And a rebel of success and many other good things to be sure.

When You’re a Girl, Success Is Rebellion