(Y)Our Hearts, (Y)Our Scars: How Adina Talve Goodman Changed My Life

by Arvin Ramgoolam

Published in ANMLY

At some point you have to rationalize all the rejection you face as a writer. If you can’t, then it’s time to take a hard look and measure it against the things that bring you joy and decide which of those things you want to be a vessel for. I was turning 40 and had very few successes in my writing life. I had twin girls to raise and a bookstore and cafe to run. My family had been full of men who made poor decisions in life that affected their children in bad ways, and pursuing writing began to feel like the wrong decision as I considered my own children’s future. Had the direction of my world pivoted toward New York City, or the possibility of returning to school to pursue an MFA, then I would have been justified in slogging on with writerly dreams in my head, but I had fallen in love with a girl and the town she was born and raised in. And in that town we started a bookstore. A boy, a girl, a bookshop. The stuff of Hallmark movies. With our twin girls, a life filled with snowy days, and books in the heart of the picturesque Rocky Mountains, I would have learned to live without a part of myself that had sustained me through difficult times.

Then I applied for the Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship. I read everything I could about Adina. I read her award-winning story, I Must Have Been That Man. I was immediately moved by her humanity, her self awareness, and her skill on the page. In that essay, I met someone I would never have a chance to speak to. Next, I read her memorial page. Adina died of cancer in 2018. I could see that she was an amazing talent robbed of a future but possessing an indomitable spirit that would survive to help underserved writers along their own journey.

To read the rest of this essay, go here.