by Sheila Heti · read October 29, 2023


This is the first of Heti's work that I've read, and I really liked her style. Her reflections felt personal without being so idiosyncratic that they were unrelatable; it brought up a lot of questions that she answered for herself, but that I could answer for myself as well.

When I was younger, thinking about whether I wanted children, I always came back to this formula: if no one had told me anything about the world, I would have invented boyfriends. I would have invented sex, friendships, art. I would not have invented child-rearing. I would have had to invent all those other things to fulfill real longings in me, but if no one had ever told me that a person could create a person, and raise them into a citizen, it wouldn't have occurred to me as something to do. In fact, it would have sounded like a task to very much avoid.

Julia Cooke © 2024