“Ask Polly” advice columnist on Substack, essayist, and author
This Imperfect Moment: A Conversation with “Ask Polly” Advice Columnist Heather Havrilesky
The acclaimed critic, memoirist, and advice columnist Heather Havrilesky’s new latest book, What If This Were Enough?, is an impassioned collection tackling our obsession with self-improvement and urging readers to embrace the imperfections of the everyday. In her work for New York, The Baffler, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, as well as in “Ask Polly,” her advice column for The Cut, she dispenses a singular, cutting wisdom – an ability to inspire, provoke, and put a name to our most insidious cultural delusions.
What If This Were Enough? is a mantra and a clarion call. In its chapters – many of them original to the book, others expanded from their initial publication – Ms. Havrilesky takes on those cultural forces that shape us. We’ve convinced ourselves, she says, that salvation can be delivered only in the form of new products, new technologies, new lifestyles. From the allure of materialism to our misunderstandings of romance and success, she deconstructs some of the most poisonous and misleading messages we ingest today, all the while suggesting new ways to navigate our increasingly bewildering world.
Through her incisive and witty inquiries, Ms. Havrilesky urges us to reject the pursuit of a shiny, shallow future that will never come. These timely, provocative, and often hilarious essays suggest an embrace of the flawed, a connection with what already is, who we already are, what we already have. She asks us to consider: What if this were enough? Our salvation, Ms. Havrilesky says, can be found right here, right now, in this imperfect moment.
Ms. Havrilesky will be interviewed on stage by FAN Liaison Council co-directors Vivien Hanson, MSW, who works with children and families addressing issues of grief, loss, trauma, and adjustment and Maureen Kebo, MA, founder of B-Well, LLC, a private counseling practice with a focus on cultivating a client’s best self.
Ms. Havrilesky is the author of the memoir Disaster Preparedness and How to Be a Person in the World, a collection of her “Ask Polly” columns.