When Storyfort, the literary component of Treefort Music Festival, offered to host me, and then put me on the main stage with the amazing Lidia Yuknavitch, I freaked out. I might’ve even jumped out of my chair and laughed out loud. I just had to tell someone. Right away. The first to be blindsided with the news was a co-worker of mine, just because he sat nearest to me.

“Who’s that? What’s Storyfort?” He shrugged uncomfortably. “I don’t know what any of that is.” He turned back to his computer.

If I was disappointed by his response, it didn’t register. I was too excited. I couldn’t believe that of all people, I would get to read with the writer I most admired in the festival lineup. Lidia Yuknavitch. Man.

By the next day, my excitement made way for another feeling—unease. A voice in my head kept asking me: Who did I think I was, anyway? Who the hell am I to be sharing a stage with Lidia Yuknavitch? I answered with: I’m a writer, that’s who. I’m worthy. Surely I’m worthy. I am. Really.

“Ah,” my friend Suzanne said over drinks that night. “A serious case of imposter syndrome.”

But if there is any place to feel unworthy, to feel like an imposter, it’s in the room with Lidia Yuknavitch, a self-declared misfit. (Read The Misfit’s Manifesto and watch her TED talk. I know it made me feel a lot better.) Being a misfit—or someone who has “missed fitting in,” as she puts it—has been her entire life.

And thank god she’s a misfit. She writes like no other—with raw, honest, brutal and loving intensity. Her writing might make us uncomfortable and it might kill us, but her memoir, The Chronology of Water, is one of those rare books that cuts straight to the heart of what it means to be a human being.

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