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Dear Ann Krinsky Age Twenty

A version of this letter appeared as a feature for Brava Magazine last spring. My girlfriends are especially on my mind and in my heart right now, so I thought I’d share it…

Dear Ann Krinsky Age Twenty rehearsing a monologue,

How are you Ann Krinsky? The UW theater department smells exactly the same 17 years later—of burnt microwave popcorn, bare feet, and creative desperation. Nice suspender pants, by the way. Very The Limited-does-Annie Hall.

I see you working diligently on your audition monologue for The Fantasticks. **Spoiler alert** you get the part. In fact, we could name 1994-1996 Krinsky Princesses On Ice for all the ingénues you play. Get this–in five short years you win the ultimate princess role of Bride to Ben-The-Drummer.

Ann Krinsky you look a bit wan. Yes, I said wife in five years. Believe me, he’s not ready for you yet either. A redheaded non-Jew, not-quite-Democrat, Ben-The-Drummer currently resides in a Colorado basement. I only tell you this because I want you to know your life’s most meaningful roles require no audition or casting. Not set to a score, or played out on a stage–your most prized roles are within the ensemble of your family and your life-long friends.


Your roommates in the apartment on West Washington Avenue–Erin and Maria–and the rest of the girls from your grade school group maintain your friendship over decades. Together you traverse career fall out, the quarter-century-freak out, career purgatory, pregnancies lost, new babies, no sleep, sick parents, marriage, graduate school, divorce, bad haircuts and biological clocks. You form a Greek Chorus of sorts, calming the Medea-of-the week from slaying her young with Turn on PBS Kids, I’ll be right over with a bottle of wine.

I realize this might not resonate with you right now—as your biggest priority is perfecting your Cockney dialect, but these women become a constant in your life. They serve as your compass as you strive to put a label on Who You Are. How I wish you could know now how unimportant that is compared with who you’re with.

You will spend years questioning yourself and your actress-turned-sales executive-turned-social-worker-slash-mother-turned-blogger-slash-writer-path. Yes, sales executive. In five years not only do you wed, but you also begin a career in advertising sales. Am I scaring the suspenders off of you, Ann Krinsky Age Twenty? Have faith. These skills you learn in theater bring you far—taking direction, improvisation, and especially the use of eyeshadow to make your nose appear smaller. I just killed your theater career dreams, didn’t I. Don’t cry Ann Krinsky Age Twenty. Use this devastation in Shakespeare class. You need it. Your childhood fared too comfortably for this serious acting business. Save those tears for ad sales. You’ll be selling Dr. Laura. I’ll leave it at that.

Let me take your shoulders and look you in the eye, and after we play a round of mime “mirrors” I will say yes Ann Krinsky Age Twenty you have talent. You have a lovely singing voice and stage personality, but the friendships you began in childhood, and that you keep rehearsing, become some of your most beautiful arias, highest hitch-kicks and most moving soliloquies. You never win a Tony, but you win an Erin, a Maria, a Megan—in fact, too many beloved friends to list. Competing for and winning Leading Lady feels so important to you right now, but the light these women bring to your life endures much longer than any spotlight.

These friends love you and celebrate you for being Ann Krinsky, they never leave you craving more applause, better reviews, or the next gig. Simply, your friendships nudge you toward authentic Ann, and away from actress Ann. This does not mean you never find yourself on the stage again, only that you need not find a stage to find yourself.

Well, I’ve got to go pick up your future children at school, and you–to your vocal glides. Some quick advice: Take full advantage of your roommates’ wardrobes because you will never live with such an array of clothing again. Also, dance the gold unitard off of your role in A Chorus Line. Soon you’ll move to Chicago and go to your first professional musical theater dance audition, after which you will change your resume from actor/singer/dancer to actor/singer/moves well and ultimately to actor/singer/…claps.


Ann Imig, Age 37



“The Ruins of Us” BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Today is the release date for Keija Parssinen’s stunning debut novel The Ruins of Us. I had the privilege of previewing The Ruins of Us because I have a very fancy friend  who happens to play chalupa to Keija’s chimichanga (Translation: Tarja —author of The Flying Chalupa—is Keija Parssinen’s sister).

Dudes? Keija writes literature. I spend a lot of time bulldozing through contemporary humor, and I loved settling into her elegant prose and fascinating plot line (my heart was pounding so hard I had to put it down at one point—no lie).  In celebration of her release date I’ll pick a winner at random from the comments and Keija will send you a copy (Continental US only please).

The novel is set in Saudia Arabia on an oil compound—first read a bit about Keija and Tarja’s upbringing as expats in Saudi Arabia here.

Here are just the top three Editorial reviews posted on Amazon:

“A compelling debut.” (Marie Claire (UK) )

“Parssinen’s gripping, well-crafted debut tracks the awakening of a Saudi Arabian family to the dangers that lurk within. . . . Parssinen deftly illuminates Saudi Arabian life through a family locked in a battle over morality and cultural chasms.” (Publishers Weekly )

“Parssinen convincingly inhabits the shifting moods of her characters. . . . Throughout, her prose is artful without being showy, forced, or melodramatic, and her knowledge of Saudi culture informs the story. . . . A fine debut.” (Kirkus Reviews )

Congratulations, Keija!!

30 comments… add one

  • Sarah Miller January 17, 2012, 8:20 am

    I love this post, Ann. Every line is full of gratitude. Gorgeous stuff.

  • Lisa Golden January 17, 2012, 8:56 am

    This is lovely. One thing I have been lousy about is maintaining my friendships. I want to show this post to my daughters so they can see a good example for having and keeping friends.

  • MommaBeThyName January 17, 2012, 9:14 am

    Oh, I love it!! Makes me wistful of my theater days…and my singing days…Man, I miss singing! Kudos to you for maintaining those friendships. Mine are around, but we’re so far removed by space and time, things just aren’t the same. Hold onto that. It’s rare and precious!

  • L-Diggitty January 17, 2012, 10:18 am

    Love this post! My letter to 20 year old me would be primarily: “Stop drinking, push your boyfriend out of bed, and GO TO CLASS!” It’s a wonder I graduated at all.

    And totally pick me for the book! It looks awesome and I’m actually pretty literate for someone who slacked a lot during the undergrad years…

  • MommaKiss January 17, 2012, 10:56 am

    Oh the heavens, what the H would I write to myself at age 20…so much changed that year. I’m not lucky enough to have the gift of girlfriends past – we live thousands of miles away and write {real letters} once in a while. Wish I had your support system, especially through those ‘dancing’ years ;)

    I had ZERO idea that Tarja’s sister wrote a book. GAH. Clicking every link now.

  • Becky January 17, 2012, 11:08 am

    This was beautiful, Ann Imig Age 37

  • bernthis January 17, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I love this. I can’t imagine what my 20 year old self would say to my 46 year old self. Perhaps one day I will have that conversation and share it but as of today,I’m going to enjoy yours.


  • Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac January 17, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Beautiful. I want to hug your friends for helping you become the Ann we know and love today.

  • Suzy January 17, 2012, 2:42 pm

    When I first got to NY I too had “moves well” on my resume. Then I went to a Broadway musical audition and due to the amount of shame I experienced I took it off my resume and added “Can’t audition well where dancing is concerned.”

  • Keija Parssinen January 17, 2012, 4:11 pm

    Thank you, Ann!!! So happy to have had you as an early reader and supporter :)

  • The Flying Chalupa January 17, 2012, 4:36 pm

    mime “mirrors” – HA!
    “you need not find a stage to find yourself” – brilliant. You are WAY too authentic for the stage, Ann, and I mean that in the best possible way.

    What a gorgeous post, Ann Imig Age AWESOME.

    And to echo Keija, THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU! (not that I’m a proud sister or anything)

  • Ann Imig January 17, 2012, 4:39 pm

    You really want that book, don’t you Tarja. Shameless.

  • The Empress January 18, 2012, 7:54 am

    Loved this post.

    Truly loved it.

    You have such care for who you are, and are aware of the different directions that can happen.

    I sat and read, and felt as if maybe there isn’t too much crapola going on in the world (this post was much too refined for the first word that came to mind, instead of crapola)

    Thank you for being who you are, Ann: you changed things for me. And that is a statement without exaggeration.

    And YES, to K’s book: Holy Cow, but what I was afraid was going to happen. You’re a stronger woman than me, I couldn’t put it down.

    And the gift K has of the understated writing: So much more effective than shouting.

    Loved it.

  • Adventures In Babywearing January 18, 2012, 7:54 am

    I’m forwarding this post to some friends yes I am. And as a bonus I’d love the book too!!


  • Heather EO January 18, 2012, 8:01 am

    This makes me want to write my own. Which means it’s really good because how else would it make someone want to write? I love you, Ann Imig. And I bet I would have loved Ann Krinsky. I mean, I think I already do.


  • dusty earth mother January 18, 2012, 9:31 am

    Oh, so gorgeous. “…claps.” Me too.

  • Wendi January 18, 2012, 10:48 am

    They’re lucky to have you, Ann Krinsky.

  • Joanna Jenkins January 18, 2012, 11:52 am


    I can’t even remember my 20 year old self– it was such a long time ago ;-)

    xo jj

  • Julie January 18, 2012, 12:15 pm

    now I need to hug my friends. hard.

    plus read The Ruins of Us.

    and also dig out my old videotapes of me as Luisa in The Fantastiks, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, Polly in The Boyfriend and Orphan # 4 in Oliver! (An ingenue has to start somewhere.)

    p.s. Your writing transports me. No lie.

  • lostandforgotten January 19, 2012, 12:45 pm

    I wish my future self would write me a letter because I really want to know how this is all going to work out. Sometimes I’m just not so sure.

    It’s a real testament to true friendship when relationships from long ago can mold and change as we age and become even stronger.

  • injaynesworld January 19, 2012, 6:18 pm

    This is beautifully written, Ann. I can so relate. I cannot imagine my life without the incredible women who have filled it, some forever, some for just a short time, but each leaving indelible prints on my heart. Again, really beautiful stuff, my very talented friend.

  • Anna Lefler January 20, 2012, 8:26 am

    Oh, what a lovely post. Wow.

    I snap my suspender pants in salute to you!!



  • Heidi January 20, 2012, 8:49 am

    This is gorgeous! Beautiful writing and heart, Ann.
    Hey, and we’re the same age! I thought I should point that out.

  • the mama bird diaries January 20, 2012, 10:31 pm

    How old were you when you got married?!

  • Bejewell January 23, 2012, 10:38 am

    Wait. You can use EYE SHADOW to make your nose look smaller? I’ve been doing this all wrong.

  • Jessica January 29, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Oh I love this, I too learned that I was better off just clapping. My friends I had at 20 I have sadly, lost touch with but new, amazingly true friends have taken their place. So glad that you have such great support surrounding you.

  • Flawless Mom February 3, 2012, 12:03 pm

    Gorgeous. I have so much I wish I could say to Younger Me, but I’m too freaking tired. I’m gonna try to write some stuff down later though. It seems very therapeutic. I’m going to start my letter with, “Dear Dummy”…

  • Faiqa May 3, 2012, 9:53 pm


  • Faiqa May 3, 2012, 9:54 pm

    This post is perfection.

  • Rita Arens June 7, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Rock on, Ann Krinsky Imig.

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