“The present periodically splits into various paths, each a potentially fruitful avenue of exploration” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Self Portrait by © Emily Dozois

Self Portrait © Emily Dozois

An Interview with Emily

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. On my sixteenth birthday I booked a hotel suite with three friends and my brother, John. I live in a small town, so being in the city is always an adventure in itself, but having my friends with me made it even more special. We went out for burgers, swam in the pool until it closed, and slept in the same bed because no one wanted to move, (except John of course). The exhaustion that lingered for days afterward was well worth it.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. My worst memory of a birthday actually has nothing to do with my birthday at all. It was the day my little brother, John, turned thirteen. I was in the hospital, where I had recently been released from intensive care because of an extreme asthma flare-up. My parents and three siblings came to see me, and they smuggled a cake in with them. I felt awful that I had inadvertently stolen the spotlight on what should have been my brothers special day.


Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I think the most important part of celebrating a birthday is staying true to yourself. If you love socializing and any excuse to party, then invite all your friends to celebrate with you. If you’re an introvert who would much rather relax with a few special people or no one at all, then do that. It shouldn’t be up to anyone else what you decide to do on your birthday.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. Birthday season lasts for months in my family, so celebrations tend to be merged with others. We don’t really have time for any elaborate traditions, other than the cake of course!