“Golden Years” was the first short story I turned in for an M.F.A. workshop. When I began writing it, I had this insane idea that it would be a piece which followed the logic of late market capitalism. I wanted a plot that ravenously accrued details and complications, charging forward uninhibited at whatever cost, ballooning until it collapsed under its own weight. An interesting idea in theory, perhaps, but folly for the short story writer. On the subject of that first draft, my professor said, “If this were in a literary magazine, I wouldn’t read it.” He was right. That story needed to be reigned in. At maybe five-thousand words, it was too massive, too widespread, too deluded into believing its own ridiculous ambitions. I, the author, had to tell the story no. This is all to say, the stuff it satirizes is also the stuff of its creation. That early draft, at least, was greedy. I was greedy. I wanted to blow people away with the dexterity of my sentences, the complexity of my narrative, the depth of my characters. Though the piece was written for a graduate workshop, my education came in a stone cold evaluation of who I was as a writer. Over time, I realized these were not, in fact, my sentences. This was not my narrative. Thus, I told myself no. I reigned myself in.