stories of changing desire
October 7, 2022 6:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for stories (essays/non-fiction or thoughtful fiction, not trite pop stuff) about people who realize they don't actually want what they thought they wanted and come to terms with that/pivot/find new desires/a life that suits them better. Intentionally casting a broad net--it could be

a career path or calling that turns out not to be a good fit, not choosing to have kids after thinking one wanted them for years, shifting feelings about relationships/relationship structures, whatever. Less interested in situations where someone's choice was 100% taken away (like, someone finding out they're infertile in the case of wanting kids) but rather where their own understanding of their desires/needs shifted.
posted by needs more cowbell to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Michel Butor's 'La Modification' (translated into English as 'Second Thoughts' or variously 'A Change of Heart') - takes place almost in real time over the course of a single train journey, deals directly with the gap between what we think we want, what we actually want and what we are finally willing to change. Definitely not trite pop stuff - Butor was one of the key figures of the French Nouveau Roman along with Nathalie Sarraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Claude Simon.
posted by remembrancer at 6:56 AM on October 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Why Fish Don't Exist by Lulu Miller
Fox & I by Catherine Raven
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, A Memoir by Jenn Shapland
Yours Cruelly, Elvira by Cassandra Petersen.

The Monk & Robot series by Becky Chambers is this. It's fiction and the experience of reading it is very light, but it is extremely well written and I found it deeply thought-provoking, especially about the topics of dissatisfaction and transformation.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:03 AM on October 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg
Like many of us, Wizenberg had long understood sexual orientation as a stable part of ourselves: we're "born this way." Suddenly she realized that her story was more complicated. Who was she, she wondered, if something at her very core could change so radically?
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 7:16 AM on October 7, 2022 [5 favorites]

Seconding The Fixed Stars. It is excellent.
posted by theotherdurassister at 2:01 PM on October 7, 2022

Not a book, but one of my favorite classic movies: I know where I’m going! (1945) IMDB

One of the best lines:
Joan’s father: “You can't marry Consolidated Chemical Industries.”
Joan: “Can't I?”

I’m holding out hope that we might get an update of the theme song along the lines of Disclosure’s version of Where Angels Fear to Tread.
posted by ec2y at 3:21 AM on October 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't know how many more answers or views this thread will get, but I'm realizing that as a queer person who has been out for a long time I'm not super interested in stories about shifting sexual orientation, especially the hetero--->homo track, even though that's kind of an obvious option here. It's a played-out topic for me, I guess. So I'd especially love stories of other kinds of desires shifting.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:44 AM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

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