Eight Times Rory Gilmore Was Completely Relatable To Every 30 Something Writer


By Alicia Cook

I am a first generation Gilmore Girls’ fan. I watched it from the day the pilot aired in 2000 on the WB until the series finale on the CW in 2007. I purchased the seasons on VHS and DVD. I watched the reruns on ABC Family (now Freeform.) And, when Netflix picked up the series, I continued to watch. You get my point.

Throughout the original seven seasons of the show, I felt in sync with Rory. I was very familiar with what she was feeling throughout college and high school. Each week, I commiserated with the younger leading lady, especially in the final season when she received her first major rejection (New York Times Fellowship), had her first major breakdown (the final she didn’t complete, or considering marriage, or graduate or law school; I never temporarily streaked my hair pink, though), and then her first big job offer (on the campaign trail with Barack Obama).

In real life, I am a year or so younger than the fictional character of Rory Gilmore. She graduated high school in 2003, while I did in 2004. She graduated from college in 2007, I in 2008. Like Rory, I grew up dreaming of one day becoming a writer, be it a journalist or novelist. Like Rory, I didn’t have many friends growing up, but the people I did surround myself with were the best people in the world who just let me be, well, me. Like Rory, I studied English and Journalism in college. Like Rory, I was a staff writer on my college paper (though never Editor-in-Chief). Like Rory, I didn’t end up with my first, second, or third loves. Like Rory, I am very close to my mother, from whom I also inherited my coffee habit. In season four, Rory has her mother stay over on her first night at Yale. The first night in my own apartment, I needed my mother to stay over, too. And, like Rory, I have had the same best friend since kindergarten (hi, Katie).

Since last visiting Stars Hollow, I have completed graduate school and have made a career out of writing as Director of Institutional Communications at a college and freelance writing for a myriad of publications, including this website and the Huffington Post. Additionally, I published a collection of poetry that ended up a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards.

Now, as I sit cross-legged on my couch, computer on lap, I am 30-years-old (31 come April), and just met 32-year-old Rory Gilmore thanks to the stars aligning and Netflix rebooting the series with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In a nutshell, Rory is struggling to pave her way in journalism, is having an affair with her engaged ex-boyfriend, and finds herself pregnant come the end of the four, roughly 90-minute episodes (father TBD).

While I am more settled in love, career, and life, there were a few key quotes from the still lovable Rory Gilmore that, as a fellow writer and 30-something-year-old, had me nodding between sips of my cold brew coffee, mumbling “Preach, girl, preach.” Here they are.

“They just bumped it for other stuff, it happens.” – Rory, Winter

Within 20 minutes of the first episode, Rory tells Lorelai that a piece she had written got scrapped due to other more pertinent pieces and space restrictions. Rejections like this are a part of life for a writer, and, like Rory expressed, rejections, no matter how commonplace, always sting a bit, especially when you have to tell your mother.

I couldn’t help but remember the first time I told my own mother that a piece of mine USA Today was going to pick up got bumped, never to be seen again. As a professional, I understood that breaking news had to take precedence, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t a bit deflated and bummed.

“I needed something to turn my brain off. I tried meditation, I tried jogging.” – Rory, Winter

Studies have suggested a correlation between creativity and sleep disturbance. One study in particular, confirmed that professional artists, craftspeople, designers, and writers either sleep less than the average person, have little or no leisure time, or both. And, awake or asleep, their creative brains never stop clicking.

As any creative can attest, Rory was not exaggerating her desire to “turn” her “brain off.” Like Rory, I tried meditation and running – to no avail. In fact, I mentally outlined my next book when last on a treadmill. Once creatives find their own version of Rory’s tap-dancing, we are happy, regardless of how ridiculous it may look. (Whenever I want to turn my brain off, I binge watch television shows I already have memorized or listen to Christmas music, even if it’s summer).

“She mentioned publishing excerpts of it in Vanity Fair, which would be amazing. It’s not really what I do, but it’s good for now. And it’s money. Money is nice.” – Rory, Winter

This sentiment from Rory rings all too true to many a writer. Every writer dreams of picking and choosing topics and publications while never “selling out”. Yet, we still need to pay the bills.

Rory understands working on the book project with the eccentric Naomi Shropshire is not ideal, but necessary, and could be used as leverage at her next meeting for the gig she actually wants to land.

I wrote for a blog I really couldn’t stomach for almost one year before being able to leave it behind for projects I wanted to pursue. As much as I disliked the popular, not-to-be-named, blog’s heavy-handed editors and misconstrued angles, I understood I needed them to build my portfolio.

“Weird makes good copy.” – Rory, Winter

This speaks for itself, but I felt I should still mention it here. This piece, for example, is not a recap or review of the miniseries, because I knew there would be hundreds of those pieces out there already. I wanted to find a unique and very targeted point of view; a “weird” angle to approach the Gilmore world that just might set it apart from its counterparts.

“What notes? All she did was babble.” – Rory, Spring

Yep. My reporter notebook is 75% doodle and, no, you cannot have a photocopy.

“You’re a writer, ruts are normal…you need to find something to write that you’re passionate about…you just gotta find that thing that makes you feel, so that your readers feel it.”- Jess, Summer

Okay, Rory didn’t say this, but her former paramour is also a writer and gets it! Writers do fall into ruts. Writers do need to write about what they truly believe in. This concept gets lost some of the time though when writers also need to write on certain beats outside of their passion-zone to pay the bills.

My first piece of writing went “viral” in 2012. I did not have another piece spread like that again until 2015. For three years I consistently wrote things that went basically nowhere, and I became frustrated. It wasn’t until I started writing openly and honestly on a regular basis about how drug addiction affects families that I began to see regular traffic, with pieces sometimes being viewed millions of times.

Mr. Mariano is totally right in his advice to a floundering Rory – if you feel it, your readers will, too.

“That person you knew in your youth who was smart and together has been chewed up and spit out by this thing we call ‘life’ and you will never, ever see her again! I need be to 20 again.” – Rory, Summer

When we last saw Rory, she was 22 and made the decision to forgo settling down with Logan in California (RIP avocado tree) to keep her options, both career and life-wise, open. In 2007, the unknown was exhilarating.

Now, at 32, the same unknown is closing in and smothering our heroine. She is questioning a lifetime’s worth of decisions. She feels like she is running out of time. Sentiments many of us 30-somethings know all too well.

“I wonder if the rest of the 30-Something Gang goes through crap like this.” – Rory, Summer

Yes, Ace, we do. Thank you for helping us feel a little less alone in this crap.

Alicia is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE.

{featured image via ET Online}