Karen Dietrich explains, “I’ve been obsessed with the experiences of girlhood for as long as I can remember. In writing the pieces that became Girl Years, I set out to document scenes from an American girlhood, but also to explore where memory and imagination intersect. As a child I was fascinated with the idea of the interior life (and of course, that fascination continues). I often felt as though my true self was the one living inside.
I stumbled upon the idea of Girl Years rather by chance. I had been thinking about girls as their own species (hence the play on “dog years,” a formula I never quite understood how to calculate). In my writing, I started meditating on these different concepts of time and the past (clearly another fascination) and it was through this exploration that I wrote the title piece.
Certain questions persisted, and those questions compelled me to write more. Is there such a thing as common experience? Can we ever truly know what we feel minutes, hours, even years, in the same way? I find more comfort in questions rather than answers, as I am forever drawn to the unknown, the unknowable.