Posts Tagged: personal essay
When I give lectures to writing students I tell them to not get discouraged if they do not enjoy writing. “I hate writing,” I say, “It’s horrible. It’s hell.” They are shocked every time, but I mean it. I often finish essays feeling like I’ve had to cut away a part of myself in the process and burn it as an offering.
At Lit Hub, a former student talks with Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, about expressions of emotion in personal essays and why “confession and sentimentality [are] taboo.” For Jamison, the investigation of writing emotion began in her MFA program: “I hated this sort of smug assumption that we all knew what was bad.” At the same time, Jamison says, “I was deeply afraid of being seen as someone who was making too much out of a personal experience that actually wasn’t that hard.”...more
Over at The Toast, Nicole Chung has written a deeply personal and beautiful essay about coming to terms with her adoption, embracing her Korean heritage, and learning her mother tongue alongside her daughter:
When I watch my daughter writing in Korean, when we talk about our family history, when she seems sure about who she is … and her place in our family and in the world, I cannot help but feel there are many different kinds of victories to be found, and many ways to heal.
To write her new novel, The Story of My Teeth, Valeria Luiselli got ongoing book club feedback from workers at the Jumex factory featured in the novel. Over at Broadly, Luiselli talks to Lauren Oyler about her process, a childhood spent moving, and how to use—rather than abuse—the personal in essays:
I think that maybe there is too much emphasis on voice, especially when writing personal essays, and less care [with] a gaze, a way of saying.
In response to Slate’s viral article about the rise of the “harrowing personal essay,” prominent editors from different publications weigh in on the importance of confessional writing, reasons for its gender divide, and the publishing process behind it....more
When I left the house on Pace Street and moved to Vermont, I became a writer. I became a writer because I was so broken down by early motherhood that I stopped fearing criticism long enough to throw my work out into the world.
First, Grant Snider’s favorite things, in rhyme.
In The Last Book I Loved, Richard Kramer delves into the “determined and effective” Judith Schneiderman’s memoir, I Sang To Survive. A “propulsive drive” lies behind the Auschwitz survivor’s writing. “What I love most about her book,” Kramer writes, “is the joy with which she tells it, the many moments when her words and insights jump off the page, glowing, specific.”
Lastly, in an animated conversation about story writing and storytelling, “that cool girl” Megan Stielstra opens up about her creative process....more
Writing and revising can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but imaging being unable to see the words on the page. At The Airship Daily, Tammy Ruggles writes about her life as a visually impaired writer:
Before the computer age, the visually impaired could dictate their words to be set down in print or use a stylus to write in braille and have it transcribed, but today’s accessible technology makes writing so easy that you may not realize I used a screen reader, speech recognition software and a magnification program to write this