Me: Early thirties. MA in Women’s Studies. Essayist at the beginning of her career, a woman who didn’t shy away from writing about sex, trauma, addiction and all of that Hard Life Stuff.
The personal essay is a place of expression. Exploration. Experimentation. It’s a sacred space, even. I’ve figured out a lot about myself, have had life-changing revelations and intriguing insights all while orchestrating a personal essay. I say “orchestrating” because it’s more than just the actual writing that gets me closer to me, but it’s the editing that brings enlightenment—the choreography and control of relentless revisions that undoubtedly help me to understand more about me, my relationship to language, who I am in the larger world. It’s all about finding the perfect words, their power, discovering the precise way to describe the experiences that have shaped me. Made me. The revision process is when I sit down with myself—sit in myself—to soak in my words and figure out what I’m really trying to say.
How do we think this career as an essayist is going to pan out?