Thursday, March 19, 2015

Essays and Opportunities

I came across an excellent essay in The American Scholar's online newsletter. The essay explores the difference between confessing and confiding and the opening blurb says: "Knowing the difference between the two can elevate an essay from therapy to art." Emily Fox Gordon is the author of the essay, "Confessing and Confiding."  Click here for the link. Somewhere in the essay she points out that confessional writing is always about power, whereas writing to speak a confidence is a relationship that inspires equality and is without the perceived influence of power. A most interesting and thorough discussion about these approaches to writing and well worth the time to read and consider these avenues and techniques of expression that may change the quality and dynamic of writing autobiography or memoir.

I've just agreed to two months' writing in Monterey for May and June. Immediately my mind swirls with the potential of what work I will address. Rarely has there been a time when I did not have some projects in mind and this time, as always, I have several. Therein lies the dilemma. How will the writing projects play out so that I can sink into the story, or the essays, and not spend the months plundering through false starts. How can I come out of this time with a substantial body of work to show for the opportunity to be in solitude and write in a wonderful setting?  How do we pick our best ideas? This is the mark of the seasoned writer, the confident writer who isn't afraid to plant the flag in the ground and say "Here is where I plant my feet!"  And then to make the best of the choice, enrich it, dream it into being, allow it to take on the flavor of its creator. And, most of all, to not watch the clock ticking away the days and weeks. How lucky can a girl get to have this chance to try and figure these things out?

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