Stalking the essay

Albatross necklace

All my good intentions to blog regularly this year have been thwarted by the realities of trying to (a) find the right publisher for my clients’ work and (b) finish my own manuscript. The former is difficult enough. The latter project, though not quite an albatross around my neck, has been with me for a long time now. It’s been quite distressing at times to discover myself deep in second book syndrome, which I imagined I would avoid given the rather unusual circumstances of my first. I read this morning that a writer must be prepared to throw away hundreds of pages en route to the final form of the work at hand. I can attest to that, though a lady never discloses exactly how many hundreds of pages she has jettisoned. (For her own sanity more than anything …)

Wrestling with the long form of a book means that it is even more satisfying to complete short pieces in a timely fashion. Hence I’m delighted to provide this link to my report for Brevity‘s nonfiction blog on the Stalking the Essay Conference held on Saturday 6th April at Columbia University. It was such a treat to listen to writers as different as Vivian Gornick, Patricia Hampl, Daniel Mendelsohn, Katha Pollitt, Colm Toibin and Michael Greenberg talk about their own paths to and through the essay form. Though it was an entire day spent away from my own desk, it was well worth it for the inspiration it provided. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

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