new series intro: essays about cities

Sunday, May 20, 2012

At a career panel last week, I received some helpful advice from an established writer and creator of an independent book press. She suggested the starting of a blog, despite how cliche, cheesy, and somewhat vain the action is, but importantly, to go somewhere with it. Like early-20s life, you just have to pick a path, some direction, and go there. The blog should have a goal, any goal, and it should be something that excites and invigorates you. Because, for the writer, the blog becomes an exercise in not just the obvious (writing and editing), but another outlet for creativity, expression, commentary. It is an exercise in self-reflection, questioning, and contemplation. 

That's been my intention from the start, and that's more or less what I've been doing. But I've also felt compelled to hone in on what I'm doing here, beyond just writing (um, sometimes) about my daily experiences and adventures in a new phase of life. I'd like to do more focused writing with specific goals in the form of side projects, if you will. Basically, I'm just going to start a series, not weekly, but often, of more thoughtful essays on cities and physical places. It will be in addition to the rest of my blog, so no worries, I'll still be letting you know about what creeps stare at me on subways and how I'm making friends after being lonely and what foods I'm gorging on and all that good stuff ;). 

I've been reading a lot of really great essays lately, and discovering this genre is relatively new yet exciting. I'm not talking essays in the sense of dread that you might be conjuring up right now, of school and college papers that were tedious and boring. No, I mean essays in the traditional sense, like of literary nonfiction--think "A Room of One's View" if you will, or authors like Joan Didion--creative exploration and the process of thinking about meanings. 

The exploration of themes through ordinary observance, creative commentary stemming from my thoughts and experiences, all in hope to reveal some nugget of meaning and significance. This is going to be my attempt, a showcase of my learning and experience. I want to be a novelist, eventually, but that road (and I'm on it) is pretty convoluted and not easy to navigate, and this genre is one I've lately been really interested in and would like to try my hand at it.We'll see how it goes. I hope you like it, and even though maybe not everyone will find it interesting, but I'd invite you to give it a chance and catch a glimpse into what sort of writer I am beyond the easy digestion a blog offers.

If you'd like a better idea of sort of what I'm trying to get at, I received a lot of inspiration from here: http://johngreenbooks.com/thoughts-from-places-an-introduction/. I've also taken inspiration from literary nonfiction essay collections like The White Album and The Gutenberg Elegies, which I had to read for my graduate classes. Isn't that funny--getting real inspiration and drive from something assigned for school. Who'da thunk. I hope my professors are happy, damnit.


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