Daily Archives: November 21, 2006

Blogging and the Personal Essay

I started this blog with the vague idea that it wouldn’t be that much additional work because the posts would be similar to the ones I’ve been doing for years at child_lit, ccbc-net, and adbooks. Having a rather compulsive disposition, my main worry was that I’d feel an incredible pressure to constantly post (in order to avoid losing the audience I’d hopefully begin to gain). Fortunately, so far, while I’ve always chaffed at recommendations to write daily (as I always feel that my writing needs to come when I’m ready), a self-imposed requirement to post here at least once a week isn’t bothering me at all.

And I’m beginning to get a better sense of the sort of blog I want this to be. I started with a few links on the side, but got rid of them when I realized that I don’t really want to do a blogroll. Others have much better ones; go to them if you want great links. In fact, this blog is a kind of erratically published ‘zine, I guess. Not a particularly cool one, as much as it is (or so I aspire it to be) a sort of one-woman magazine full of the sort of personal essays you read in the New Yorker Magazine. Say by E. B. White or Adam Gopnick.

If you have read this blog steadily since its birth a couple of months ago, you will know how much I admire and adore E. B. White. I’m a fan of Adam Gopnick too. At a recent Lewis Carroll Society of North America meeting here in NYC, Adam gave a superb speech on the influence Carroll and his work has had on him. Having taught his son a couple of years ago, I’m eager to read his new book, Through the Children’s Gate, in which he featured both of his children. For an informative article on Adam and his view of the personal essay, check-out “Art of the Personal Essay” in the Denver Post.

Personal essays have a long and distinguished history. Too often the form is now associated with college admissions or self-indulgence, but those in the past were anything but. One of my all-time favorites is E. B. White’s “Death of a Pig.” Certainly, one of my favorite places to find great personal essays has long been The New Yorker, but more and more I’m finding great ones on blogs too.


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