Written Portrait Essays

Written Portrait Essays-49
He greeted me in his living room, which had become a staging area for the imminent arrival of holiday guests, and suggested we go up to his study, a small cube of a room on the top floor that was brimming with books older than me. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address. Lopate agreed to meet me at his house in Brooklyn on Christmas Eve morning.I’ve known students who were brilliant and verbally very accomplished. They’re not putting out a great deal because when they’re not acting they’re in-gathering. To some degree, when you’re a writer you’re always writing in your head.

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He expected to search below the famed Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, but the Ottoman authorities denied his request to excavate there.

Warren decided to dig instead on a slope outside the Old City walls, observing that the Psalms describe Jerusalem as lying in a valley surrounded by hills, not on top of one.

The former is a miscellaneous collection; the latter is on the craft and styles of various essayists, and includes the essay “Between Insanity and Fat Dullness: How I became an Emersonian,” originally published in the January 2011 issue of .

Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes. His newest books, , were both released this month from Free Press.

So let’s have some fun because we’re not going after the big bucks.” Essay collections are not going to get the big advances. While part of the authority comes from aping a certain kind of adult tone, part of it comes from owning your confusion. ” I’m interested in many different things, most of us are. Inside my head there’s the lover, the parent, the intellectual, the non-intellectual, and the sports fan. I wake up in the morning and think, “Who’s on the roster of the New York Knicks? To me, obsession is someone going on and on in a boring way.

You start out with the form’s tropism toward the small, the minor, the overlooked, the neglected. I wrote a book called I would have to invent a persona, invent a character, somebody who felt very comfortable about doing this, which I hadn’t done before. So you say, “I don’t know this, that means what I do know has extra authority behind it.” You can trust this writer because the writer is telling us that he doesn’t have all the answers. Obsession is overrated, but curiosity will take you a long way.

One of the reasons autobiographies and memoirs used to be written by older people and not twenty-somethings is that they wanted to be able to look back on the ups and downs of life with some perspective.

JG: Perspective allows the writer to get away with being wrong, right? One of the strategies of the essay is, “Hey, we’re just a little form here, not the Nobel prize–winning form. I’m much more drawn to curiosity than I am to obsession.

For me, it was very helpful to read philosophical writers, because they wanted to think at the highest possible level. PL: Max Beerbohm says, “The only people who take themselves very seriously are madmen.” You have to be able to take a step back and have perspective.

I read things like Rilke’s One of the things I try to do, which Emil Cioran talks about, is to think against myself, because if you’re just writing to persuade there won’t be any surprises, but if you catch yourself and say, “Yes, but . That is always a trait of the best essayists and memoirists.

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