Thought of the Day

Rock River, Byron, IL

Rock River, Byron, IL

From my private and bountiful Humble Genius Library of My Writings,  a selected bit of wisdom:

27 June 2006

Why, for what purpose, for whom, is an essay, or any writing, written?


The finding of moments in creative nonfiction–you seldom have these in real time. My moments of realizing meaning happen most often while I’m writing, rather than at the real-time moment, during the living.


I don’t want to publish things about my parents, defining them, while they and I still live, you know? I don’t want to confirm — fix, cement — meaning. It always seems fakey to talk about moments and meanings [with the people with whom one has these meanings].


Crafting a text — text isn’t life. I knew that, but I’m wondering, why write my life at all? Why not be a poet? Why not do writing that doesn’t require me to “use up” my life? Roger Angell said when you write your life stories, they aren’t your memories anymore. [This attribution was probably from one of his New Yorker essays written not long before this 2006 date.]

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