Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Here’s an essay at Lit Hub, looking at how Virginia Wolfe wrote an essay complaining about how many personal essays there were in 1905, comparing that complaint with a more recent one complaining about the same thing. That’s three essays about how there are too many personal essays, all packed into one personal essay!
I bring this up as my “memoir” in vignettes — essentially a bunch of little personal essays — is hot off the virtual presses. It’s called In No Particular Order.
The thing is, there probably are too many personal essays out there, mainly because they are popular to read and write, and they’re relatively easy to write. And there’s a marketplace for personal essays online at sites like Vox and Salon, so you can actually get paid for writing about that time you sat next to Vanna White for three hours on a plane and she was really really nice.
Wolfe gripes that personal essays are just opinion pieces, and since she says so in a personal essay I guess that’s just her opinion. Frankly I didn’t read the whole Lit Hub piece because I didn’t care what the writer’s opinion was. I was mildly curious about what Wolfe had to say. My opinion is that the opinions of famous people are more interesting, generally, than the opinion of some writer at Lit Hub who’s just thrilled to get an opinion piece in Lit Hub. That said, I’d be thrilled to get an opinion piece in Lit Hub. I probably should have submitted this one.
The bottom line is, writers love to write, and writers have had it beaten into their heads that they should write what they know. No one knows more about anything more than they know about themselves, so there’s a natural invitation to write personal essays. I admit, I probably know more about what not to flush down into a septic system than I know about myself, but I don’t think that would make a very interesting essay.
And that’s why I’ve published In No Particular Order, because it collects all the little personal essays I’ve written over the last four years into one convenient package, and by the time a reader finishes reading it she’ll know more about me than I know about what not to flush down into a septic system. And that’s a lot.
You can buy In No Particular Order here for just 99 cents.
[Image via Wiki Commons]