One’s life is peculiarly one’s own when one has invented it.
Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows. That is what writing is about. Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself. There, that is writing’s location and aim. But how to get there?
But rereading is not like remembering. It’s more like rewriting ourselves: the subtle alchemy of reinventing our past through the twice-underscored words written by others.
A writer is a person who distributes silences and empty spaces.
…I feel like it makes sense to me that, in an era where there is so much self-exposure and kind of unself-aware, or uncritical ways, like reality television, or the way that people are constantly constructing themselves and consuming other people through Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds, that the essay offers the opportunity for a kind of annotated self-exposure, a sort of self-exposure that’s also questioning itself and being aware of its moves and interrogating its own moves, and when I think about the confessional writing that I love, [it’s] precisely because you get this thrill of exposure that I do think shares something with all of our forms of reality consumption — but you get that thrill of exposure alongside a certain kind of self-consciousness and a certain kind of contextualizing.
I interviewed Leslie Jamison and Roxane Gay for Salon. Anyone who is interested in essays should read this interview.