When someone asks, “How long does it take you to write an essay?” I want to answer, “My entire life.” First, I’ve lived through the experience, or witnessed an event, or inspiration sparks through some random fairy wand sprinkling glitter while I sleep. Then I marinade. Sometimes stowing the idea into a brain box, promising, I’ll write about this.
My process is less than consistent. While the idea sits alongside other boxed experiences in my mind, I garden, cook, organize drawers, de-clutter freezers, all the while sorting these boxes. At times, the situation picks at me, like a tiny angry bird needing feeding. Other times, the experience bursts onto my journal pages, squealing and hollering, reminding me to keep my writing promise.
An example of my process might look like this:
- I lived through childhood sexual trauma. It messed me up. It damaged my future relationships. It damaged me.
- I spent years in therapy unpacking anger and self-inflicted harm (more anger).
- I’m still in therapy.
- I write around these events, write through them, turn them into poetry, eat them in meals.
- Years later, I interview a couple regarding their intimate life.
- Here’s the link to that interview: Our Voice – Intimacy Segment
- After interviewing the Cramers, I opted to undergo the same procedure, The Mona Lisa.
- After the procedure, something unexpected happened, bursting that tucked box.
- I dusted that box, opened it, grabbed a pen, and wrote.
- Soon after submitting my work, Entropy published the piece.
- You can read it here: Mona Lisa by Rebecca Evans
This is one path, one birthing passage of an essay. The road to an essay is not singular or linear or even sensible. Sometimes I avoid the road and that serves me the least, leaving those boxes stacking in my mind, gathering dust, gathering.
One thought on “The Birth of an Essay”
Thanks for sharing, Rebecca!
Hope all is well.
See you soon!
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