Can something happen in our family before our birth that affects who we are today? Has there been an event—the birth of a child, falling in love, an illness, an indiscretion—that has changed the way we look at life? What better way to document that event, and all of those concomitant emotions surrounding it, than in a personal essay? When we write about ourselves, we often scratch the surface. In this course, I urge students to drill deeper, using words as tools...and then deeper still...until the "excavation equipment" is in use. Why? Because personal essay is so much more than documenting events; it can also be the door leading to the light, the passage through which we walk, or run, or escape to or from something in our lives.
The Personal Essay (Or: How Deep is Too Deep?)