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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blog Purpose and the Personal Essay

When I began Organic Mothering, my first post was basically a mission statement regarding the purpose of the blog and the topics that it would focus on, so readers can refer back to that entry if necessary. What I want to do now is to clarify my intentions for this space and the format in which it is written. First of all, I am a writer, and put simply, a writer must write, just as a dancer must dance and a painter must paint. Except for my poems, the literary format of my posts is the personal essay. What this means is that I write about a particular topic or theme as seen through the lens of my life. While I do quote outside sources to enhance or support my topics, my writing is primarily subjective. Objectivity is not a requirement of this literary genre.

The topics of a personal essay are typically those of great interest or passion to the author, and she shares her thoughts and opinions in light of personal experiences and real events. In this way the personal essay is a work of creative nonfiction. I rarely give the names of people, including my own, so as to keep a certain level of anonymity and to allow a broader range of expression. The element of telling a story is intrinsic to this format, so while the information is autobiographical, the real people are also characters in a story.

In a personal essay, the topic may be an issue such as a political or social concern, or a conflict of some kind. The point of the essay is to present the topic using personal stories and opinions and to end with a type of resolution--a point made, an insight gained, or a lesson learned. The events described may run the whole gamut of human emotions and experiences. The purpose of my blog is not to report events like a newspaper journalist. I do provide a great deal of information that is factual, but that is only a small aspect of what I write. Usually written in first person narrative, the personal essay is ultimately a conversation between the author and the reader.

While no one needs any special credentials to write a blog, I have a great deal of professional and educational experience that has honed my skills. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, and I did study poetry, informational, and magazine writing in college. I had poems published by The Ohio State University and the Jawbone Poetry Series of Kent, OH. I have been paid as a featured poet at a professional forum in Columbus, and I placed in a poetry contest through that forum. I worked as a freelance writer and editor for the McGraw-Hill publishing company and created marketing literature for a nationally known talent agency. Currently, I teach poetry classes through Keystone Co-op. I produce my blog with the highest integrity and excellence in writing that I am able.

I am grateful to all of my readers. I have always received the most help from other people's stories, and my hope is that readers will recognize their own feelings and experiences in mine. The personal essay extends to universal themes, and I want my blog to be a space for ideas, information, contemplation, artistic outlet, and entertainment. If I were to write in fear of possibly offending someone, I would not be able to be effective in this work. As my grandmother said, "Keep writing." As a writer, I have no choice. I must write.

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