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A Pushcart Prize-nominated essayist, she has been published in Salon, Brevity, Mc Sweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Normal School, Hobart, The Rumpus, Essay Daily, and Black Warrior Review, among many others.Her third collection of essays, Human Heartbeat Detected, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press.
How the intentional blanks create a pattern in lyric essays. * About the blanks: I take another knitting break, so I can consider the blanks.
(And I also break to take some pictures because visuals are fun, and this is about patterns after all, which are mostly a visual-ish kind of thing.
This last knitting break I did eight repeats of *(YO, K1) x2, YO, K3, K2TOG* Which is to say there’s a type of rhythm found in whispering to myself: “Yarn over one; yarn over one; yarn over one, two, three; two together,” as I go through the round, as motions match repetition. A mindfulness of object in hand, fingers guiding the creation. Like how I’ve been trying to write an essay that looks like knitting, but I don’t really know what that means. I’ve never read this book, but I mindfully recommend it.
That is, I understand the power and importance of observation, of how you can understand something without fully experiencing it, that you can write about the mindfulness that brings you to something—the power of (blank).
Then it was about observation and fibers’ meditations.
(And of course: patterns.) Now it’s about this—a structure forming while an idea unravels itself within me. An inner-methodical mazing through my brain, finishing on the page. And now I remember that I came up with a line in my last knitting break that I was going to write down but forgot about it.* Patrick Madden says this about writers and patterns: “We are a pattern-finding species, perhaps none of us more so than essayists, whose job it is to corral bits of raw experience into meaning without inventing rounded scenarios and uncanny coincidences. It’s not about turning life into art, turning yarn into fabric, but it’s about the witnessing and the creating together, intersecting at the experience of living.Our imaginations don’t supply the materials, but they make the connections.” In knitting patterns, the parentheses are for what needs to be repeated. Lyric essayist Dinty Moore has a book about being a mindful writer, aptly named .This isn’t about spinning tales or about yarn unraveling. With lyric essays, sometimes the pattern, the structure of it, comes as you write. I didn’t know how this was going to be words and yarn woven together. But as I started writing, the figuring-it-out-as-I-go started to take shape, too.I’m knitting a tank top right now, patternless: Without a pattern already written, that is. As in looping the yarn onto the needle, so I can start knitting and weaving things together.I just took a knitting break from this essay because I needed to slow down and think a bit, even with the blinking blanks and the gaining existence. (*K6, YO, K2TOG*—and while knitters will know what that means, non-knitters can be in the know just by knowing that there are patterns to knitting, like there are patterns to writing.A pattern I just noticed that’s emerging in this essay: aside from my enthusiasm for using colons, the core of this essay is forming within the parentheticals.Which is interesting because that’s antithetical to the “right” usage of parentheticals.I have the general idea (halter top), the general stitches I’ve learned when knitting other stitches; but beyond that, I’m making it up as I go. The general thought—an inkling for a that will speak to an other thing, knitting and writing, for instance—and I’m letting the structure make itself up as I go.First, this essay was about the _______s and the yarn overs.