Lyric Essays

The parenthesis are intended for enclosing the almighty Side Thought.But maybe that’s something lyric essays are all about: finding patterns in punctuation and form and just going with it because that’s just how the mind thinks sometimes. New life goal: knit ugly sweaters for lighter cozies!

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* 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 .

Of course, there’s the issue of telling the truth — a contract that is signed the second that something is described as “non-fiction” or “memoir”: that the author will not steer you wrong, that the story being told is as close as humanly possible to what actually happened, that the feelings felt are accurate.

This is what we expect from our non-fiction and it is why many protect the sanctity of the genre vehemently — the truth, simply, is more valuable.

And it’s in the writing and sorting through the patterning that we can find our vibe, our flow, the words that pour forth because within the fragments, the mosaics, those blank spaces that make up the lyric essays that live within us, we can find the flow. Even in the blanks.) “YO” in knitting is a yarn over.

It’s when you swing the yarn over the needle, and eventually that becomes a hole and eventually the holes create a whole pattern.

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.

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.


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