In the digital age–with blogging and tweeting and Facebook– oversharing runs rampant. I used to write a fair share of essays including those published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and some consumer magazines. It was for me a dance between personal details and a universal message that people could connect to. This is different from sharing –or oversharing — all the lurid details of life.
As more and more people moved to reading online and my favorite sections of the newspaper dwindled and other parts of my life overflowed, I have backed away from the essay. Also, I don’t like to publish work about my children as much out of respect for their privacy in the Internet age. Recently though I took some time and read through some of my older stuff and realized how much I miss the essay. I started reworking a few pieces. In today’s Huffington Post, my essay on divorcing my wedding dress is published.
The essay about my dress is written to connect with other divorced women and asks at the end what they did with their dresses. In earlier drafts many more words centered around me and my angst etc. They had to go in order for the essay to work. If I follow (and I did) Nancy Kelton’s instructive personal essay sentence which she writes about in her book Writing from Personal Experience it would go:
My essay is about X (getting rid of my wedding dress), but it is really about Y (learning to let go of the past truly to begin again.) I took Nancy’s one day course in NYC quite a few years ago and I still find the information I learned useful.
The comments to the essay (a section I usually despise) are really great, with women of all ages sharing their stories. I say this is good karma on many fronts.