When You See Who I Am: On Writing Personal Essays

I plan to write personal essays in the coming here.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Trish Cantillon

‘Writing the Personal Essay’ was the first formal writing class I’d taken since college. It was also the first nonfiction writing I’d done outside my diary. At the end of the first session, in an effort to provide inspiration for future essays, the instructor gave us ten minutes to write about anything we wanted. No prompt, just a free-write to see what developed.

Without much thought, I jotted down broad strokes of a personal story. It wasn’t anything that had been burning inside me to tell, it just appeared, and I let it out. When the timer went off, he asked who wanted to share. Many hands shot up, including mine. I had shared my fiction writing in workshops over the years and I liked reading my work aloud. I was excited to introduce myself in this way to my fellow writers. The instructor signaled for me…

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The road less traveled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
______Robert Frost

Thank You for Helping Me to Navigate the Virus

A positive story about Covid 19

Watching the Daisies

After two days of extreme fatigue, followed by a sore throat, I wondered, could this be the dreaded virus?

Surely not!

A day later a burning/tingling sensation and a tightness gripped my left lung and ribs, and I sensed it moving to my lower right lung/ribs.

My hands, feet and the lymph glands in my neck had a similar burning/tingling sensation.

Help!

Calling the Doctor

I telephoned my local surgery immediately, and a kind doctor noted my symptoms. I was put on the waiting list for a C****** Test.

Advice offered included keeping well hydrated, and getting plenty of fresh air. If my condition worsened, I should call back for help.

I was also told to self isolate for fourteen days.

Reaching Out to a Friend

Feeling somewhat fearful for my future, I reached out to a natural medicines therapist friend asking for healing thoughts and prayers. Thankfully, my request…

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Updated website

I changed the colors on my website. I don’t know about you but that bright yellow was hurting my eyes!


It’s a picture of the inside of a flower taken by my brother-in-law. However, this morning I realized that is no longer who I am, enclosed in a flower while trying to see it’s beauty. No sir, I am that tiny speck of a human being owning the universe in the new image.

Ten Tips for Writing While Quarantined

Here’s hoping none of you are infected. But if it happens…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Brenda, head shotby Brenda Ridley

Assuming that you are up and about during the COVID-19 pandemic, you could view this period of social distancing as an unexpected gift to your writing life. That’s the attitude I’ve adopted as I decide how to use my time while exiled from my job for two weeks.

Last week, Pennsylvania’s governor ordered schools state-wide closed to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The small independent school where I double as admissions coordinator and office manager complied. While the risk to our students of COVID-19 exposure is probably low, we could not in good conscience remain open while 99% of the schools in Philadelphia shut down. Ours is a very small school but, luckily, one with digital resources that teachers can use for online instruction. Most of my work time is spent on the phone, making sure that teachers have the resources they need, the office runs…

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