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Tell It Slant, Third Edition, 3rd Edition by Suzanne Paola, Brenda Miller

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8

The Tradition of the Personal Essay

After a time, some of us learn (and some more slowly than others) that life comes down to some simple things. How we love, how alert we are, how curious we are. Love, attention, curiosity. . . . One way we learn this lesson is by listening to others tell us true stories of their own struggles to come to a way of understanding. It is sometimes comforting to know that others seem to fail as often and as oddly as we do. . . . And it is even more comforting to have such stories told to us with style, the way a writer has found to an individual expression of a personal truth.

—SCOTT WALKER

I am a young woman in college, beginning to write. One day I pick up Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A book-length, ...

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