I recently got to interview the wonderful Elena Passarello for Cafe MFA. We talked about the ways in which research can be personal without ever employing the “I,” innovative essay forms, and the importance of ergonomic workspaces. Here’s a tiny snippet, in which she describes her drafting process:
I’d say that the primary objective of my past two books was letting the results of the research guide the sound and shape of the pieces. I trust that the material has a form that makes sense and that I have to unearth it because nonfiction is magic. But man, is that a cumbersome way to make essays. Rather than drafting, I sort of slowly take notes all over my office on lots of different notebooks and large pieces of paper until the taking of the notes starts to look like something to me. Either that or until I write a line that sounds like something to me. Usually by the time I start officially drafting, I have a general sense of either the structural or the sonic world the essay wants me to make. Rarely am I sure of any end point, though sometimes I lie to myself and pretend that I do.
I love that she gives equal importance to the structural and sonic entry points to the essay. Read on here!