Roots and Wings: A Collection of Personal Essays

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Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature


Ozzie Mayers, English


The personal essay, or creative nonfiction, is currently enjoying a revival in literary circles. Now considered a viable genre, the essay is eagerly received by readers and writers alike. Even readers who have not studied the field may find themselves unwittingly enjoying them; they even find their way into national newspapers, such as Ellen Goodman's columns, or onto national radio, such as Garrison Keillor's radio essays. After studying the genre, I soon found that I had been reading, enjoying, and even thinking in essays long before I knew what the genre was. My attraction to the essay is the same reason that it has become so popular recently. Unlike fiction,. articles, or poetry, the essay provides for me a perfect place to combine writing flair, brilliant insights, and myself. In Estranging the Familiar, G. Douglas Atkins asserts that "the return of/to the personal would be unthinkable and impossible without a strong interest in and commitment to the truths of the human heart." Like contemporary writers and scholars, the personal essay drew me in with these truths.