Christy Wampole’s debut essay collection is The Other Serious: Essays for the New American Generation. From her Q & A with Michele Filgate for Salon:
In the introduction, you write: “Essays are barometers of the intellect. We are all atmospheric creatures, influenced by the cultural weather around us; the essayist takes it as her role to say something about the way the atmosphere plays upon a person and exerts pressure on the mind and its bearing.” Something I’m always curious about, as a fellow essayist: What gave you the confidence to become an essayist? I feel like it takes a certain amount of belief in your opinions and your personal voice to set your arguments on the page. Have you ever struggled with that, or has that always come naturally to you?--Marshal Zeringue
I started to write essays because the form allows you to vent those thoughts that have no other outlet. For me, the diary entry, the short story, or the poem just didn’t cut it because they seemed to lack a certain reflective element that I believe to be the core of the essay genre. Essay writing has been for me a matter of necessity and, in some ways, therapy. I’ve written so many essays that will never see the light of day, crafted purely for myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that thoughts not put down in writing might as well never have been thought.
Regarding those essays that do make their way to the public, it isn’t that I think my opinions are worth more than someone else’s; it’s that I believe everyone should be essaying all the time and I’m simply doing my part in what I wish were a universal project. Sadly...[read on]