I’ve finally finished my first draft of Fragments: Essays, and I’m working on the second draft at the moment: it took me around a year and a half to write through many stops and starts, but I came to the point where I felt that I had written most of what I wanted to write, at least for this book.
As it stands right now, Fragments is a book of essays with five sections, each of them focusing on an area of life and identity: Living in a Body, Matters of the Heart, Thinking and Dreaming, Writing and Creating, and Society and Identity. I’ve stayed away from using blog content for the book, because I didn’t want to repeat myself, and it was much more satisfying and challenging to write new essays.
I’m not sure why I chose to write a book of essays. Perhaps it’s because I’ve found essays to be the format I’m comfortable with – personal essays, blog posts, academic essays, articles. I always assumed that my first book would be fiction, but I’ve discovered that I have a lot to say, that the times we live in are rich and full of ideas and stories, that reading about other people’s life experiences and wisdom brings me joy – and I’ve felt that I also wanted to impart my lessons and thoughts to other people in this way.
I don’t know for sure if reading and writing is a form of activism (at least not for everybody) – maybe it enhances our awareness and leads to people making change, provokes empathy, but sometimes, as a deaf person, writing is my activism. I don’t always feel as if I have a strong voice in the outside world, often disappointed with access to things, always having to ask for it, to keep fighting in gentle ways to make sure people know that access also means communication and language access. So yes, writing is part of my activism. Not that the essays I’ve written are preachy or imply that there is only one way to affect change.
Fragments is so-called because the essays are fragments of my life and fragments of thought that make up a whole. They are pieces of glass that help us to reflect on our own ideas and identities. I debated changing the title a number of times. The subtitle will change, but the title itself still fits. I’ve tried not to be too restrictive in the layout of the book, but I’ve found that the sections, for the most part, hold the essays well, and that, interestingly, most of the essays also work together. Writing a book of essays hasn’t been easy because in the back of my mind I’m aware that people who publish collections of essays usually have a larger body of work behind them – that they are politicians, novelists, journalists, philosophers, or activists, amongst other types of professions that work with essay writing. I read a number of articles that made me feel discouraged about writing a book of essays – but, for me, it felt like a natural form to pursue.
I’m aware too, that I don’t have a professional expertise that means I can write essays in a particular field. I’m interested in so many things, that I’ve tried to be true to myself and write what interests and inspires me. I would say that my essays are, as my blog posts can be, quite philosophical and bring together the concepts, ideas, and experiences that have marked my life thus far. If you like my blog, I hope you will like the book. I don’t claim to have all the answers, or to presume that everything in the book will interest every reader, but my hope is that the book will reach the readers who need it. At the moment, I’m working on adding and changing, moving things around, and bringing the essays up to scratch, but I feel positive about the book as a whole – and I’m looking forward to finally publishing it once I have a cover, it’s edited well, and I’ve worked out all the steps I need to take to publish and market!
So here’s to Fragments and a new chapter of writing and editing!
‘Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.’ – William Wordsworth