Jessica Lind Peterson

“Writing is wrestling. With time, with space, with memory. With confidence, sentences, syntax. With children, pets, partners, dinner. Essays have either gushed out of me, fire hydrant style, or I have coaxed and pulled at them painstakingly, like a parasitic worm from my ankle. There is no, this is how I write. There is only, I wrote this one this way. I have written late at night, laptop in bed, or sitting in the minivan waiting for basketball practice to end. I have dreamt whole essays, written them in my head while walking. When I encounter something weird or surprising, something essay-worthy, it lights a little flame inside my body and I can feel it burning in there for weeks, months, years even. I return to it on occasion, acknowledge its presence, giving it small puffs of breath. These days, it is more trying-to-write. More, store-that-away-for-later. In Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life (Coffee House Press, 2018), Jenny Boully refers to Lewis Carroll who believed in ‘periods of intense work followed by periods of perfect idleness.’ Boully writes, ‘I hate to admit that I also operate in this way.’ I try to be generous with myself, trusting that, when I’m being perfectly idle, I am storing up the cache for later.”
—Jessica Lind Peterson, author of Sound Like Trapped Thunder (Seneca Review Books, 2021) 

Writer Photo Credit: 
Amy Woodford

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Author: jkashiwabara

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  • April 7, 2021