Category Archives: Sheila Bender On Writing

What is Writing the Personal Essay For?

“The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy. The writer seems to be speaking directly into your ear, confiding everything from gossip to wisdom, Through sharing thoughts, memories, desires, complaints and whimsies, the personal essayist sets up a relationship with the reader, a dialogue—a friendship, if you will, based on identification, understanding, testiness, and…Continue Reading

Writing the Cause and Effect Essay

Sometimes we think a topic is so important or so big that we don’t know how to begin writing about it. That’s when using age-old styles of organization can help us figure out how to say what we didn’t know we could. One such style you can use for organizing and conjuring material for a…Continue Reading

Visual Art Helps Us Write Grief’s Wisdom

In celebration of the publication of the new print version of Sorrow’s Words: Writing Exercises to Heal Grief, a book that offers help to those who want to write about loss, we are posting this excerpt.  Although the exercises are discussed as springing from my own loss, that of my son when he was twenty-five, I believe…Continue Reading

In Appreciation

One day, I created a writing exercise for myself by opening the dictionary to a random page. With my eyes closed, I circled my finger over the page until it landed on a word. I read the definition and wrote the word at the top of a blank Microsoft Word document. It was “hagioscope,” which…Continue Reading