• LIBRARY 2018
  • Writing From the Heart: Nancy Julien Kopp

Writing From the Heart

I write essays, poems, and stories detailing the events that bring basic emotions into my life. Pain, anguish, joy, and hope visit me through the years, some of those feelings more intense than the others. My words spill onto the paper or screen, paragraph upon paragraph, a coping mechanism. At times, I become driven to put emotional experiences into words, both for myself and for others to read. My writing releases a sort of power that helps deliver healing or satisfaction. Four overwhelming emotions, four chapters of my life—pain, anguish, love, and hope.

Pain begins in childhood with a father who masters both verbal and emotional abuse. No marks on my body, only those buried deep inside. These wounds have scars that no one can see, but I know they are there. Each time a tirade began, and he told me how undeserving I was, my stomach clenched, and I steeled myself, willing the barbs to bounce before penetrating deep into my soul. Sometimes, they didn’t touch me, but other days they hit the mark, leaving me shattered on the inside but stoic as far as anyone else could see. It is years and years before I am able to write of my pain. A scene in a movie startles me into action. I watch the screen in horror as a man describes childhood abuse in vivid terms. I cannot reach home fast enough. Thoughts are spinning through my mind like a whirlpool in a river. I find paper and pen, and the words begin to appear, while tears slip down my cheeks, unchecked. I write verse upon verse of a poem, ending each with the word pain. The floodgates have opened, and my pain flows away until I feel cleansed and have forgiven myself. Writing about this intense feeling frees me forever. I’ll never wonder again if it had been my fault. The power of the words I write wipe away long-held scars.

Anguish tightens its tentacles each time I bury a child. Once is terrible, twice is more than the heart, mind, and body can absorb. Oh, I most likely look fine on the outside, maybe a bit worn down as I stand before an open grave, eyes fixed on a tiny casket nearby. But inside, anguish is chasing anger which is hunted by incredibility which has tripped over the deepest sadness this twenty-seven-year-old woman has ever experienced. All these feelings whirl faster than the tigers chasing one another in a beloved children’s story. Instead of melting into butter, they become lumps of sorrow. Like all wounds, time buffs the sharp edges of my anguish until it softens and subsides in a tiny corner of my heart, becoming only a dull ache. It takes many years until I am able to write of this part of my life, and suddenly the wound is no longer so deep. Time and my own words work together as I find acceptance and begin to heal.

Years later, we spend a week-end with a toddler granddaughter we love . She reaches out to her grandfather and me with chubby arms and a sunlit smile as we say our good-byes. As my husband drives us home, emotion rises within me in such strong waves that I can do nothing but grasp pen and pad and write of the joy this small child has brought. My poem compares her to golden sunshine, soft waves kissing a shore, gentle breezes skipping in a door. I write that I hear her in a robin’s pure sweet song and in silver drops of summer rain. I have found her, I write, in butterfly wings, in a green meadow’s sparkle after a shower, amongst all of God’s wondrous things. When I finish writing, I feel satisfied, and the pad with the poem remains on my lap all the way home. Much later, the poem wins a contest.

I write also about hope , a wish to be a writer that finds fulfillment more than fifty years after my birth. I send a devotional essay to a writers’ anthology telling of a strong desire to write that gets side-tracked when I attend college, become a teacher, marry, and raise my children. I keep the hope alive until middle-age when it turns into reality. I make time to write. I read about writing. I take classes and attend conferences before submitting my work for publication. Inch by inch, I move from hoping to be a published writer to seeing my work in print many times. I write that patience and perseverance are key to my writing successes. As I write that initial devotion, my reasons for writing rise before me clear and strong.

Yes, writing has served me well. Words from my heart have expressed great joy, soothed my anguish, washed away pain, and recorded my hopes and dreams. If they also bring encouragement and pleasure to others, perhaps I am twice blessed.

I continue to find a moment to write during my senior years on a regular basis. Those many moments have some of the best ones in my life. 

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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples

An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

  • Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
  • Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
  • Revision:  Check your essay on the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

Table of contents

Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.

The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .

For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.

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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
  • Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
  • Do your research: Read  primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
  • Come up with a thesis:  The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
  • Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.

The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.

1. Hook your reader

The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.

Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

2. Provide background on your topic

Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.

3. Present the thesis statement

Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:

As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.

4. Map the structure

In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.

The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

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The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.

Length of the body text

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

Paragraph structure

To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.

That idea is introduced in a  topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.

After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :

  • Returns to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.

What not to include in a conclusion

To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:

  • Including new arguments or evidence
  • Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
  • Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

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Checklist: Essay

My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).

My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.

My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.

I use paragraphs to structure the essay.

I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.

Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.

I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.

I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.

I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.

My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .

My essay has an interesting and informative title.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).

Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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Cover of A Braided Heart - Essays on Writing and Form

A Braided Heart

Essays on writing and form.

An accessible and personable guide to writing creative nonfiction

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Preface by Jay Parini Section One First Words Fan Hand, Writing Durable Goods On Thermostats The Case Against Metaphor: An Apologia Section Two A Braided Heart: Shaping the Lyric Essay “Brenda Miller Has a Cold,” or: How a Lyric Essay Happens A Case Against Courage in Creative Nonfiction Writing Inside the Web: Creative Nonfiction in the Age of Connection The Fine Art of Containment in Creative Nonfiction The Shared Space Between Reader and Writer: A Case Study Section Three In Memoriam On the Power of Your Word On Friendship, Assignments, Detail, and Trust Cables, Chains, and Lariats: Form as Process The Shape of Emptiness Epilogue Collaboration in the Time of Covid-19 Sources


A Braided Heart provides a friendly, personal, and smart guide to the writing life. It also offers clear and original instruction on craft elements at the forefront of today’s emerging forms in creative nonfiction: from the short-short, to the braided form, to the hermit crab essay. An acknowledged expert in these forms, Brenda Miller gives writers practical advice on how to sustain and invigorate their writing practice, while also encouraging readers to explore their own writing lives. “Brenda Miller writes so beautifully in these lyrical and ‘braided’ essays—personal meditations that take us deep into the miracle of writing itself. Her eye is always alert, her ear wonderfully tuned to the nuances of perception. The art of the essay is alive and well in her hands.”  —Jay Parini, author of  Borges and Me

Brenda Miller is Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.

"Brenda Miller’s  A Braided Heart  is a thoughtful exploration of not only why and how we write, but also why we pursue the artist’s life. What a pleasure to spend time immersed in the intimate workings of such a generous, gentle, and brilliant creative mind. The perfect book for any writer, at every stage.” —Dinty W. Moore, author of  The Mindful Writer - Dinty W. Moore
“Brenda Miller effortlessly braids her expertise on different forms of creative nonfiction in these thought-provoking essays. She weaves simple incidents beautifully, wanting us to read more; and as we read, we learn. No detail is too trivial, no subject is too insignificant—it is only about how you say it with words!” —Supriya Bhatnagar, editor of The Writer’s Chronicle and author of …and then there were three - Supriya Bhatnagar
“Brenda Miller’s collection of essays on writing and form gives us necessary and illuminating glimpses into the writing life and the life of writing. Who better than one of our most insightful and prized writers to guide us along the pathways, whether secret or well-trod, of the lyric essay?” —Marcia Aldrich, author of Companion to an Untold Story   - Marcia Aldrich
“ A Braided Heart  examines not only how we write but provides a deep lesson into  why  we write. What draws us to paper and pen, or the keyboard, when we could as well swim or dance or eat raspberries? Brenda Miller shows us that the joy of writing is that once we’ve swum or danced or eaten raspberries, we get to do it again, through words, with all their juicy double-mint and double-meaning. Miller’s collection makes me want to read it all over again, and then go write the rest of the day.” —Nicole Walker, author of Processed Meats   - Nicole Walker
“In essays that mirror the forms they are examining, A Braided Heart teaches us how to more beautifully, more honestly, more authentically write. Whether through challah, ikebana, or fan letters, Miller takes the outer world we live in and meditates upon those ideas to highlight how we can better understand ourselves and our world of writing.” —Sean Prentiss, Norwich University   - Sean Prentiss
"Miller soars when she captures such personal, vivid details…solid and practical…aspiring writers will find some sound advice.” — Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
"In  A Braided Heart,  Brenda Miller delivers a master class on the composition and appreciation of autobiographical essays. ...It exemplifies as much as it teaches, citing everyone from Mark Doty to Virginia Woolf as it encourages readers to embrace a reflective mindset, drawing connections between life experiences and pinpointing moments of meaning."  - Shelf Awareness   - Shelf Awareness
" A Braided Heart  is a pot of perfectly steeped tea with two cups. The book is a testament to the tensile strength of essay. No matter how the form is bent, so long as the writer remains in conversation, the connection maintains, this friendship through words."  —Kelly K. Ferguson,  Brevity  - Kelly K. Ferguson

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Interview with Brenda Miller in  Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies | 11/1/2021 Listen : A conversation between Brenda Miller and Susanne Paola Antonetta on the  Skylight Books Podcast Series I 08/10/2021 Read : A Q&A with Brenda Miller featured on Seminary Co-Op | 07/15/2021  

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Updated 10 March 2023

Subject Biology ,  Human Body

Downloads 57

Category Health ,  Science

Topic Body ,  Heart ,  Muscle

The muscular organ known as the heart serves as the body's circulatory pump and is roughly the same size as a closed fist. As a result, the heart receives deoxygenated blood through the veins and sends it to the lungs for oxygenation before pumping it to other arteries. The thoracic cavity, which is posterior to the sternum and medial to the lungs, is where this organ is located. The aorta, pulmonary veins and arteries, and vena cava are then joined to the heart's base (Lewis, 2016). The apex rests superior to the diaphragm. The base is located to the midline of the body where the apex points towards the left. Therefore, almost 2/3 of the mass of the heart exists on the body's left side while 1/3 is located towards the right. Importance The heart is important in the human body because it helps in the circulation of blood through systemic circuit and pulmonary circuit. The pulmonary circuit involves the movement of the deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle through the pulmonary artery to the lungs where it gets back to the heart as oxygenated via the left atrium through the pulmonary vein (Hall, 2011). The systemic circuit entails the movement of the oxygenated blood through the left ventricle to the aorta where it enters the capillaries and arteries. As such, the body tissues are supplied with oxygen. The blood that is deoxygenated then returns through the veins to the vena cava by entering the heart via the right atrium. Furthermore, the heart also functions as a muscle and needs fresh oxygen and nutrients supply. Tissue types The heart comprises of different tissues that include the cardiac muscle, connective tissue, and the nervous tissue, and the blood. The blood acts as the main collection of all the cells. The cardiac muscle tissue is specialized as the pumping mechanism for the blood in the entire body. It forms the bulk of the heart mass and is only found in the heart. The cardiac muscle has high endurance and contractile strength, which makes it to function without rest in the entire lifetime. The nervous tissue helps in the electrochemical signals propagation in the form of the nerve impulse. The connective tissues bind the organs and the cells of the body and offer the integration, support, and protection. Cell types The heart is comprised of different cell types that include myocytes, which act as the specialized muscle cells. These can contract even in the absence of the nerves stimulation. The sinus node presents in the right atrium play the role of producing the electrical impulses that assists in the contraction of the myocytes. These myocytes form the myocardium, which is the thick muscular layer of the heart. The interior of the heart surface is made of the endocardium, which consists of the endothelial cells referred to as the skin cells (Hall, 2011). These cells assist in sealing the heart and ensuring that there is connectivity to the blood vessels. The cells prevent leaks and filter gases, fluids, and molecules that move out and into the cells. The pericardium is the double-layered and thin sac cell surrounding the heart. Such plays the role of protecting the heart from external contaminants. The cell-types work together by having connectivity among themselves and being specialized on their independent tasks. As such, there are electrochemical signals, which are sending from one cell to another to activate its functionality. These ensure that the cells support the entire function of the organ. Different cells are needed in the body because each cell performs an independent function. As such, the organization and collaboration of different units of the cells helps in achieving a great goal on the functionality of the organ. The specialization of the cells also helps in producing the outmost good in terms of performance. References Hall, J. (2011). Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (12th Ed). Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders/Elsevier. Lewis, T. (2016). Human heart: Anatomy, function & facts. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/34655-human-heart.html

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Heart Theses Samples For Students

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Shakespeare Essay Outline Thesis Sample


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Thesis On The Personal Values and Virtues of Being Hardworking

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Significance of the Study 5 Definition of Terms 7 Review of Literatures 7 IV. Research Methodology 17 V. Limitation/Delimitation 21 VI Data Analysis: 21 VII Data Verification: 24 VIII Summary and Conclusions: 25

Recommendations 26

Appendices 27 Research Questionnaire 27

References 34

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In Aphra Behn's poem, On Her Loving Two Equally, she describes openly about her predicament that has been brought about by loving two men, Damon and Alexis. The persona finds herself undecided in between her feelings for the two men. When she is with one of her men, she finds herself wanting and longing for the other who is not present. For her, as she describes it, she would need to merge as one the two men in order for her to be completely satisfied.

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Thomas Stearns Eliot is one of the most important poets of the 20th century of the English language. The American –born turn British poet and playwright was also a literary critic whose works are still influential to this day. “Hollow Men” is one of Eliot’s major poems published in 1925. Its main thematic concerns include the post war Europe, salvation and to some extent issues of marriage relationships which some critic attribute to Eliot’s own marriage to Vivienne which did not survive their full lives.

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Hippocampus Magazine

REVIEW: A Braided Heart: Essays on Writing and Form by Brenda Miller

June 6, 2022.

Reviewed by Melissa Oliveira

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I parroted phrases I’d read, like poetic compression and associative transitions, nonlinear and impressionistic , with every word out of my mouth while actually hiding what I was feeling about this hybrid form. That is to say, I was off-the-wall excited at having discovered it. Its beauty, evocativeness and adaptability floored me and, having tracked down as many examples as I could, I wanted to have a shot at writing some. But without being able even to describe the lyric essay, whose ample white space and hermit crabs, braids and mosaics were such simple-seeming vehicles for deep emotional complexity, how could I write them? I grew discouraged over time, aware of all the things I didn’t know about the lyric essay and wishing for a guide. A Braided Heart: Essays on Writing and Form by Brenda Miller (University of Michigan Press, 2021) is the book I wish I had all those years ago.

At 148 pages, A Braided Heart:  runs a bit shorter than many books on craft or the writing life, but it’s heavy on insight. Take this description of the form: “There are gaps, moments of silence, other voices, and/or a magnification of a single moment in time: all these techniques signal to a reader that we’re in a realm where there is no absolute truth, where imagination will come into play.” Or this one, in which Miller describes that lyric essay as “a place where definitions are constantly in flux, a place where answers are not as important as the questions to which they give rise.” Part meditation, part analysis and part a book on craft, A Braided Heart’ s three main sections are dedicated to exploring the lyric essay’s various facets.

The first section contains essays about the production of writing, both literal and not: through handwriting with thick pencils, tiny pens, and typing. Here Miller introduces the idea that “allowing form to dictate content” can guide you, even if it is just forming the letters on a page in an unpracticed hand: “Once I get going, the writing feels leisurely. There is no other way to put it: thought follows thought in a way I rarely allow myself at the computer.” This section is also a story of Miller’s development as a writer, from the technical (learning cursive in childhood and rediscovering writing in longhand as an adult) to the vocational (falling in and out of love with journalism and time spent at a writing retreat).

In the second section, Miller veers slightly more into the topics of structure and craft. This is where you’ll find the eponymous piece, “A Braided Heart: Shaping the Lyric Essay,” a braided essay about braided essays and challah bread. It’s both a great essay in its own right and a wonderful illustration of form, and it might be my favorite in the volume. That said, I wish I’d had access to Miller’s “The Fine Art of Containment in Creative Nonfiction” during those times I’ve found myself in the middle of writing an essay that, for all its lyricism and observation, goes absolutely nowhere. Here, Miller offers valuable advice about using a “container scene” to provide narrative movement where there’s no overt plot to bring the story forward.

Section Three has a bit more analysis of other work. I found myself scribbling down the names of essayists that Miller teaches. As with any good teacher, Miller offers insight and plenty of resources in an approachable tone. Having walked through the different forms earlier, Miller starts looking more closely at some favorites, like Truth Serum by Bernard Cooper and Bough Down by Karen Green. There’s also emphasis on form.  In “Cables, Chains, and Lariats: Form as Process” and elsewhere in the book, there’s a repeated theme of letting the forms (i.e. adopted forms, as in hermit crab essays) and their constraints guide the content. This idea won’t be new to poets but it felt novel for essay writing and could help save a few shapeless drafts.

Readers might already be familiar with Miller’s Tell It Slant , an excellent general text on writing creative nonfiction with prompts. A Braided Heart: Essays on Writing and Form relaxes entirely into the lyric essay and remains there, and its approachable and chatty tone make it really fun to read. I loved it for its focus on the form, process and meditations on hybridity, which reminded me a bit of Family Resemblance , an anthology on hybrid forms edited by Marcela Sulak and Jacqueline Kolosov, and Randon Billings Noble’s more recent A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays , only with more guidance that can help a writer really start working in this hybrid form.

Melisssa Oliveira

Melissa Oliveira

Melissa Oliveira’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares Solos, Agni, Pleiades, Calyx and others. Her previous work has garnered a Best American Essays Notable listing, a Best of the Net nomination and an honorable mention from Glimmer Train Stories. Her reviews have appeared in The Kenyon Review Online, Brevity, The Rumpus and more. Melissa currently lives in Berlin, Germany, where she is working on a novel-in-stories about the divided city.

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56 The Tell-Tale Heart Essay Topics & Examples

Looking for The Tell-Tale Heart essay topics? The short story by Edgar Allan Poe, a recognized master of horror fiction, is definitely worth analyzing!

🖤 The Tell-Tale Heart Essay Prompts

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In your The Tell-Tale Heart essay, you might want to write about the story’s characters, themes, or symbols. Anyway, our article will be helpful. Find here all you might need to write a paper on Poe’s short story! The Tell-Tale Heart essay examples, prompts, questions, and topic ideas.

The Tell-Tale Heart Point of View Analysis

Poe wrote the novel from the first-person point of view. The protagonist tells the story of a murder while stating that his senses were destroyed by “the disease” but he’s still sane. Think why this might be important. Is the mad person’s narration reliable?

How different would be the story if it were told by the old man or police officers?

Symbols in The Tell-Tale Heart

If you’re writing The Tell-Tale Heart symbolism essay, you may choose one or few symbols in the story:

  • The old man’s eye. Analyze why the eye catches the attention of the killer. The narrator calls it the “vulture eye” and “evil. In your essay you can explain why the narrator does not dare to kill the old man when his eye was closed, and the crime was committed only when he saw the open eye.
  • The old man’s heart. The heart in the novel symbolizes the killer’s conscience and his humanity as he finally confesses. Analyze why the narrator hears the heartbeat twice.

Another point to consider in your The Tell-Tale Heart essay is the analysis of the connection between time and heart. Time is compressed and stretched.

It pulses as the heart. But time also symbolizes death and the killer acts as part of a watch. Thus, the heart in the novel symbolizes life, and, through time, it turns out to be a symbol of death.

The Tell-Tale Heart Literary Analysis

Typical academic articles are hard to read because of complex words and compound sentences. When you read Poe’s masterpieces, you read them quickly because the author writes in short sentences.

Poe uses many figures of speech like similes, personification, anaphora, and irony. Analyze how these figures help Poe to convey the main idea to the reader.

The Tell-Tale Heart Characters

There are four characters you might want to explore in your character analysis: the narrator, police officers, the old man, and the neighbor.

All of them play an important role in the plot. For example, the narrator is mentally ill person who doesn’t make a difference between the “unreal” and “real”. There are also a few signs that he rarely sleeps. You can analyze how his insomnia might impacted his actions and desire to kill.

  • What is the theme of The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What is the mood of The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What genre is The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What is the conflict in The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What does the heart symbolize in The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What is the tone of The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What is the central idea of The Tell-Tale Heart ?
  • What point of view is The Tell-Tale Heart ?

If you’re looking for The Tell-Tale Heart essay topics or ideas to add to it, check IvyPanda’s free samples of high-quality papers!

  • The Tell-Tale Heart (1843) This section tackles the main characters of the story and as aforementioned, the narrator and the old man are the only central characters in the story.
  • The Tell-Tale Heart Essay However, when the police came to the Old Man’s house he gives himself away to the police because he hears the heart of the old man beating behind the floorboard and this incident may suggest […]
  • Gothic Romanticism in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Nathaniel Hawthorn’s “The Birthmark” In the film “The Black Swan” directed by Darren Aronofsky, Nina struggles to fit into the ultimate role of the play “The Swan Lake”, as the Black Swan, even though she is comfortable playing the […]
  • The Investigation of Ethical Issues in The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pond The secondary problem is related to an ethical dilemma with regards to the responsibility of the husband to provide and care for the family.
  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Poe This metaphor is necessary to show that the feeling of guilt distorts his perception of reality. This is one of the details that can be distinguished.
  • The Tell-Tale Heart Psychological Analysis & Critique The outstanding character in the tale, who is also the narrator, attracts a lot of attention from the readers. The narrator forms the basis of the tale.
  • Edger Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” Analysis The narrator in the beginning of the story clearly states that he is not insane but his actions make the reader frown at his sanity.
  • The Murderer’s Motivation Depicted in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • The Characters of Nervousness in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Morality in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Paranoia in Prose and an Analytical Treatment of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Stylistic Analysis of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Sanity of the Narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Poe’s Use of the Senses in “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • The Role of the Gaze in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • An Analysis of the Creating of an Atmosphere of Horror and Build Tension in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Writing Styles in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgary Allen Poe
  • Stability of Characters in “To Build a Fire” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Styles of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” Versus “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Feeling of Madness Throughout “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgary Allen Poe
  • The Inspiration From the Authors’ Lives in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Inescapable Truth: An Analysis of “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Rationalization and Suspense in Poe’s “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Identity as an Important Part of “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Analysis of Symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” Character Analysis of Main Character
  • The Importance of Suspense in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Horror and Figurative Language in “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Imagery Through the Eye of “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • The Attempt to Prove a Man’s Sanity in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Psychosis and Guilt in “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Literary Elements of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Philosophy of Composition in the “Tell-Tale Heart”
  • The Reflection of the Soul in Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Role of Realism in Edagar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Mental Challenges in “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • The Themes of Surveillance and Control in “Discipline and Punish” by Michael Foucault and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Narrator’s Story in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Similarities Between Edgar Allan Poe and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” as a Gothic Horror
  • Techniques Used in Writing “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Red Room”
  • Understanding Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”: Insanity or a Stroke of Brilliance
  • Mind Games and the Narrator Madness in “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • A Comparison of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe and the Work of Raymond Carver
  • Misperceptions and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • “The Cast of Amontillado” vs. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Alan Poe
  • Morality in “Young Goodman Brown” by Hawthorne and “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Internal Conflict in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

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essay writing for heart

8 Excellent Heartfelt Essay Collections

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Carolina Ciucci

Carolina Ciucci is a teacher, writer and reviewer based in the south of Argentina. She hoards books like they’re going out of style. In case of emergency, you can summon her by talking about Ireland, fictional witches, and the Brontë family. Twitter: @carolinabeci

View All posts by Carolina Ciucci

essay writing for heart

Jonny Sun, the wonderfully original author of everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too , is back with a collection of essays and other writings in his unique, funny, and heartfelt style. With pieces that range from long meditations on topics like loneliness and being an outsider, to short humor pieces, conversations, and memorable one-liners. Jonny’s honest writings about his struggles with feeling productive, as well as his difficulties with anxiety and depression will connect deeply with his fans as well as anyone attempting to create in our chaotic world. It also features a recipe for scrambled eggs that might make you cry.

The essay is a very special genre, one that I have loved for years: its intimacy draws me in, and its breadth and variety keep me absorbed. Essays offer a unique bonding opportunity. A private bridge is established between the writer and the reader in a way that cannot be duplicated elsewhere: no matter how many times it has been edited, and how far it has come from the early draft stages, essays always retain that unique intimate quality that makes them a window into the author’s soul.

Indeed, Michel de Montaigne was aware of this when he inadvertently named the genre as a whole: by titling his 1588 book Essais, he captured the personal nature of this type of writing. The word “essai” means trial, attempt. Essays are meant to be attempts of self-expression, of, as Brittanica.com puts it, “self-discovery.”  

It comes as no surprise, then, that it allows for extremely heartfelt writing. While there are thousands (at least) of beautiful, heartfelt essay collections in the wild, I give you eight recommendations to get you started:

Cover of Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

I was new to Smith before I stumbled upon this collection, which promptly led me to add her entire backlist to my TBR pile. The key to unlocking this book is stated early on: according to Smith, “writing exists […] at the intersection of three precarious, uncertain elements: language, the world, the self.” She straddles this intersection seamlessly.

Cover of This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

From the very beginning of this book, the epigraph drops pebbles that will guide us, Hansel and Gretel–style, through the path of the particular forest that is this collection of essays. Jerkins’s effortless weaving of the personal and the political, combined with her eloquence and obvious knowledge, make this book a necessary read.

Cover of Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women White Feminists Forgot by Mikki Kendall

These essays dive deep into what it means to be a Black woman and a Black feminist in the USA. A fabulous critique of mainstream white feminism, the book brings the voices of brown and Black women to the forefront.

Cover of All We Can Save, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilson

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

I’ve long ago become an admirer of Johnson’s work, so when I learned that she and Wilkinson were co-editing a book of essays about the climate crisis, I immediately preordered it. This collection is full of important, interesting pieces on all the different facets that perhaps we may not think about when we think of climate change. As is the case for all the best essayists, the intersection of the personal and the political is handled masterfully.

Cover of Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison

Mouth Full of Blood: Essays, Speeches, Meditations by Toni Morrison

Spanning three decades, this posthumous collection of Morrison ’s nonfiction writings, including multiple essays, constitutes a celebration of a literary giant’s life and genius.

Cover of Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

This list wouldn’t be complete without Baldwin’s first book of nonfiction. His meditations (on race, on literature and art) are thought-provoking and painful, and his achingly beautiful prose turns the reading of these essays into a unique experience.

Cover of Well-Read Black Girl, edited by Glory Edim

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves Edited by Glory Edim

The importance of representation has been a topic of discussion for a long time. In this incredible book, multiple Black women explain what this means to them, and why it is fundamental for everyone to be able to see themselves on the page.

Cover of The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf

The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf

In one of Woolf’s lesser-known works, she tackles questions that the “common reader” (that is, everyone who reads books because they enjoy it) may ask themselves. It is superfluous to say that these essays are wonderfully written (it is , after all, Virginia Woolf). It is not, however, superfluous to say that this should be on your shelves, right next to A Room of One’s Own .

In the mood for more essays ? Say no more .

essay writing for heart

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.css-11kxzt3-Strong{font-weight:var(--font-weight-medium);} An Elevator Escape

This happened long ago. Maybe in the 17th century. Or 1986. At the time I was housesitting in a Manhattan townhouse, empty except for the ping-pong table on the 6th floor; the futon I slept on, 5th floor; an alarmed wine cellar, 3rd floor; and the world’s largest collection of international movie posters, 2nd floor.   

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Heartfulness Essay Event 2023

Organised by

Heartfulness Education Trust,

Shri Ram Chandra Mission

in Collaboration With

United Nations Information Centre,

for India and Bhutan

Heartfulness Education Trust

for self, for each other & the environment


Categories for Participants

Category - 1.

[ Age 14-18 years ] Word Limit 500

The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth.

Category - 2.

[ Age 19-25 years ] Word Limit 750

Technology helps us in preserving information. Generational connection helps us in preserving wisdom.

About essay event.

Shri Ram Chandra Mission is a non-profit educational and spiritual service organization. It has been promoting heart-based living through meditation as a means to universal peace and harmony for over 75 years since its inception in 1945. It is one of 1600 NGOs associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The All India Essay Writing Event had been the flagship event of Shri Ram Chandra Mission ( SRCM ) for nearly three decades and was organized in partnership with United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan ( UNIC ) for several years since 2005 reaching out to over 25,000 institutions in India. The event was renamed the HEARTFULNESS ESSAY EVENT in 2019 and was launched globally for the first time in 2020 in collaboration with UNESCO MGIEP ( Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development ). This is the thirty first successive year of the Event.

The Heartfulness Education Trust (HET) has designed a variety of programs for youth including The Heartfulness Way curriculum for junior school students aimed at developing in them an understanding and acceptance of core human values (as recommended in the report submitted to UNESCO by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty First Century) as also a life skills program called HELP for senior school students. HET also offers programs for University students under its initiative called Heartful Campus. A program for teachers called INSPIRE has also been running for several years. Details of these programs are available on : www.heartfulness.org/education

An Invitation to the Youth

Youth is a time of great possibilities. It is a period in life filled with opportunities waiting to be realized, provided you are mindful of them and are willing to strive heartfully for your holistic growth. While education helps us to develop our physical and intellectual capabilities to their optimum extent, and prepares us to thrive in a competitive world, there is one aspect of our development that does not often receive the attention due to it – the development of our inner Being. Without the synchronous development of body, mind and heart our evolution as human beings remains incomplete. It is therefore balance, in addition to excellence, that you must strive for - the balance between mind and heart, the outer and the inner, and, between thinking and feeling. Through the Heartfulness Essay Event, we invite you to tap into your inner space, tune in to the soft voice of the heart that never fails to guide and inspire and, express in words your experience related to the theme of this year’s Event. We encourage you thus to begin the practice of referring to the heart more and more.

We are very happy to announce two new events for our youth. For schools related to Category 1 there is an option to participate in " SEI Insights " and for students participating in Category 2 it is " Youth Innovation Awards ". For the detailed information on these Events and to participate, please click on the below link.

Languages Offered

Un official languages.

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish

Indian languages

Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, Telugu

Select any ONE of the above languages to write your essay.

Last date of submission 30th October 2022

Language options for writing the Essay

You may write your essay in any one of the following languages :.

English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu

Documents for Participants


Information Leaflet

Essay Event 2022

Guidelines for Submission

Essay Event 2022 - Guidelines

Evaluation Criteria

Essay Event 2022 - Evaluation Criteria

Download Language Poster

Essay Event 2022

Essay Event Launch 2020

Essay Event Testimonial

Guidelines for participation.

To participate in the Event please follow the guidelines below :

Entries must be directly uploaded only on our website ( hfn.link/essayevent ) by institutions or directly by students.

Essays received through email or post will not be considered., there is no charge for participation..

a. Participants may select any one of the 11 optional languages to write the essay on the topic specified for their Category.

b. The essay must be typed or handwritten on A4 size paper. Essays may be handwritten in black or blue ink or computer typed in a relevant prescribed script for each language.

c. The Participant’s name, Father’s Name, Age, Name of Institution must be written on every page of the essay.

d. The word limit for Category 1 ( Ages -14 -18 ) is 500 and must be strictly adhered to.

e. The word limit for Category 2 (Ages – 19-25 ) is 750 and must be strictly adhered to.

f. Please mention the total number of words of the essay after the concluding paragraph.

g. Submitted entries must not bear any appeals, illustrations or slogans.

h. The scanned copy of the essay (Max size 3 MB) must be uploaded on our website. Link : hfn.link/essayevent.

i. The details for submission of the essay is available for download in the “Guidelines for Submission“ section of the website.

j. In case of submission of essays through the school/college, the institution mail-id must be entered for all entries in place of the participant’s email id on the submission screen.

k. The institution may write to us requesting login credentials at [email protected] A login credential for the institution will be provided to help the coordinator submit/manage all the essay submissions made using the institution’s email id.

Each participating school from Category 1 is invited to get their students to participate in “SEI Insights” - an objective type questionnaire that will evaluate the socio-emotional intelligence of their students. Each student opting to participate will receive a confidential report and each school as a whole will also get a report. Schools will be given Certificates in the Gold, Silver and Bronze category depending on the performance of their students collectively. To know more details and to participate please click on this link : Heartful Insights

Each participating student from category 2 ( age:19-25) also has an opportunity to participate in the youth innovation awards. participating students will be required to survey the locality they live in and to identify a problem affecting the community which lives in the locality. they are to think of innovative solutions to the problem identified by them and to submit a project on the suggested intervention. a jury will select projects which will be awarded youth innovation awards consisting of a citation and funds to implement the project. to know more about the event and to participate click on the following link : innovator award, evaluation criterion for essays in both categories.

Participating students have the option to carry out research on the theme as it is not an on-the-spot competition. However, all submitted essays must necessarily be the original work of the author and references or quotations therein must be duly acknowledged.

a. The evaluation of all submitted entries will be carried out by a jury for each of the languages based on the following criterion :

1. Theme introduction/interpretation

: Weight 10%

2. Structure and flow

3. Language

4. Originality

: Weight 20%

5. Relevance of ideas to the theme

: Weight 40%

6. Research/attention to details

: Weight 5%

7. Conclusion

b. To fulfill the purpose of this Event, the essay must reflect the author’s personal experience or views on the topic. Originality and relevance of ideas to the topic carry the maximum weightage.

c. Essays plagiarized from books or the internet will be rejected.

d. All awards will be subject to the sole discretion of the jury and their decision will be final.

e. The intent of the information provided in the English version of the Information Leaflet and flyer shall prevail over all other translated versions.

For clarifications or any other help please write to us at: [email protected]

Gallery Slide

Awards and Recognitions

For Individual Student Participants

A Winner and a Runner- up : in each of the 11 authorized languages in each category will receive a trophy and certificate.

Certificates with Rank : Essays ranked from third to the tenth position in each of the 11 languages in each category will be awarded mementos and certificates stating the rank.

Merit Certificates : An E- Merit Certificate will be awarded to the 10% of entries shortlisted by the jury for the final round of selection in each of the 11 languages in both categories.

Certificate of Participation : E-certificates will be awarded to all participants who fulfill the participation criterion as per the guidelines.

Some participants may be required to undertake an interview by the jury by telephone or a video call as a final round of selection for the top awards. The jury will have the discretion to accept or disqualify any of the submitted essays and their decision will be final.

Appreciation Certification for Participating Institutions.

Important Dates

Submissions open on, august 20th, 2023, last date for submission of entries, october 31st, 2023, declaration of winners, december, 2023, for any clarifications please write to us at :.

  • International edition
  • Australia edition
  • Europe edition

Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, where Zarin ‘wearied of her boyfriend’s chatter’

In Italy by Cynthia Zarin review – essays to bookmark with a train ticket stub

The American poet’s acutely observed writing about cities she has visited across 40 years is haunted by past lovers

T he American poet Cynthia Zarin was 19 when she first travelled to Venice. The trip was a summer sojourn of sorts with “a boy I thought I might marry”, and the city turned out to be hot and expensive to room in. Zarin and her boyfriend stayed in a grotty boarding house in Padua and took the train to Venice one morning, planning to meet another friend of Zarin’s, who was also making a day trip from Florence. The couple ate veal sandwiches and idled around the steps of the Santa Maria della Salute, but Zarin soon wearied of her boyfriend’s chatter (“I did not want to hear any more about Savonarola”) and ended up arguing with him. Later, the boy was rude to Zarin’s friend from Florence. “To annoy me,” Zarin writes, “because I would not listen…”

In the opening essay of her new collection, In Italy , Zarin recalls this first encounter with Venice halfway through another visit. She is older now, of course, and travelling alone: “Perhaps it is better for me to come to Venice alone; there is no one with whom I have been to Venice that I am now on speaking terms…” Back in New York, Zarin had been seeing a man – “a friend of friends” – already entangled in a complicated relationship with another woman. He refused to accompany her on the trip, but can’t resist love-bombing her with texts every few hours: “It is evening and raining in New York. You are very close.” Oceans away, Zarin attends a book party, makes a pilgrimage to the poet Joseph Brodsky’s grave, wanders into a pavilion or two at the Venice Biennale – but she can’t help witnessing everything in the city with her lover’s eyes.

At their best, these essays retain the tender fluency of love letters written in the throes of a new relationship. In Basilica, Zarin recalls a time she used to hang out every afternoon inside the Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi, admiring the frescoes, but even there she is conscious of “seeing through your eyes, which in any case had become a habit”. In Rome, the absent paramour is a “ghost”, who stalks her thoughts while she crisscrosses the Tiber looking for traces of the ancient theatre of Pompey, or dips into Henry G Liddell’s A History of Rome in a bar. After a while, Zarin reflects, “the ghost one knows too well is oneself”.

These essays should ideally be bookmarked by a train ticket stub or a boarding pass; and yet one hesitates to think of Zarin’s itinerant impressions as travel pieces. Zarin is propelled not so much by new discoveries as memories of prior visits, how her own life has “veered between impulse and a mania for privacy and restraint”. Sometimes the trips she ends up recalling aren’t her own. In Venice, she harks back to the letters that the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote from Italy a century and a half ago, and also Brodsky, who loved to visit the city during winters and later ended up being buried in the San Michele cemetery. In Rome, she imagines herself as reprising the novelist Elizabeth Bowen’s three-month stay in the city back in 1953. From Rome, Bowen wrote to her lover, “Every day, at all times and places I think of you”. Zarin can discern similarities in her own relationship with the “ghost”, and the city itself comes to seem like “a tablet with an infinite memory”.

Cynthia Zarin: ‘captures the vivid detail and the wider frame’

Zarin is consistently good at capturing both the vivid detail and the wider frame. Take her assessment of the Venice Biennale, for instance: “It is hopeless to show new art in Venice. Nothing can rival what is there.” Or this, about four guardian angel statues inside the Santa Maria Maggiore: “Each time I went into the chapel on those days, I thought: they will be gone. But there they were, gambolling, whistling.” Zarin writes cheerful sentences, which isn’t to say they feel any less profound. Multiple instances of heartbreak are unfussily catalogued, as though it is impossible for these things to hurt as much when you’re vacationing in Italy. “How many tenses can there be?” Zarin wonders at one point. “The past, perfect and imperfect.” In Rome, she wanders around a park, but later can’t remember if she went in through the right arch and exited through the left, or vice versa. You could say that these pieces induce a comparable sense of being pleasurably lost, of wanting to live imperfectly in the present tense.

  • Autobiography and memoir
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100+ heartwarming 'Happy New Year 2024' wishes, messages and quotes to write on New Year cards and captions

100+ heartwarming 'Happy New Year 2024' wishes, messages and quotes to write on New Year cards and captions

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8 things Dua Lipa did on her recent trip to India

essay writing for heart

By Andy Kroll

Mr. Kroll is a reporter at ProPublica. He attended all four days of Rudy Giuliani’s trial and was in the courtroom when the jury announced the $148 million judgment.

No sooner did a jury deliver a nearly $150 million defamation judgment against the former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani than he went out and again started smearing the two Georgia election workers at the center of the case. Within days, he filed for bankruptcy, shielding himself in the near term from having to surrender whatever assets he has to his creditors.

His brazen thumbing of his nose at the jury and the legal system laid bare some unsettling truths about justice. Defamation law is one of the few tools that lawyers have to hold people accountable for using lies to destroy reputations and to deter wrongdoing. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, county clerks, election officials and other public servants targeted by politically motivated conspiracy theories like the Big Lie have used defamation lawsuits to try to clear their names and correct the public record.

But in a hyperpartisan era when the incentives to tell lies about your political opponents can seemingly outweigh the risks, is defamation law still up to the task? And if admitted liars like Mr. Giuliani can avoid having to pay up, what does accountability even look like now?

Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the two election workers who sued Mr. Giuliani for falsely claiming that they stole the 2020 election in Georgia for Joe Biden, will probably only ever see pennies on the dollar of the full amount that a Washington, D.C., jury awarded them.

There are a few procedural hurdles to clear: The bankruptcy proceedings will hinge on whether a judge decides that Mr. Giuliani’s actions were “willful and malicious.” (If they were, he’ll still have to pay, even in bankruptcy.) Then there’s the question of whether he has the money to pay his debts. According to his bankruptcy petition , he has $1 million to $10 million in assets — nowhere close to what he’d need to clear the roughly $153 million he says he owes in total. (That number doesn’t include ongoing lawsuits against him that could also lead to financial settlements.) Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss could negotiate a settlement with him or choose to pursue a percentage of his assets and earnings for the rest of his working life.

Recouping any money in a defamation judgment can take time. After juries in Connecticut and Texas found Infowars founder Alex Jones liable for more than $1.4 billion for spreading lies and conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school shooting, the families of victims who sued him and his businesses have spent the past year fighting him in bankruptcy. Only after a judge ruled that Mr. Jones’s conduct had met the “willful and malicious” standard did he finally propose a greatly reduced settlement of $5.5 million per year for five years and then a percentage of his business income for the next five. (The Sandy Hook families, who filed their suits nearly six years ago, have offered their own plan to liquidate all of Mr. Jones’s existing assets and to pursue his future earnings to collect on their jury verdict.)

But victory for plaintiffs in cases like these is not limited to money. A trial gives victims of viral disinformation a chance to confront their tormentor in a court of law, where facts and procedures still matter, offering them a real sense of catharsis and vindication. Especially in cases that involve major news events, defamation suits can also help correct the public record. The trial in Freeman v. Giuliani not only proved that Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss had not done any of the criminal acts Mr. Giuliani alleged; it exhaustively debunked one of the biggest conspiracy theories to emerge from the 2020 presidential election.

Tens of thousands of articles and TV segments amplified the trial’s findings to a massive audience. “This case was never about making Ruby and Shaye rich,” said Michael J. Gottlieb, the lead lawyer for the two women. “Of course, we wanted them to be compensated. But it was about accountability and establishing a public record of the truth about what happened at State Farm Arena in November 2020.”

On a societal level, the real hope for these defamation cases is that over time, as more liars are brought low by their actions and held accountable in court, politicians and political operatives will pause before spreading disinformation and, slowly, this country will move toward a better, safer political discourse. For now, that seems overly optimistic. The twisted incentives created by extreme polarization and a fragmented media landscape might lead a young up-and-comer in conservative (or liberal, for that matter) politics to traffic in disinformation and conspiracy theories if that is the quickest way to fame, fortune and influence — consequences be damned.

Our society counts on defamation judgments to draw a line between truth and falsity, and “we don’t imagine that there will routinely be recalcitrant defendants who will feel the incentive to lie to audiences that are eager to accept those lies is greater than the incentive to abide by the rule of law,” said RonNell Andersen Jones, a University of Utah law professor and media expert. “Our libel system doesn’t really envision those dynamics.” Libel law itself may be outdated — too slow or too weak to reckon with the realities of modern politics.

But there is reason to hope. As the Giuliani case shows, deterrence can take many forms. When Mr. Giuliani uttered more lies about Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss shortly after the verdict, they filed a new lawsuit in the same court, seeking an injunction to prevent him from continuing to defame them. If successful, that case could be the strongest protection they have from getting drawn into the spotlight once more.

Even without an injunction, now that a court has ruled that Mr. Giuliani defamed the two women with actual malice — meaning he knowingly or recklessly made the false statements in question — media outlets large and small may be hesitant to give him a platform. Even if the judgment doesn’t chasten Mr. Giuliani, it will almost surely make networks like Fox News and One America News think twice before they put him on the air.

More than updating defamation law or passing new legislation, the way to send a signal to future Rudy Giulianis and Alex Joneses is by defending victims of widespread lies — and the larger truth — at scale. One of the legal organizations that represented Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, Protect Democracy, is attempting to do just that. The group is also representing them in a separate lawsuit against the right-wing blog The Gateway Pundit and is representing a Pennsylvania postal worker smeared by Project Veritas, a county recorder in Arizona attacked by the Republican candidate Kari Lake and a voter in Georgia accused of being a “ballot mule” by Dinesh D’Souza.

These cases will test whether our legal system can evolve to meet the challenges posed by our viral era. But at the least, Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss have shown that you don’t have to be rich or powerful to achieve justice.

Andy Kroll ( @AndyKroll ) is a reporter at ProPublica and the author of “A Death on W Street: The Murder of Seth Rich and the Age of Conspiracy.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .


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