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Give me something interesting to work on, not two margaritas.MN: If you have an ability, you want to exercise it, not anesthetize it. MN: I’d guess that, for you, work is especially appealing because, as a writer, you have control: You can play around with your own thoughts and when you find those insufficient, draw upon others’: their wisdom, their humor, their failings.
As part of a national essay competition, current and future psychology students were asked to explain their study motivation.
Each student describes in 250 words or less (i) why I chose psychology as a major and (ii) how I'm motivated to succeed at psychology studies.
Also, most good essays are conversations with yourself, not just your decided thoughts but your dilemmas.
Contradictory strands create an essay that’s richly ambivalent.
If someone in my family is getting emotionally bent out of shape, I’ve had to learn to adapt.
MN: Why, instead of their adapting to your self-described hyper-rationality, is it important for you to adapt to their emotionality?
It affords the writer great freedom: not only to be confident or admit doubt but to speak personally yet invoke others’ ideas, to be rational and/or emotional.
And essayists write at a length that enables them, within a year, to explore a number of topics, whereas in a book, they’ll likely only tackle one.
I really do like to write and when I’m not, I think, “Okay, I’ll be a good citizen now” but fact is, that’s secondary.
MN: The essays you suggested I read in preparation for this interview focused heavily on family, and earlier in this interview you spoke of pain of dealing with family. PL: Domesticity has been a challenge for me but painful as it’s been, engaging with family has been a school for reducing solipsism and increasing my understanding of people’s different reactions to stress.