But what do you mean by lyric? Fourteen lines and a whole four classical rhyme schemes to choose from. It is for these moments that Brevity presents our Brief Guide to Essays:
It might be a recipe, a police report, a to-do list, or countless other structures. I wanted to try my hand at hermit crabbing, so I have attempted to write operating instructions for living a kind life.
Thanks for indulging me and thanks, Kathi, for introducing me to something new. These operating instructions should help you make the most of your investment. As you know, this is a particularly challenging year, with elections demonstrating the worst of human behaviors.
Your interest in creating a kinder world places you with millions of other humans who are pledging to make kind choices, even as they witness contrary behaviors.
These directions will help you become a kindness ambassador—modeling kindness and compassion wherever you are and changing the world for the better, one act of kindness at a time.
First of all, you will need patience. This is not an overnight endeavor. You will also need courage, curiosity, and grace under pressure. A sense of humor will often come in handy, too.
Manufacturer recommends a daily application of gratitude to assure optimum performance and possibly extend the life of the operator. When in situations where the behavior of others baffles or annoys you, switch on your ability to empathize and give the benefit of the doubt.
Assume their good intent and look for a possible explanation for the behavior. Perhaps they are afraid or stressed.
Maybe they are embarrassed. Could they be facing a challenge that you are unaware of? Assume that they are doing their best and not intentionally disrupting your life. If all else fails and you cannot excuse the behavior, imagine that they have been put in your path to teach you something you need to learn.
Approach with curiosity and compassion. Step one requires practice; nobody gets it right the first time. Remember that you are in good company.
Unless you are a bona fide saint or holy person, you may have years of obliviousness to overcome. One good way to start is by frequently asking yourself these questions: What is the kind response here?
Sometimes a smile, a gracious word, eye-contact, or a door held open are all the kindness needed to ignite joy. Let go of fear. Fear blocks the path of kindness. Replace fear with the courage borne of your best intentions.
Think about the possibilities your kindness might manifest and proceed confidently. Assess the actual need for the sarcastic comment or the clever put-down…or even the subtle eye rolls. Kindness is all around, as are opportunities to extend kindness.
Kindness requires presence and practice. Sustained kindness is powered by self-care and ample rest. Kindness begins with each of us. Accordingly, get sufficient sleep. Being well-rested helps us make kind and ethical choices.
Plus, we have the energy and reserves to deal with whatever comes up. Manufacturer cannot be responsible for actions taken when operator is running on empty. Remember that kindness itself is not your destination, but it is the never-ending path you have chosen to follow.The term “hermit crab essay,” coined in by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola in their book Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction, refers to essays that take the form of something un-essay-like—such as a recipe, how-to manual, or marriage license—and use .
In the forward, Brenda Miller outlines the basis of The Shell Game by describing a hermit crab: A hermit crab is a strange animal, born without the armor to protect its soft, exposed abdomen. And so it spends its life occupying the empty, often beautiful, shells left by snails or other mollusks.
Within the recent explosion of creative nonfiction, a new type of form is quietly emerging, what Brenda Miller calls “hermit crab essays.” The Shell Game is an anthology of these intriguing essays that borrow their structures from ordinary, everyday sources: a recipe, a crossword puzzle, a Craig’s List ad.
Issue #37, The Best Creative Nonfiction, Volume 3. Brenda Miller. Brenda Miller is the author of five essay collections, most recently An Earlier Life. She also co-authored Tell It Slant: read more. Marie Mutsuki Mockett. In Hermit Crab Essays, author Kate Harding will help you explore all the different ways you can tell your narrative.
“ Hermit crab essays ” is the term Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola use to describe writing that, like the crustacean, borrows a pre-existing external structure.
According to Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola in their craft book Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction, a hermit crab essay is one that “appropriates other forms” the way a hermit crab appropriates another’s shell.