The essays demonstrate the value from having a vision for your career – whether it's detailed or "big picture" – before you start a psychology degree.
Having a long-term goal in mind offers a reliable source of study motivation.
Isn’t an admirable definition of the life well-led to maximize your time doing what you’re best at, especially if it’s pro-social?
PL: Honestly, that “lament” was a form of discreet bragging.
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.” PL: Hedonism can be a rational response to a difficult life.I’m fortunate in being able to find great satisfaction in my work.A mark of a good writer, whether fiction, essay, or poetry, is the ability to unflinchingly illuminate the emotional issues that people often try to suppress.An exemplar is Phillip Lopate, long acclaimed as a fine writer of the widest range: from film reviews to poetry, novels to, most of all, personal essays.And as a reader, per-minute of my time, I’m getting a helluva lot: practical takeaways, a literary experience, and an intimate experience with the writer. I might mention that some writers who longed to be novelists were better as essayists: Sontag, Baldwin, Vidal, Mary Mc Carthy, Mailer.On personality and relationships MN: In your essay, you wrote, “There is no harder work I can think of than taking myself off to somewhere pleasant, where I am forced to stay for hours and have fun…I don’t even like water beds.” But why not fan the flames of, as you term it, “hedonistic delusion” rather than, as psychiatrist Irv Yalom writes, “stare into the sun?Lopate is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, been a judge for the Pulitzer Prize, and is Professor and Director of the nonfiction writing program at Columbia University. On the personal essay Marty Nemko: How would you define your métier, the personal essay?Phillip Lopate: A personal essay often includes some or a lot of personal confession.MN: In your essay, , you describe taciturnity as a privilege. PL: It enabled my father to go into internal exile while remaining in the family’s bosom. My wife and daughter have accused me of being too silent at breakfast but I don’t want to talk when I don’t have much to say. PL: I do and it bothers me when I can’t, for example, remember a name.MN: In that essay, you focused a lot on your dad's late-in-life dementia. I don’t know if it’s pre-senility or whether there are too many names packed in our brains. All we can do is try to strike the balance between graceful acceptance and raging against the dying light.