The Millions

Starting Over Is What’s Hard: The Millions Interviews Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura Philpott explores reinvention in her wonderful debut memoir-in-essays, I Miss You When I Blink.One thing I’ve learned again and again is that starting over can save your soul, but it’s almost impossibly daunting if your only vision of reinvention is the all-or-nothing, blow-up-your-life kind,” she told me. “There are smaller, incremental ways to start over that can save us, too.”

But Philpott’s collection isn’t only a guide for reinvention. It’s the kind of book that shapeshifts into what each reader needs most. Some essays are laugh-out-loud funny; others are affectingly tender. Many are both. Seriously, read “This is Not My Cat” and “I Miss You When I Blink,” and try to explain the reason for your tears. Whether she’s writing about home, work, or family, Philpott’s essays show life as it truly is.

Philpott and I spoke via email about, among other things, cathartic writing, wise words, and literary citizenship.

One thing I admire so much about is how open you are in discussing different parts of your life. Among other topics, you talk about your family, your health, and your insecurities. Did you find being so open about your life

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