I have an essay in a book that’s just been published - The Art of Grandparenting, edited by Valerie Connelly. You can find it on Amazon. The essay is called “Knocked Sideways by Love” and it’s about my relationship with that perfect and beloved trio: Emma, Axel and Grace.
Writing longer essays for anthologies is something new for me. It began with For Keeps which was edited by my friend Victoria Zackheim. When she asked me for an essay for the book I told her that I’d never written a long, literary essay, and had no idea how to do it, blah blah blah. But she wouldn’t take no for an answer so I had to write the damn thing. I started typing chunks of awful stuff vaguely connected to the idea of the essay, and then the chunks grew, and then I kept fooling around with them, and pretty soon (well, not exactly soon, but eventually) I had an essay that was over 2,000 words. And all of a sudden I was just crazy about writing long essays. Another one, “Turning Soixant-Dix” is in Victoria's latest anthology, The Face In The Mirror which comes out next month.
This week I’ve been trying to write an essay about Winesburg, my cat of years ago, and Robin, my recently departed horse. I was telling R. about the essay and he asked how these two animals connected – I said I didn’t know and began to panic.
Today I was making soup from frozen chicken carcasses left over from Writer’s Chicken (recipe is under Living the Writer’s Life) It looked pretty depressing – just like my current essay. All these chicken bones and skin and limp hanks of herbs I had stuffed it with, and an ancient lemon bobbing around. I threw in some carrots and celery and onion and tried to focus on how delicious it will be when all the bones, and sad looking, limp vegetables are strained out and I’ll add corn and beans and some tomato juice to the broth that’s left. And voila I’ll have soup. An essay, I think, is just another version of soup.