Best American Essays

I like making lists. I like keeping track. I like having too many things on my plate. I read Dr. Crazy’s lists of accomplishments and hoped-for accomplishments avidly and I’ve been reading Sandra’s slog through The Artist’s Way with equal interest. I have my own lists--of deadlines and of dreams--and then, too, there are the lists of prizes, the volumes of bests that, perhaps, some day, I might find my own name in. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)

Those annual volumes of The Best American Essays edited by the essayist of the moment under Robert Atwan’s direction have been floating around the house a lot lately. My husband’s reading essays for a couple of his projects, so these books keep showing up wherever he’s been reading. Each time I see them, self-flagellating narcissist that I am, I remember with some pain, that I’m not in there.

Well, of course, Anne, because you didn’t publish an essay…or write one…

I’d really like to write essays. I plan to. But that’s the problem--I plan to every day. Do I? Can I? A year ago, a friend asked me to contribute an essay to his journal. Sure. And, though I’ve written a couple thousand words, it’s awful and needs to be scrapped.

I have some hope that I can start over during my travels to family over the next five weeks.

I’m not upset about this. Just interested.

So many of us want to write. So much of the challenge lies in actually setting pen to paper, and then, once that’s done, in crafting it into something worthy.