I put together my year-end summary dejected about a recent flash rejection, thinking that nothing else would be happening very soon, and this morning I got a bombshell acceptance from Jill Talbot. She's accepting my flash "Little Colored Pills" (originally in Sweet, reprinted in Creative Nonfiction's "Sunday Short Reads") for her upcoming anthology from Columbia University Press, ESSAY FORM(S), and will include "Haunting Houses" (originally in New Ohio Review, also a Notable in Best American Essays) on a supplemental reading list in one of the other chapters.
I consider myself sort of an ex-academic, but I have tremendous respect for university presses and sites where the creative and the academic overlap. So I'm thrilled to be included in an anthology like this one. And thrilled to be in an anthology edited by Jill Talbot, whose work I've admired forever, and who will be writing craft essays for each section.
Here's a description of the project:
What are the different forms of the essay, what constitutes each form, and how do essayists know when to choose one over another?
In writing essays, we make decisions about which stories we will tell, but we must also decide how to shape them. The form of an essay enhances its meaning, placing it in conversation with the content. This craft book, which will be published by Columbia University Press in 2023, will include both art (essays) and craft (brief explanations) to define and elucidate each form.
Essayists have a myriad of choices with regard to form when writing, and formal choices elevate the level of sophistication in the work, transcending “what happened,” the literal, toward the literary.
The forms included in this book will include: Abecedarian, Anaphoric, Borrowed Form, Braided, Bracketed, Collage, Collaborative, Column, Diptych, Enumerated, Epistolary, Experimental, Flash, Fragmented, Hybrid, List, One Sentence, Paragraph, Research/Personal Hybrid, Segmented, Triptych, and Traditional Narrative.
Here's her email (I was also so touched to hear that "Haunting Houses" was a success in her class on "Lyric Hauntings"):
Great news! I have selected "Little Colored Pills" as a feature essay for the Triptych chapter of The Essay Form(s). Though you didn't submit it, I'd also like to include "Haunting Houses" as Supplemental Reading in a chapter. I've been trying to decide: Research/Personal essay? Braided? Segmented? It's all three, but which category do you think of it as the most? I feel of it as Braided—the personal, the film, the literary allusions.
By the way, my students listed "HH" as one of the favorites of the semester yesterday during our final class. The supplemental reading list will include the citation at the end of the chapter.
"Little Colored Pills" will appear with two other triptychs (a triptych!). When I make that final selection, I can let you know.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Just so happy. I'm starting to work on something new (toted a 1000-page biography of Sylvia Plath home from the library yesterday, and a collection of letters equally large). I've been immersed in Janet Malcolm's book on Plath and writing biographies (probably irrelevant to what I'm writing, but a really good read). It feels good to set aside the rewrites that I couldn't motivate myself to do. I know I've done a lot of work on The Lunatics' Ball this year. But I've been feeling like my year-end achievements didn't add up to much. This feels very good.
Also, I worked at Columbia University Press, years ago, and lived just around the corner.