What a wonderful honor to have my essay, "Still Life with Peaches," (Georgia Review, spring 2014) listed as a "Notable Essay" in the Best American Essays 2015, edited by Ariel Levy and Robert Atwan. I'm pleased to share this honor with writers such as Ann Beattie, Oliver Sacks, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, and John McPhee, as well as Patrick Mainelli, a a recent graduate of our graduate creative nonfiction program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. This is my seventh "notable essay" citation.
Knopp is the author of Field of Vision, Flight Dreams: A Life in the Midwestern Landscape, The Nature of Home, and Interior Places. Her award-winning creative nonfiction, which explores her home ground in Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska, has been lauded as "reminiscent of Thoreau's introspective nature writing and Dillard's taut, personal prose."
Check out my blog entry about my life's work as an essayist. I'm pleased that those at the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, which supports both the arts and humanities in the state, invited me to tell my story!
I was sweating it. Due to a sabbatical and the summer break, yesterday was my first day in the classroom since last December. Yesterday was also the 35th time (gasp!) that I began a new school year as the student teacher/ teacher/instructor/professor. What if I don't want to do this anymore? I worried. I have friends my age who have retired and others who will be soon. That sounds pretty good to me! But I'm pleased to report that the discussion in Food Writing, which I'm teaching for the first time, was so zesty, delicious, enthusiastic, and downright fun and the discussion in my graduate seminar on experimental forms so enlightening (I thought I knew everything there was to know about Barry Lopez's "The Raven," but those smart students surprised me several times with their insights), that I'm back and very, very grateful to be there.
The contract arrived in yesterday's mail. Once the board approves it, I will tell you which university press will be publishing my manuscript, Bread: A Memoir of Hunger. This is a book about food, hunger, desire, appetite, and fullness, as well as eating disorders among older women. It's unlike any of my earlier books, and I'm eager to see the places it takes me (both geographically and in terms of my writing) and the people I will meet through it. I will keep folks posted via my website and facebook (please "friend me" if we aren't already connected) as I go through the process of bringing forth this book.
M. F. K. Fisher wrote delicious essays about food, desire, and fulfillment, and she had wise words about the act of writing: "Write one good clean sentence and put a period at the end of it. Then write another one." That's how I'm spending my morning.