Monday, October 6, 2014

Kinda Cool: My Essay Is Selected for "100 Notable" in New Best American Essays

 Hmm…I’m not sure how the New York Times Magazine’s Ethicist columnist would feel about an editor publishing her own work in her literary journal.  But apparently I don’t care because I’m doing it!

I found out this weekend that one of my essays was listed in the “100 Notable Essays” section in the back of the new edition of Best American Essays (thanks for telling me, Anna Leahy!).  So, yay for that, and yay that I hold the incredibly powerful position of editor/founder of Redux, the online journal that features previously published work not found elsewhere on the internet, allowing me to jump right into it and post the essay today. 

I’d like to add a shout-out to the literary journal that originally published this piece, PMS: Poem Memoir Story, which features work by women writers.  I bought a copy while at AWP and after reading it, knew that I wanted my work to appear in those pages.  I’m so happy to bring some more attention to that fine journal.

Here’s the opening to the essay, “Joy to the World”:

It’s mid-December, a morning of doing errands, a day like any other day, except that everything is going remarkably well:  I find a great parking spot.  The post office isn’t crowded when I arrive to mail my packages, though the man behind the counter tells me there’s been a line all morning, “until right about now.”  Find another great parking spot.  Stumble across the perfect Christmas gift for my hard-to-buy-for friend at a locally-owned boutique.  And so on.
 Last stop, the grocery store, where my luck continues, and the guy working produce locates in the back the last bag of parsnips in the building.  Parsnips are a key ingredient in the velvety-lush root vegetable soup I want to make for dinner tonight.  “Bet you’ve never seen anyone get so excited about parsnips,” I joke to him, and he laughs pleasantly.
 So things are moving along, and I’ve committed to a check-out aisle, unloading my cart onto the conveyer belt, doing my usual tidy job of it:  heavy stuff up front; frozen foods, meat, and milk grouped together; produce in one section, poisonous cleaners in another; fragile things at the end.  I’m daydreaming about the array of Christmas cookies on the covers of the food magazines, so I don’t notice the person in line ahead of me until she snaps, “I told you I can’t lift more than five pounds!  Those bags are too heavy!” ...


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.