Celebration (Part II) by Susan Shafarzek

I’m amazed and delighted every time we hold Streetlight’s Essay/Memoir contest to see how many wonderful submissions we get. The only sorrow is that we can’t give out more than three cash awards. But, we can offer honorable mentions and this year, I’m happy to say, six very excellent writers have agreed to let us publish their work under that aegis.

We’ll be starting to roll out those wonderful essays this coming Friday, with Naomi Enright’s insightful and useful criticism of the usual way our troubled American history gets presented in school. The Hidden Curriculum, written from the perspective of mother and a person who has had to navigate that hidden curriculum herself, is a look at how, even with the best intentions, it’s possible for important truth to be lost.

Then, August 26, will see publication of Carole Duff’s heartfelt essay, The Piano Lesson. This memoir, told through the prism of the family piano—and the relationship of the non-piano playing mother to it fate—is a cheerful and touching look back on a full life.

In the Fall of 2021, we have four more exciting offerings. Their order of publication is yet to be determined. These essays will appear, at intervals, between September and November, 2021:

John Brown’s memoir, Valium Dream is both a study in family relationship and an indictment of how prescribing pain killers can result in family disaster. “It is said that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, although the opposite is actually true,” he tells us, in this excruciating account, with its, oddly, almost happy ending.

In her essay, From One March to Another: My NICU Baby and the Pandemic Turned One,”  Jamie Finn tells an exciting story of going through giving birth during that time we are all hoping to look back on some day, maybe even this winter. Most of us would rather not have the kind of excitement she tells so superbly, but in the her telling of it, we’re there too.

Angela Latham, in Doubts About the Enterprise, plays with the writing process itself, while giving us the short version of a life lived in the throes of history and personal event. It’s a witty and authentic look at getting older and not going gentle into it.

And last, but by no means least, Betty Wilkins gives us a lesson in family love and a mouth-watering invitation in Hudy’s Secret Recipe. In this warm memoir, she touches on the basic parameters of human relationship—patience and kindness and endurance.

I hope you’ll take as much pleasure from reading these wonderful essays as we have in finding them.

Photo of wine glass on colorful tablecloth
Celebration by Kurayba. CC license.

Susan Shafarzek
Susan Shafarzek is Streetlight‘s Essay/Memoir editor. She also writes the occasional blog.

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