Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best of 2016

Hi everyone,

Once again, I'm posting a few links to essays I've published this year in order to keep "Crenshaw Seeds" going. I wish you all a safe and happy 2016.

1) Entropy Magazine: "After the Essay"

2) Entropy Magazine: "Looking For America with Simon & Garfunkel"

3) Catapult (community site): "The Unknowable: Writers On Death" This essay includes my thoughts on Jenny Diski's column in the London Review of Books about dying of lung cancer (and about her relationship with novelist Doris Lessing). Since the essay was published, two relevant things happened. First, Jenny Diski died. Second, her LRB essays on dying were collected and published as In Gratitude, one of The New York Times' 100 Notable Books this year. Despite having thought much about death, I still don't know what to say about it. I admired Jenny Diski's writing. I'm glad that her book was well received. I'm sorry she had to die, and that we all do.

If it seems that I wrote few essays this year, that's in part because I was working on finishing my first novel, which I am now sending out to agents and publishers.

As for reading: I read Katie Roiphe's The Violet Hour which, given my own thoughts and writing on death, was exactly what I wanted to read. Then, inspired by Roiphe's book, which described John Updike's death and the way he treated death in his writing--the book also did the same for several other writers--I read Updike's Rabbit novels, right up through the novella, "Rabbit Remembered," which continues the story beyond Rabbit's death. That novella particularly interested me because in writing my "death essay," I had imagined that one of the ways a work of fiction could treat a mortal protagonist's inevitable death was to continue the story beyond it. And that, as I learned in The Violet Hour, was exactly what "Rabbit Remembered" did. I have enjoyed both the experience of reading the Rabbit books and, now, the feeling of having them in my head. I am also glad to have read books that I know my dad likes and to be able to share that appreciation with him.

Take care in 2017, everyone!

"Katie Crenshaw"/Ashley P. Taylor