Last week, I ordered books from the local independent bookstore. It was my yearly book-buying gig. Each Octoberish, I get the latest edition of Best American Short Stories, and Best American Essays. This time, I also ordered Best American Poetry and Best Spiritual Writing. They arrived Monday, (Two days before the DVD order I placed at Amazon, on the same day, arrived. Go Independents!), and I picked them up yesterday. (Actually, Best Spiritual Writing was from last year. Seems there’s not to be one, this year. Grrr…)
I’ve been getting Best American Short Stories every year for two decades. Some years ago, I managed to get copies of previous years’ editions. I now have each year’s edition beginning with 1978. Best American Essays, I’ve only been getting each year for the last five years or so. During my last visit to Telluride, I bought Best American Poetry for 2011 and 2012, at the Independent Bookseller there. I liked them so much, I’ve added it to the yearly list. I planned to include Best Spiritual Writing, but now… I used to get them each year, but fell outta that habit. Bums me that when I’ve gotten “back” into the habit, it’s looking like I’ll not be able to continue it.
I began my writing life wanting to be a short story writer, then I branched out into essays. Most recently, I’ve had more luck with essays than shorts; and poetry is wide-opening itself. I think my writing, and especially my essays, tends toward the spiritual. It’s because these are where I see and want my writing to go/be is why I’m seeing what’s the best of what’s out there, each year.
So, now, I’ve got some reading work ahead of me. There’s far worse work to have.