Since changing my e-mail address, I’ve had a horrible time trying to mail my weekly essay sent by e-mail since at least 2004. Outlook thinks I am a spammer, so it keeps shutting me down. I have a lot of addresses to send to including one friend I have known since I was nine years old, others since high school. As new friends come into my life, I have listed their addresses in hope of giving something worth reading. I don’t call these weekly outputs letters so much as essays.
The personal essay is a vintage writing form also employed by more popular modern writers such as Joel Stein of Time magazine, Steve Barry and Erma Bombeck. I was assigned to read Charles Lamb (1775-1834) in college and since tried to write somewhat in his personal manner. I Googled a list of the best modern essayists in English and found I have not read many of these people’s essays. They are outside my realm: ALEKSANDAR HEMON ANNIE DILLARD CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS CLIVE JAMES CYNTHIA OZICK DAVID FOSTER WALLACE DAVID SEDARIS EDWARD HOAGLAND ELLEN WILLIS GEOFF DYER GEORGE SAUNDERS GRETEL EHRLICH HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. JAMES BALDWIN JO ANN BEARD JOAN DIDION JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN MARTIN AMIS MEGHAN DAUM NORA EPHRON PHILLIP LOPATE SUSAN SONTAG VIRGINIA WOOLF ZADIE SMITH .
Uncowed by these famous writers, I hope as I practice the art to be able to be thoughtful about my life in a way that others can respond to and perhaps enjoyably think about. My themes are domestic, Mormon, Utahan, as well as human and happily female. My blog is rated G. My language is clean and my experience informed by morality and middle class experiences. So what do I have to say? Read and see. Somebody should speak for the rest of us, the ones who believe in core values of God, patriotism, decency, protecting our lovely earth, families, civility, charity that doesn’t condescend or advertise itself, neighborliness, gratitude, forgiveness and rules of conduct such as the Ten Commandments or other religions’ high standards of behavior . I write about how interesting it is to live life enjoying small things and understanding that misery is part of how we learn and grow. I try to help others and believe that the choices we make have consequences that we are responsible for. Christianity and other beliefs in God are not outmoded or myth but the truest and most basic aspects of life. Mormons believe that life continues as individuals after we die, so every individual’s life is extremely meaningful. Human life is forever, death is not the worst thing that can happen, and God loves the children he places on earth.
If you can relate to these values, please subscribe to my blog. You will receive a notification that a new one is available if you are my friend on Face Book. I am listed as Penny Allen of Centerville, Utah. But don’t count on Face Book to alert you because sometimes it gets selective or quirky or needs prompting. If you follow me, you can read my weekly posts. One other advantage to a blog is that if you ever want to go back to an essay, it will be available. I believe I will search out some of my best and republish them. You will see one below called “Frightened in St. Louis.”
It’s difficult for me to make this move to a blog. I have had no idea how many of the people I send to by e-mail just push delete. Now and then I hear from someone who does read my essays, and of course I am gratified. The essays are now open to anyone, and I shrink to suffer the abuse that can be disseminated on the internet. The people on my e-mail list are civil and usually kind because we have known each other at some time.
So here goes a new adventure. I promise to make my essays short, to write them and edit them carefully so they will be pretty correct. The rest is up to you. PMA