• Waggener Essay Published in “Chicken Soup” Series

    Congratulations to Esse Diem friend and partner Jennifer Blake Waggener for her essay’s acceptance into Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping, and Compassion.

    Jennifer’s essay, “Fade to Black,” first appeared on her own private blog in 2006. She generously shared it with Esse Diem in 2012 for the Essays on Memory and Loss effort to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s advocacy efforts.

    The book may be pre-ordered now, and is available April 22, 2014. All royalties benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

    We are so very proud of you, Jennifer!

  • Meet the Writers | Essays on Childhood 2013

    It is with great pleasure that I introduce the first class of all-repeat writers for EOC! Each has written an essay for the project before; Anne Barnhill has the unique status of writing for her third year.

    Thank you for reading, and for helping to promote these fine writers. If you appreciate what we are doing, I hope you’ll share the project with your network. We plan to publish a book next year. Just discovering EOC? Catch up with the project by listening to Elizabeth Gaucher’s interview with Beth Vorhees last year for WV Public Radio.

    Brent Aikman

    Brent Aikman

    Brent Aikman

    Brent Aikman was born, raised, and now resides in Charleston, West Virginia; he lives happily with his wife and 2 dogs.  He attended Marietta College in Ohio and received a bachelor’s degree in English and then went on to complete his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He enjoys all things outdoors, especially camping with his wife and riding his motorcycle.

    Brent’s essay will examine his love of motorcycles — how he fell in love with them when he was young, and how they have facilitated adventure in his life.

    Read Brent’s 2012 essay, “Outside.”

    Anne Clinard Barnhill

    Anne Clinard Barnhill

    Anne Clinard Barnhill grew up in West Virginia and graduated from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi.  Her debut novel, At the Mercy of the Queen, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2012. Her second novel, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter, is forthcoming in 2014. She is working on a third and as-yet-untitled novel, set in West Virginia.

    She is also author of At Home in the Land of Oz: Autism, My Sister and Me, a memoir about growing up in West Virginia in a time before anyone had heard the word ’autism.’ What You Long For is a short story collection published in 2009 that also contains stories set in the mountains.  Books are available from Amazon, www.jkp.comwww.mainstreetrag.com or, if you’d like a signed copy, from the author directly at acbarnhill@yahoo.com. Her first chapbook of poetry, Coal, Babyis available from Finishing Line Press.

    Anne’s essay, tentatively titled “Under the Stars,” is inspired by her early experiences camping in West Virginia.

    Read Anne’s 2011 essay, “Winter Solstice,” and her 2012 essay, “Melungeons and Mystery.”

    Elizabeth Gaucher

    Elizabeth Gaucher

    Elizabeth Gaucher

    Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia; she now makes her home in Middlebury, Vermont. She graduated with honors in History from Davidson College and is a degree candidate for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

    Elizabeth serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Childhood and Religion, a peer-reviewed online journal.  Her essay, “Rebranding a Life: Spirituality and Chronic Illness,” was accepted for a collection,  A Spiritual Life:  Perspectives from Poets, Prophets, & Preachers (2011).  Her collaborative writing project Essays on Childhoodwas featured on West Virginia Public Radio.

    Her short stories, “They Hold Down the Dead” and “Acts” are forthcoming in publications edited by Eric Douglas and Michael Knost, respectively. (She will probably pester you to read them.)

    Her essay, “Small Things in My Hand,” is about rabbits. Maybe. It might be about something else, but it has rabbits in it.

    Read her 2010 essay, “STOMP! go the doors.”

    Margaret Ward McClain

    Margaret Ward McClain

    Margaret Ward McClain

    Margaret was born in the miasmal swamp of Charleston, South Carolina.  She spent her childhood dividing time between the Holy City and Greenville, SC, the red dirt capital of the Upcountry, where she was raised and attended school.  She earned a B.A. in English from Davidson College and a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  She says, “I’ve always been torn between wanting to save the world and wanting to write about it.”  Today she is a recovering lawyer residing in Chapel Hill with her wonderful husband and family.  She is mom to a 16-year-old son, two grown stepdaughters and three very spoiled dogs.

    The working title of Margaret’s essay is “The Alligator.”

    Read her 2011 essay, “The Simons House.”

    Susan Byrum Rountree

    Susan Byrum Rountree

    Susan Byrum Rountree

    Susan Byrum Rountree highjacked the storyteller’s stool in kindergarten and has been telling stories ever since. Words have always held a sense of magic for her, and she has spent more than 35 years bending them this way and that to see what stories she can squeeze out. She is the author of Nags Headers, a regional history set on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and In Mother Words, a collection of essays about family life. Born and raised in Scotland Neck, N.C., a tiny town in the Tar Heel State’s northeastern corner, she studied journalism at UNC Chapel Hill and has written for a number of national and regional newspapers and magazines. She is now Director of Communications for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, in Raleigh, N.C. The mother of two grown children who have found themselves writing in their careers though they swore to her they would never become writers themselves, Susan these days bends words this way and that on her blog, Write Much.

    Her essay will reflect on millions of birds that roosted in her town in the early 1970s. They were just birds. Or were they?

    Read her 2012 essay, “Pick a Little Talk a Little.”