Essays on Childhood – The 2011 Project

The Essays on a West Virginia Childhood project was a complete joy for me.  I found the diversity, talent, honesty, and insight in each submission quite amazing, and worthy of ongoing development.

This year Esse Diem will continue the essay project, as well as maintain the theme of reflections on childhood.  The evolution will be to expand the pool beyond growing up in West Virginia to include any place where the writer spent his or her formative years.

What is unique about the place where you grew up?  How do you as a writer define a sense of place?  It might be a geographic definition (a region of a country, for example), but it might also be the house where you were raised, or even smaller, such as the room you occupied in that house as you grew up.  How has “place” influenced you as you grew into an adult person?

Essays submitted that focus on a West Virginia childhood will continue to be categorized as such; all additional essays will be categorized as Essays on Childhood: A Sense of Place.

Anyone having initial interest, please comment so I will have your e-mail address for future private correspondence as the project develops.  Interest at this early stage in no way obligates you to participation, though I surely hope you will consider it!  Please also share this opportunity with people you know who may have an interest in exploring his or her own writing and expression of childhood experience.

Image credit: 1001 Image


West Virginia lost a true believer this week.

He was my friend, and even if you did not know him you need to know that he was your friend.  He was your friend because he cared about the future health and well-being of the place we call home, and he was never afraid to stand up and fight for that future.

The founder of Create West Virginia said this:  “Jeff was always among the first to volunteer to speak or help.  He was an early and passionate member of our team.  He had such passion for West Virginia and its creative potential. I will miss his truth-telling, his fearless willingness to tell it like it is, and his sense of humor and caring.”

As for me, I see a special magic in the symmetry of this loss and the two stories on Esse Diem prior to this one.  The wood and wool goat figure in the garden came from Jeff’s business Stray Dog Antiques.  My husband brought it home as a surprise gift for our baby who was due just a few weeks later.  And Joe Strummer looked a reporter straight in the eye and said that when they wrote about him, to be sure to get his title right:  Joe Strummer, Punk Warlord.  “Warlord is all one word.”

Jeffrey Miller, Green World Warlord.

All one word.