For the past few years on the post calvin, we’ve done a celebratory review of the best stuff writers have produced. Each year, we’ve chosen the posts differently. If you’re in the mood for some nostalgia, check out the past three years in review: Best of 2015, Best of 2016, Best of 2017.
This year, we decided to let the writers speak for themselves. Everyone has chosen their favorite 2018 post of their own devising and will tell you a bit about why they like it. We’ll split it up among these last three days of the month, so check back tomorrow if your favorite writer isn’t included yet today. Here are the entries from the writers from the 1st-10th of the month.
Matt Cambridge | Just Do It
I’m really proud of this piece because It’s a topic about which I have strong feelings and I wrote about it without expressing my opinion. It was a story that was developing that week, so I had to bring it together quickly and I felt that I captured the essence of what needed to be said in that short time. I also like it because it allowed me to discuss an area of my life I’ve been working on and need to improve in. It was tempting for me to try to craft a thoughtful argument that may compel someone, but I found it more useful to take it in a different direction. I really appreciated how many people reached out and wanted to discuss it after the post went up.
Abby Zwart | Spend It Now
Every month, I struggle with topic. I know that once I find something to write about, the writing itself tends to come easily. The Facebook chat among us editors is often full of my “i don’t know what to write abooouuuutttt” whine sessions, and so when Will read this piece, he laughed and said, “you successfully wrote about not knowing what to write about.” It’s true. We writers can be a self-indulgent bunch, and I get especially schmaltzy when I get to talk about this blog. So this piece, which a) is about writing, b) considers part of my personality and childhood tendencies, c) references former post calvin pieces, from an very early Caroline post to the previous month’s “Sex and the Church” theme, and d) celebrates this blog itself and the individuals who make it tick… it’s just classic post calvin and, I think, classic me.
Olivia Harre | A Journey Of Advent
This post means the most to me because of the reaction it inspired, both in my life and in the comments of readers. I usually allow more time to pass after an event before writing about it, but this time I wrote when the emotions were fresh. The lesson I hope I will learn from my disappointment—the lesson this season of advent is still trying to teach me—is one that not only encourages me, but also many of those who read this piece.
Will Montei | Unaccounted Years
It’s difficult for me to read any of my older writing with generosity, prone as I am to sentimentality and floral descriptions. Some of that is true here. However, despite all that, I’m fond of this one because of its details: walking through the snow with little Fox, his pronunciation of “Flynn,” the way my niblings crawled into my lap to watch Puffin Rock. On top of all that, I actually do like the reflection in this one. Parents are witness to the creation and development of human life, these grand little consciousnesses. Whatever that means, it remains beautiful in its consequence. All these thoughts were pleasant to return to and reflect on nearly a year later.
Courtney Zonnefeld | Solitude and I-80
This was my first-ever post on the post calvin, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much others connected with my love of rolling cornfields and long, seemingly-endless drives. Since writing this piece almost six months ago, solitude and silence have continued to dominate my 2018. I’ve landed among those themes in books, conversations, and even my own writing multiple times since then. (See: my December post.) But this piece is also an artifact of the past: my family is moving to Grand Rapids in the spring, and driving to Des Moines will soon become a rarity rather than a routine. So this piece is memorable for me in multiple ways.
Andrew Knot | Tilt Shift
I like this piece because it demanded some research and it taught me something new.
Tony Ditta | Everything is Fake. We’re All Going to Die.
Ben DeVries | Pete
Typically, only my wife reads my posts before they go out. But I made an exception with this one. A few days before my last shift with the Champaign Park District, I read this essay to its namesake, and after hearing it, Pete was quiet for a while. Then he asked—because Pete’s never been much of a computer guy—how he could get a copy. It’s not a loud or ambitious essay, by any stretch. It’s not likely to generate clicks. But for a publication like the post calvin, whose conversations unfold, of necessity, within the abstraction of digits and bytes, “Pete” is a welcome reminder that, to those of flesh and blood, stories and words (still) matter.
Mary Margaret Healy | Fudge Everlasting
Maybe because it’s the holidays, maybe it’s because I just shelled out an outrageous sum for a dog sitter, maybe it’s because, as I write this, Fudge is curled up with her head in my lap. But whatever the reason, this very good girl is warmly and firmly on my heart. She has had a stabilizing presence in my life for eighteen years (her birthday is December 27) and 2018 more than any previous year has required serious stabilization. This post I wrote about her in February honestly makes me tear up a little now, and hold her closer, and fear her inevitable eventual departure while simultaneously savoring the love and happiness she has unconditionally shared with me for so long.
Abby Zwart (’13) teaches high school English in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spends her free time making lists of books she should read, cooking, and managing the post calvin.