See also: Best of 2019: Part One
Each year on the post calvin, we do a celebratory review of the best stuff writers have produced, and each year, we choose those posts differently. If you’re in the mood for some nostalgia, check out the past four years in review: Best of 2015, Best of 2016, Best of 2017, Best of 2018: Part One, Best of 2018: Part Two, Best of 2018: Part Three.
This year, we’ll hear from our readers, our writers, and our editors for these last three days of the month. Today, we’re featuring posts that were chosen by our writers—they each chose the post from this year they were most proud of and wrote a sentence about it. Here they are, in author publishing day order.
Quarter-life Confessions | Katerina Parsons
This piece was written in the midst of a full-on upheaval of everything familiar in my life, and it’s vulnerable in a way that I think only comes from those moments.
SAO Doesn’t Have to Die | Cotter Koopman
I think it’s my only post that feels relevant beyond me, and it’s definitely the post I dwelled on the least—written all in the night the news broke—so it was cool to see similar testimony come out all spring and actually be addressed in some sense.
Stacking Wood (The Homestead Still Teaches) | Ansley Kelly
My rural upbringing isn’t something that I get to talk about often, but it’s an important part of who I am—this is my thank-you letter to the land (and the people) who taught me, among other things, how to stack wood.
D is for Disarmament | Comfort Sampong
I loved that I gave myself the creative freedom to use magic realism in disarming pain and re-envisioning resilience.
The Eye of the Whale | Alex Johnson
I find I am most vulnerable and myself when I process through my writing, and this essay puts that processing front and center stage.
F is for Fermata | Josh deLacy
This one was honest and open. It helped me and a few other people feel loss and love.
Tuesday Night in Omiš | Caroline (Higgins) Nyczak
This piece is a joyful memory and I always want to remember the details.
Numb | Jordan Petersen Kamp
Writing it felt like I was telling the truth about my past and my present in a way that is often hard to do.
Old Sunlight Wet Pavement | Will Montei
I felt like I was discovering new things when I wrote this, which was a wonderful feeling.
Unwarranted Parental Advice to Myself | Matt Cambridge
I wrote a lot about my daughter this year, and this piece sums up the experience in a creative way that I will always look back on with glee!
Deep Tracks | Abby Zwart
Though I didn’t write this specifically for the post calvin, I’m really proud of this speech, the way it reflects some ideas I’ve been marinating for many years, and the students who inspired it.
The Other Manhattan | Olivia Harre
I hope this piece inspires people to visit the clearly underappreciated Manhattan, Kansas—it definitely surprised me!
P is for Pterodactyl | Kyric Koning
Certainly, you’d have to love language to write a piece like this, but after spending over ten hours translating, researching, and meticulously crafting every word into sentences that actually create a comprehensible narrative, every bit of it becomes special.
I Corinthians 13, 2019 | Laura Sheppard
To my surprise, the thoughts I had been mulling over and hesitant to share in this post ended up resonating with so many people and sparking some excellent discussion.
Headshot | Ben DeVries
Over the years, many of the essays I’ve written for the post calvin reflect, more or less explicitly, on why it’s important to cultivate an enthusiastic but critical perspective on the art and entertainment we enjoy; this one just happens to do it best.
The Front Runner | Gabe Gunnink
My year was made immeasurably better by the Frontrunners, and Patricia was the original Frontrunner.
Graveyard Books and Black Dogs | Emily Stroble
It’s a story about the odd collection of books that, if it is too dramatic to say they saved my life, restored it.
24 Hours in February | Sadie Burgher
At my most frantic point in the events of this piece, I knew I would want to remember everything that happened, so I’m glad to have and share a written record of those unusual, sad, hectic, triumphant twenty-four hours.
I Feel X Because Why | Alex Westenbroek
I am proud of this piece because it was the first time I spoke so publicly about my own mental health.
Cultiver Son Jardin | Jeffrey Peterson
I like this piece because it is a very small story about a lot of things, and it feels earthy and authentic to me.
Second Person | Annaka Koster
My first successful attempt writing about something that I really needed to write about.
Power Through Writer’s Block in 7 Easy Steps | Brad Zwiers
This was a wildly different format for me, and one that allowed me to wrestle honestly with the cyclical mush in my head.
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.