See also: Best of 2020, Part One: Writers’ Picks

As writers, we cannot help but ask ourselves: Is anyone listening? Does anyone care? Or are we just writing into the void for the satisfaction of our own egos? (The answer to all three questions is sometimes.) This year, we asked our writers to highlight a post calvin piece written in 2020 by one of their peers. Maybe it made them laugh, made them think, or just made them feel a little less alone during this most exceptional of years.

Those choices are presented below in order of publication day, along with any comments the selector provided as to why they chose that particular piece.

Our Earth’s Magnetic Fields and Stars | Katerina Parsons

– Comfort Sampong

Landlocked | Ansley Kelly
Ansley’s descriptions are rich, gorgeous, and captivating, and her meditations on loss and longing lingered with me long after reading.

– Courtney Zonnefeld

Applying to Grad School: A Spiritual Practice in Seven Emails | Josh Parks

– Joshua Polanski

The Ballad of the AeroPress | Josh Parks
It packs a delightful story into a rhythmic coffee adventure, with depth and creative syntax, too; and I love an AeroPress cup of coffee!

– Chad Westra

Félicette | Gwyneth Findlay

– Jordan Petersen Kamp

The Ethics of Iron Farming | Gwyneth Findlay
As someone who takes the maximally-efficient shortcut whenever possible in games, I have huge respect for Gwyneth’s decision to take the slower path—save the iron golems!

– Ben Orlebeke

Trader Joe’s and the Joys of Cooking | Lauren Cole
Like Lauren explains so beautifully, mealtimes and cooking have undoubtedly become important events this year, Trader Joe’s products bring joy, and food is most definitely a love language.

– Olivia Harre

Blessed Be Your Samhain | Finnely King-Scoular
In its brevity and beauty, it seemed holy.

– Emily Stroble

Credo | Courtney Zonnefeld
This piece was so beautifully and thoughtfully crafted, and the subject matter really resonated with me.

– Kayleigh Fongers

My Fantastic Brothers | Kyric Koning
May we all write with Kyric’s lyricism, generosity, and wisdom. This ode to his brothers is a joy and an inspiration to love our siblings better.

– Ansley Kelly

Nainai | Chad Westra
Chad really brings us into a different world in this piece, skillfully interviewing idioms, cultural nuances, and fascinating characters in a way that was easy to follow made me feel like I was part of the journey—also I laughed out loud picturing Chad and Nainai watching WWE.

– Jon Gorter

The Steward of Gondor is Dead | Emily Stroble
I love how this piece speaks to the work Christopher Tolkien did to preserve his father’s stories and also gets to the heart of those stories, what we love about them, and why they are worth preserving.

– Lauren Cole

I’ve always been a fan of Tolkien, legacy, and Emily’s deliberative, poignant writing—a trifecta of winning, in my books.

– Kyric Koning

“Hoink!” A Legacy | Emily Stroble
I love the cozy picture of community and the reminder that friendships can stand the test of time (and even a global pandemic).

– Lillie Spackman

Does It Matter? | Katie Van Zanen
Katie’s poignant rage in this piece so perfectly articulated the frustration and grief I felt at people in my community who supported things I find abhorrent.

– Katerina Parsons

I imagine I’m not alone in liking this post—or in my reason for liking it. 2020 has, by turns, made me weep and howl with rage, and this post, in which Katie aims squarely at the heart of white evangelical hypocrisy, gives intelligent but furious voice to one of the major sources of my anger, and of my hurt.

– Ben DeVries

This piece resonated so strongly with me and the emotions I was experiencing around current politics and the election.

– Alex Westenbroek

The Peace of Christ Be with Me | Katie Van Zanen
It’s a resting point in Katie’s narrative throughout the year and a testament to both the tenacity and the ache of continually grappling with difficult, heartbreaking things.

– Anna Jeffries VanZytveld

Snail Saga Pt. 3: Snails in the Shadow of COVID-19 | Annaka Koster
Annaka’s Snail Saga had me cracking up in the early days of lockdown, and this conclusion—which beautifully dances between themes of mental illness, inequality, sadness, and snail hilarity—was a brilliant one.

– Laura Sheppard Song

Memorial Day | Annaka Koster
This is a really beautiful meditation on family and loss, and Annaka’s sentences always have a rhythm that fits their resonances.

– Katie Van Zanen

An Open Letter to My Neighbors | Annaka Koster
It says “the zenith of your congress,” and that makes me giggle out loud.

– Will Montei

sometimes the blue’s just a passing bird | Abby Zwart
Out of the many many post calvin pieces I loved this year, I keep coming back to how this poem captures the simplicity and deep love that comes with knowing a person through and through.

– Alex Johnson

Journals | Will Montei
I know that when I go back to read some of my past essays, I will blush and cringe, and Will described achingly accurately why this is a thing to embrace.

– Gabe Gunnink

Roads: Untaken, Taken | Gabe Gunnink
A beautiful, aching conclusion to my favorite theme that arose organically on the post calvin: the question of figs, first posed by Sylvia Plath and echoed by several of our writers.

– Josh deLacy

Talking in Circles | Leigh Peterson
It seems prescient that “I can’t remember the chronology of anything anymore” appeared in a piece in January of this year, before chronology lost all meaning as a global phenomenon rather than as individual existential crises.

– Gwyneth Findlay

1 Comment

  1. Kyric Koning

    Nice pickings, y’all. What a year.


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