Further reading: 2021 review, 2020 review, 2019 review

At its best, the post calvin is a place to learn. Our teachers are each other: neither total strangers nor close friends, most of us, but sharers in the very bonds the pandemic was so hard on: casual acquaintances, former classmates, distant frenemies. From each other, we’ve learned how to survive grad school, how to move to new cities, and how to confess our pain. From each other, we’ve learned to breathe the air in Colorado, in Washington, in Honduras, in a changing but still-the-same Grand Rapids. From each other, we’ve learned, in pieces and parts, to live.

On this first day of our 2022 end-of-the-year festivities, we’ve asked our writers to highlight their favorite post by another writer. Their choices are presented below in order of the author’s publication day, along with any comments the selector provided as to why they chose that particular piece.


“You’re Not Ugly; You Just Don’t Have the Money” Is Real | Juliana Knot
It’s difficult to kick-off a new month of writing, much less an entire year. I thought of this piece on many occasions and appreciate its no-nonsense assessment of beauty culture. Juliana’s assessment beat back my gremlins of self-doubt all year long.

– Ansley Kelly

What Do You Represent? | Juliana Knot
Juliana is honest about her own reading in a way can’t help be contagious.

– Joshua Polanski

Requesting Grumpy Leave | Christina Ribbens
It came at just the right time for me, hit both my funny bone and gave some relief to know I wasn’t the only one experiencing the need for a “grumpy leave” once in a while!

– Gabrielle Eisma

Dear Posterity | Christina Ribbens
Ribbens always has a disarming charm that then sneaks up on you in the night and pokes your big toe like Despereaux or something.

– Anna Jeffries

The Magic in Murmurations | Comfort Sampong
I recently watched a frankly alarming number of birds spanning quite literally as far as I could see, and it brought me back to Comfort’s calm insight on our connections between earth and sky.

– Gwyneth Findlay

To Speak or To DieAlex Johnson
This is a great, poignant piece that speaks to a specific aspect of grief that resonated personally with me.

– Philip Rienstra

Some Questions to Which I Don’t Have Adequate Answers and Probably Never Will | Ben Orlebeke
If this isn’t the best way to exit, I don’t know what is.

– Mitchell Barbee

Calvin, Redacted | Josh Parks
Blackout poetry is a deceptively simple and powerful genre/exercise, and experiencing Josh’s playful interaction with this mainline Protestant theological giant was delightful to me. (“Purity is misery”—need I say more?)

– Jack Kamps

Aberdeen, As I Walked It in 2021 | Gwyneth Findlay

– Comfort Sampong

On Spiracles and Stingray Lagoons | Gabrielle Eisma
I think this author, Gabbie Eisma, has a unique storytelling style and way of looking at the world (plus the most stand-out illustrations ever), and this piece is the most stellar example of her writing so far!

– Hannah Riffell

SluggardGabrielle Eisma
It’s everything good that creative nonfiction should be: incredibly beautiful, personal, thoughtful, and deeply moving.

– Tiffany Kajiwara

Do Not Despite the Day of Small Things | Jack Kamps
Jack’s September piece stuck with me, both because of its beautiful prose and its frank, sometimes unsettling depiction of an unfamiliar-and-yet-familiar routine.

– Courtney Zonnefeld

Option X | Laura Sheppard Song
Incredibly honest and creatively written.

– Olivia Harre

A Sex Education | Laura Sheppard Song
Laura’s take on this theme was equal parts clever, melancholy, insightful, and beautiful—so satisfying and well-written.

– Kayleigh (Fongers) Van Wyk

Crap Wildlife Photography: A Fluff Piece | Laura Sheppard Song
This one made me laugh out loud—a rarity—and the images and word pictures were delightful; this was the most memorable piece for me this year.

– Natasha (Strydhorst) Unsworth

Living in Liminal Space | Katerina Parsons
This piece is one I like to go back to in different times of transition; the short sentences at the end in particular always make me smile.

– Sam Tuit

The Poor You Will Always Have With You | Katerina Parsons
Katerina gives us a new (but really, an old and truly biblical) way to view those in need around us, and challenges us to act on our convictions to help those who might always need help.

– Laura Sheppard Song

Alongside Mary Gates | Chad Westra
This world could use more good poetry.

– Jon Gorter

Freedom, Maximalism, and Chopped ApplesEmily Joy Stroble
Emily’s piece encapsulates the common feeling of dissonance for us twenty-somethings, between making a house a home and never knowing where the wind might blow you next.

– Lillie Spackman

You Will Get Pregnant and Die | Katie Van Zanen
Old guard represent! Katie’s been one of my favorite essayists on the post for years, and this piece, with its mix of rage and clarity, is a good example of what makes her work so compelling.

– Ben DeVries

Join Something; Don’t Apologize | Katie Van Zanen
I’ll miss Katie’s prophetic voice on the post calvin, and I’m so glad she left us with these powerful marching orders. I think about this piece all the time.

– Katerina Parsons

I’m Running With Scissors | Anna Jeffries
Loved the creative descriptions and the honesty—she expressed her frustration/hopes/fears so well. The brain is a menace.

– Christina Ribbens



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