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A life in anecdotes 

"You live your life in anecdotes," my wife said the other day. The she immediately corrected it: "No, you remember it in anecdotes." Or, if we want to get almost too precise, we might say that I enjoy organizing those memories in anecdotes.

Getting a new license plate prompts me to remember stories of getting previous license plates, and some of the odd emotions brought on by such mundane events. The emotions start forming a string, which leads to other memories, and suddenly I’m in fifth grade, the family is moving, and we have a new phone number that the neighbors are apparently jealous of.

The resulting essay, "Relishing those idiosyncratic Western triumphs," is out this month on Writers on the Range (available here to subscribers).

This one went through a few revisions, especially as I tried to manage the transformation of ugly jealous ambition to a worthwhile value. One major step came when my editor went off on her own anecdotes of academics and parking spaces. That allowed me to universalize the emotion (though I've never met any such academics myself...), which really improved the bridge to the conclusion.

It's been a good summer for essay-writing. I hope to have a few more out soon.

I'm always interested in feedback, via info at johnclaytonbooks...

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