I wrote this essay in June 2015, mostly to share with my sister, who was growing more concerned about me in the aftermath of my wife’s death. I hoped to indicate to her that I had some ways of thinking about things that would help me along. I knew what I had to say could not be contained by a letter. I chose the form of a personal essay because it is one I use often, know well, and, above all, can produce quickly, which was the most important factor in this case. It not only served its primary purpose, it helped me, too. And it turned out well enough, I thought, to share informally in this more public venue.
The essay has since been published in READER: Essays on Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism and Pedagogy, Volume 68-9, Fall 2016.
Here is a printable PDF of the essay: