In Which I Accidentally Get Mistaken for a Writer

Fair warning: I will be talking about something really cool that happened to me. I am super grateful for it, and I will be describing in some detail the ways in which I am pleased. Hope that’s not too awkward.

So…a funny thing. The other day I got an email from the managing editor at the Bellevue Literary Review, informing me that a piece I wrote for them last year had made the list of Notables in Best American Essays 2011. I had no idea what that meant, but based on the link the editor provided it looks like my essay was included among the essays chosen by the series editor, Robert Atwan, for the consideration of the guest judge, Edwidge Danticat (though, of course, it was not ultimately selected) (and let me be clear, I am cool with that).

I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Atwan for noticing my little essay. The Wills of Twenty Strangers is the only non-scientific piece I’ve ever published, and I really had no idea whether anyone besides my parents had ever read it. Well, my dad ordered about 20 hard copies and has been pressing them on people ever since, so I guess my readership must number at least eight. The piece grew out of my experience working with cadavers in the Anatomy lab my first year of med school, and it really only happened because I had insomnia during finals week. And because I lost a bitter argument to another med student over what made for an appropriate way to honor the dead. And because I have parents and one very kind friend who let me send them 12,983 drafts.

And now I’m experiencing a potent cocktail of elation and cognitive dissonance. I mean, Edwidge Danticat at least skimmed something I wrote! And sure, the list of Notables is pretty long, but when you’re on a list that includes Atul Gawande, does it really matter how long the list is? How could I not geek out? And, uh, how did this happen???

That is all.


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