Reading through our next title - Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts - you learn pretty quickly that letting go doesn't mean giving up. It doesn't mean selling out. And it doesn't necessarily mean reducing clutter by tidying up. Though followers of Marie Kondo's best seller will be the first to understand that relinquishing anything, even an old T-shirt, deserves a ceremonial farewell. These true stories by 30 authors from seven countries provide that.
While you might identify with many of the authors' struggles, you won't find a formula for how to do it.
When M. E. Hughes put out a call for stories for this anthology, she says,
"I asked people to write about the process of letting go; I didn’t care if they were successful; I was more interested in how they went about trying, rather than the result I emphasized that this book was not a “how to.” Instead, it was designed as a collection of essays in which readers could explore the very real—sometimes funny, sometimes painful—efforts we all make throughout our lives to let go."
Full disclosure: I'm a fan and friend of M.E. Hughes (isn't it nice when your friends produce terrific work so you can honestly praise them?). Her first novel, Precious In His Sight is a long-time favorite. She has guided and edited a small army of writers in her nonprofit Peripatetic Writing Workshops, Inc., fiction workshops at NYU, and as private book doctor/editor. .
For years, her focus has been on fiction. Why then put together a nonfiction anthology?
"Selfishness is the answer," Hughes says. "I don't know how to let go of anything. Not of people, places and things. I come by it naturally, still having a gunny sack full of my great-grandfather’s desk contents—old letters, pieces of string, rubber bands, broken pens, newspaper clippings, address books, pencils, a political button from a forgotten, local race—emptied out in 1939 on the day he died. No one, including myself, ever had the heart to throw them away."
"The question in the air," Hughes says, "is: Does the inability to let go of ideas, people, places and things sometimes drag one down? After all, we are no longer in the Post-Depression Era; most of us don’t really need to save brown bags any more."
When Letting Go_ is released at the end of January (or beginning of February), you'll find dozens of different answers to that question. Until then, you can find excerpts here.
The delightful cover is designed by Al Pranke
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