James M. Chesbro’s essays have been listed as notable selections in The Best American Essays 2012, 2104, and The Best American Sports Writing 2014. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, The Huffington Post, AOL.com, The Good Men Project, Superstition Review,Weston Magazine, and Stymie: A Journal of Sport & Literature.
James is the co-editor of You: An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person (Welcome Table Press, 2013). He teaches at Fairfield Prep and at Fairfield University, where he earned an MFA, with distinction. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.
What I wish we could do as a culture is push aside all the noise in social media about the schleppy mundane aspects of parenting, about how children should Go the F**k to Sleep. I wish we could dismiss the alarmists and the prescriptive fix-all guide books and make more room in the publishing landscape for the humble voices confiding wisdom.
When the editors of Superstition Review asked me about the inspiration for this essay, for their newsletter, I told them I started writing this piece as an attempt to make sense of the guilt I felt in throwing out some of my deceased father’s belongings–that I wanted to explore what was worth keeping, why some of the objects were a source of consolation, to see if my associations to the thing I was essaying might provide a pathway to the origin of the emotional charge the object delivered. “From the Rust and Sawdust” appears in the fall issue, which you can read here, or listen here. “From the Rust and Sawdust” was selected as a notable essay for The Best American Essays 2014.
The Eagles have the power to close any gaps between my father and me. I don’t ever really question why it matters so much, but I accept Dad’s prayerful bursts to the holy family as Eucharist. The team feeds our relationship. It is a subject of immediate and uncontested agreement between us. Touchdowns mean yelling, a shared grin, possibly a high five. An Eagles interception or a shanked field-goal attempt mean calling upon Jesus Christ, or simply groaning incomprehensibly to each other as some constipated people tend to do privately.
“Night Running” appeared in the spring 2011 issue of Connecticut Review. It was selected as a notable essay for The Best American Essays 2012.
Here is an excerpt:
“After a few blocks down the avenue, I turn left and ascend the street that separates the first two holes from the remaining front nine of a country club’s prized old New England golf course. I like to run under these tall oak trees. Their wide trunks bifurcate into branches of swaying leaves. I like to run on the uneven blacktop sidewalk. I know this path. I can anticipate dips and cracks underfoot. Headlights cast my silhouette on the bark of trees, lining the fairway like columns. The profile runs on tree after tree. I’d like to think I can catch the shadow of myself at the top of the hill where the sky opens up to a full silver moon, but when I am there, my shadow is gone. Airplane lights flash red, avoiding each other in the black air traffic.”