James M. Chesbro’s essays have been listed as notable selections in The Best American Sports Writing 2014 and The Best American Essays 2012, 2014, 2015. His work has appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, The Washington Post, Brain, Child Magazine,Connecticut Review, The Huffington Post, AOL.com, The Good Men Project, Superstition Review,Weston Magazine, The Connecticut Post, and Spiritus. He is the co-editor of You: An Anthology of Essays Devoted to the Second Person (Welcome Table Press, 2013).
Essays are forthcoming in Under the Gum Tree,Assay, and Pilgrim.
James teaches full-time at Fairfield Prep. He holds an MFA from Fairfield University, where he is an adjunct professor of English. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.
Every morning I try to rise before our three young children so I can drink coffee by myself in the dark. I fell out of this practice over the holidays opting instead for the warmth under the comforter while the wind rattled the frosted windowpanes. But when we returned to our morning routine in the new year and our 8-year-old protested dressing for school, our 5-year-old could not believe it was no longer the weekend, and our 4-year-old turned her nose up at the breakfast foods we had in the house, I didn’t have any patience for them. I was a grouch.
To continue reading in The Washington Post click here.
Over my four year-old son’s shoulders the wounded adults gazed across the room in our direction. Between their absent stares, maybe they replayed their accident and the ways they could have avoided it. What replayed in my mind was coming home from work and seeing a gash in my boy’s head. He was mimicking the downhill skier on TV, lost his balance and banged his head on a table. As I zipped his jacket over his pajamas he choked back sobs, accepting the news that instead of going to bed, we were going to the hospital. The receptionist said “Anna” into the microphone, another name that was not ours. My son’s eyes followed the movement of white fish in the large tank by the receptionist’s desk.
From Granby to Greenwich, area police departments and wildlife experts in the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have been especially busy this spring and summer responding to calls about black bears. Some residents are more likely to encounter a bear than others, but more than ever, all of us dwell, somewhere between fascination and fear, between the novelty of seeing such a gorgeous awe-inspiring creature with our own eyes and the terror inspired by a several hundred pound omnivorous predator’s appearance in the yards where our children and pets play. We are situated somewhere between our ignorance of black bear behavior and our potential exposure to them. The continued bear sightings are our communal wake-up calls out of the hibernation of unknowing.
Click here to continue reading in The Connecticut Post.
I have an essay out in the February issue of The Writer’s Chronicleabout the various ways in which writers are employing second person point of view in creative nonfiction, including: Bill Bryson, Joan Connor, Dave Eggers, Joan Didion, Marsha McGregor, Joe Wenderoth, Mary Karr, John McPhee, and Paul Lisicky, with craft thoughts from Phillip Lopate, Kim Dana Kupperman, Baron Wormser, and Robert Atwan.
I’m grateful to editor, Douglas E. Christie, for accepting the essay and including the following words about it in his editor’s note:
“Chesbro asks us to consider the powerful transformation that can occur when a much loved (and perhaps overly familiar) sacred text reveals a new, unexpected but utterly necessary meaning; when you suddenly realize that you have to set out along a very different path from the one you have been walking all along.”
Click here to read. “The Return of the Prodigal Father” was listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2015.