What can all of us writing about a day tell us about ourselves or our days?
Over at Essay Daily something remarkable is happening. On June 21st, they kicked off a one-day-only call to action: write about today and send it in. A few hundred people participated, myself included. The very next day, Essay Daily started publishing the results. The site is putting out ten June 21st missives a day, including today, and will continue until they run out.
As you might expect of essays jotted off in a day’s time, they mostly read like first drafts. They are often messy, diaristic, chronological yet tangential. The question of literary merit, however, is not the point, nor does it detract from the project in the slightest. The feat is in the scope and simplicity. Very rarely has a writing project of this size been undertaken, not even that time in 1994 when L’Obs asked 240 writers to chronicle a day (April 29, 1994) for their 40th anniversary issue. Very rarely do we get to read untitled, unedited first drafts like these. Very rarely are we given permission to publish them.
Essay Daily editor Ander Monson, announcing the project, asked, “What can all of us writing about a day tell us about ourselves or our days?” On this, the solstice, there are as many answers as the day is long.