Miscellany (definition: a collection of compositions dealing with various topics)
As a generalist (meaning that I’m generally interested in learning about just about anything), I love the word “miscellany.” This section is a catch-all place to gather short essay/blogs on topics that range beyond my usual ones. It is a jumble of unrelated topics, sort of like that one drawer in your home where you put stuff that defies categorization. “Junk drawers,” as I call them, are lovable because they often contain lost and forgotten treasures.
My attraction to miscellany was given a hearty boost when I matriculated as a non-traditional student at Aquinas College (Grand Rapids, MI), earning a second bachelor’s degree in English in 2006 from a particularly outstanding English faculty. My writing mentor, Brent Chelsey, introduced me to the genre known as creative nonfiction. When I asked him what the term meant, he said it was the art of telling true stories using literary devices such as narration, description, and dialogue. I was hooked. My decades as a journalist/writer included many magazine stories using similar tools, and now, I could see, there was a creative side to it as well. It led to three years at Western Michigan University to earn an MFA in creative nonfiction (2010), a new appreciation for the importance and relevance of academic rigor, and a welcome element to add to my writing toolbox.