Beth Kephart and William Sulit at Juncture Workshops have put together an anthology called The Walls Between Us, an exploration of how we live with walls of all sorts. I'm happy to have an essay called "The Wall of Fear" in it. I wrote it by asking: Why do we have walls in the first place? What do we like about them? What do we expect of them, and do they do what we expect? What problems have they brought that we didn't foresee?
I've read essays for years, but my first attempts at writing them came off preachy and stiff. Recently I've begun to treat them more as an opportunity to explore questions, and especially to use my own reading habits as jumping-off places to new territory. I've been happy to see the personal-essay form flourishing, since as a reader I can't get enough of them. My reading has shifted to a heavy emphasis on memoirs and personal essays, but I'm still reading widely: novels, history, books on spirituality.
I've long thought of reading and writing as ways to bridge the distance between people. I hope that's still true.