Anthology. What a delicious word! It sounds like a trendy hipster fusion restaurant, and in many ways, it is. Different literary flavors come together in a (reasonably) convenient bite. The accumulated talent of my classmates has gotten me reflecting on the nature of what we are actually publishing.
My mother is a high-school literature teacher at a small Christian school. I tasted my first anthology as a student at that same school. I spent a lot of time in my mother’s classroom. On her bookshelf was a particularly impressive volume: the Norton Anthology of English Literature. As a word-hungry student, I would peruse through the pages before the start of morning classes.
What a wide array of wonders that book contained; everything from Chaucer to Tennyson, and Shakespeare to Wordsworth. It was in those pages I stumbled upon such delightful nuggets like Richard Lovelace’s “I could not love thee, dear, so much, if I loved not Honor more.” That anthology contained the best and most well-loved literature from an era’s best and brightest. It was an unprecedented treasure to have access to.
What we are compiling is in essence an anthology: a collection of varied material from varied sources. Each of my gifted classmates comes to a piece of paper with a different sum of knowledge and life experience. They all share a similar interest in literary greatness, but that similar interest does not spawn similar results. Instead I have had the privilege to read a patchwork quilt of creative material and genres. What I have read so far has been imaginative, clever, moving, suspenseful, and funny.
So unique is the material that it is unlikely any of our stories would have found their way into the same volume. Where can all of this diverse writing live happily, side-by-side? An anthology! In a way, our book will be a microcosm of our class. An anthology is not quite like a smorgasbord, where an obscene amount of food groups sit in a lukewarm buffet line and nothing really tastes good with anything else. No, I think an anthology is more like the funky fusion restaurant I mentioned earlier. Everything is unique but intentionally selected for a specific flavor profile.
So take a bite, and dig in! My fellow authors are churning out a treat.