My bookshelves house more than just books: they hold my life’s journey upon their shelves. Though the shelves themselves are beginning to buckle under the weight of the books, knickknacks, and magazines, my two bookcases still stand tall and proud. On one shelf sits a pile of Poets & Writers and The Sun magazines, while another holds a stack of cookbooks that were both purchased and handed down to me in my early 20’s.
Yes, my bookshelves tell the story of my literary evolution. I can stand in front of them and pinpoint the exact moment when I stopped being a journalist and began being a creative nonfiction essayist.
I believe that transition takes place somewhere where The Elements of Style by Strunk and White bumps up against Bluets by Maggie Nelson.
Look even deeper among the neatly organized rows, and you can see where my love of unconventional nonfiction began and my need to read traditional creative nonfiction ended. That, I believe, can be seen in my second bookcase on the first shelf where Wild by Cheryl Strayed touches Book of Mutter by Kate Zambreno, which touches On Looking by Lia Purpura, which touches Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes. (Please also see Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon, The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak, and Lying by Lauren Slater, which are both located on the smaller bookcase, second shelf down.)
I’m proud to say that my bookshelves showcase growth, evolution, a deep desire to stretch, read, learn, imagine, and fly.
Nikki A. Sambitsky earned her MFA in creative writing, specifically focusing on the lyric/fragment essay (creative nonfiction) from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. Sambitsky holds a BA in journalism from Central Connecticut State University. She is currently working on her collection of lyric/fragment essays, which center on mental illness, her family, and her husband and two autistic children. Sambitsky enjoys writing essays that explore family, family issues, and autism. Her journalism work and creative nonfiction has appeared in many publications including The Helix, Gravel Magazine, and West Hartford Magazine. She was a scholarship recipient to the 2018 Slice Literary Writers’ Conference, and her essay, “Happy Birthday (Numb)” was selected as a finalist in the nonfiction category for the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference Emerging Writers Contest. Sambitsky was also a scholarship recipient to the 2018 Murphy Writing Workshop of Stockton University. Her most recent essay, “Penny Drop,” is slated for publication in Longridge Review, in November 2018. She lives with her husband, two children, and way too many animals in a peaceful, rural, area of Connecticut.