I want to be touched.
March 25, 2010 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Help me find short, touching essays written in the first person, about personal relationships.

Essays about being a parent, a sibling, a friend...even about a person’s relationship with themself.

I just finished reading Roger Ebert’s article about his dad and while touching, is not really what I’m looking for – it’s too long and is basically a biographical piece. I guess I’m looking for more reflection on what the relationship means or what the author has learned from it.

This piece on motherhood by Anna Quindlen (Flown Away, Left Behind) always bring a lump to my throat, and I want to read similar works.

(Sidebar/derail: is that the correct usage of “themself”? Or should it be “themselves”? It’s bothering me.)
posted by yawper to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Many of the This I Believe essays fit your description perfectly.
posted by jquinby at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2010

Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking
posted by sallybrown at 8:34 AM on March 25, 2010

I should say it's not short (although not long at all for a book), but is tremendously touching without being saccharine.
posted by sallybrown at 8:36 AM on March 25, 2010

Touching, but heartbreaking - just one post among countless great ones on one of my favorite blogs.

The Child on the Train
posted by Rallon at 8:44 AM on March 25, 2010

There's a whole franchise (Chicken Soup for the....) dedicated to this.
posted by rocket88 at 9:10 AM on March 25, 2010

Best answer: The Sun magazine specialises in that sort of touching firsthand essay.
posted by patricio at 9:10 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Times also has a Lives column in their Sunday Magazine that sounds like what you want. The archives are viewable online.
posted by troywestfield at 9:14 AM on March 25, 2010

Response by poster: I had not heard of Modern Love before, and it's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Thanks for the other suggestions as well, I'll check them all out.

Except for Chicken Soup for the Soul...sorry...I didn't mind the first couple of books but after that they just got so contrived.
posted by yawper at 9:17 AM on March 25, 2010

This may be closer to the Ebert piece than you'd like, but I can't think of a finer example of the form than Raymond Carver's essay "My Father's Life." There is a cached copy available from Google; the essay is also included in Carver's book Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Other Prose.
posted by cirripede at 9:44 AM on March 25, 2010

Once More to the Lake by E.B. White.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:06 AM on March 25, 2010

Best answer: This is a genre that I have a great appetite for, and the best one of these I've ever read is in here, by the extremely underappreciated Leonard Michaels.
posted by voronoi at 10:18 AM on March 25, 2010

Can we recommend poetry? I love ee cummings' poem My Father Moved Through Dooms of Love
posted by zoomorphic at 10:54 AM on March 25, 2010

I came in here to recommend Modern Love as well. The House of No Personal Pronouns is my favorite Modern Love column -- it's a bit dark, but very good.
posted by k8lin at 11:03 AM on March 25, 2010

Long for an essay (76 pages), but C.S. Lewis, "A Grief Observed."
posted by Beardman at 2:15 PM on March 25, 2010

A lot of David Sedaris' essays about his family or his relationship with his partner would fall into this category. They often start out hilarious and end up touching. The story "Repeat After Me" from Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Leather is a great example of this.
posted by lunasol at 11:24 PM on March 25, 2010

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