Dana VanderLugt | Writer

“The Orchard”

by | Feb 17, 2019 | On living, On Writing | 0 comments

I’m excited to share that my essay, “The Orchard” is published in the Winter issue of Longridge Review. You can read it here.

I began the first draft of this essay in my college dorm room about 20 years ago and picked it back up last year as I began my MFA in Creative Writing program at Spalding University. I’m so grateful for all the friends and mentors who have read and given feedback to drafts along the way, and for my dad, who answered countless questions about growing apples and patiently helped me piece together the timeline and details of our orchard’s history.

Initially, I received a rejection from Longridge Review (and a handful of other literary magazines), but the editor kindly wrote to say that she never deleted the essay because it stuck with her somehow. I’m grateful that the essay has found a home with Longridge, and found that they treated my words with the same care and attention that I’ve watched my grandpa and dad attend to their apple trees. Please, don’t miss the other wonderful essays found on their site.

Writing is often a solitary endeavor and it’s both joyful and a bit unnerving to have those words out in the world. I’m honored by those who have read and felt a connection to the story, to the family history, to the relationship that develops between people and the land entrusted to their care.

In the essay, I mention that though my family called it “our orchard”, we also knew it was never really ours. We knew that we didn’t actually own it, and though we loved that land and had no doubt that Grandpa knew it better than anyone else, it didn’t ever truly belong to us. (Can land, can soil, ever really belong to anyone?)

In the same way, though this essay has my byline, it’s never really been mine, either. It’s part of a larger, richer story given to me, part of a legacy in which I’m lucky to play a part. It’s true: “The miraculous can be so close to mundane that we often miss it.”

With gratitude,

Dana

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