David Gessner

Essay  – 

Introduction to “Becoming Earth”

“This is the best thing about Facebook,” I wrote on Eva Saulitis’s page last fall, a few months before she died. And it was. I only met Eva twice and only had one substantial conversation with her, at a hotel…

Losing the House

The house is like a novel. For many years I called it “my father’s house,” but that was wrong. It is my mother’s house, and it has always been. It is my mother’s novel. It is my mother’s house,

A Quiet Lie of Nature Writing

That morning, fog had chopped off the tops of the mountains, and then the afternoon rain, spiced with hail, hammered the roof of our house. But near dusk, sun slanted down through the openings between the foothills, and I decided…

Mapping the Country

Wallace Stegner believed that writing from and about the American West was ignored, and as he became known throughout his home region, he chafed against being considered regional—when considered at all—by the East. I remember watching a television interview with…


There is always something missing. Is there always something missing? Yesterday I was lying in a hammock in a beautiful courtyard. It is summer now, but it was a coolish day, and a row of birches stood off to my left,

The Essay’s Place

We live in a time when essays are often bullied into being articles, when the marketplace and the Internet, both ever-hungry for action, serve to cattle-prod the lounging essayist out of his or her natural ambling pace and into something…

Good-bye to an Editor

  Over the last few years I have sometimes been listed on the Ecotone masthead as Editor-in-Chief. I like that, in a vain sort of way. “In-Chief” sounds powerful, something writers seldom get to sound. It makes me want to…


I In the evenings, when I read and take notes in my journal, I am showered by applause. As you can imagine, it’s a warm and rewarding feeling. I work outside, or as close to outside as you can get…