I’ve felt very grateful over the past six years to be able to work with such a varied mix of writers at Longreads, from seasoned journalists to previously unpublished writers to artists who have expanded into longform storytelling.

Many of my favorite pieces published here are personal essays — stories chronicling moments of discovery, unanticipated journeys, inner explorations made accessible, and more. Essays editor Sari Botton has built a rich archive, and I’m not even sure where to begin to highlight the breadth of this work and the diversity of voices. Among these stories, you’ll find the Fine Lines series — a collection of writing about age, like Laura Lippman’s “The Art of Losing Friends and Alienating People” — and other recent popular essays, like Michael Musto’s “The Danger of Befriending Celebrities.”

I’m particularly drawn to unexpected and beautifully braided essays: I think of Kimi Eisele’s “Duet for a Small Porpoise’s Extinction,” a lyrical essay on nature, dance, language, and a world of disappearing things; and also Alison Kinney’s “The Man in the Mirror,” which begins by examining one of my favorite paintings — The Arnolfini Portrait — and then explores trust, vulnerability, intimacy, and the aftermath of rape. An essay published last fall on the anniversary of Northern California’s Camp Fire, “California Burning” by Tessa Love, also comes to mind, as it weaves meditations on California and fire, Berlin and foxes, and destruction and regrowth.

Above all, it’s important to give writers the space to explore and go in unique directions, telling stories only they can, and Longreads has been able to provide that wide, blank canvas for them to do so.

As an editor, I’ve also loved bringing illustrated personal narratives to life. In the delightful “Cut From the Same Cloth,” Myfanwy Tristram explores aging, maternal envy, and the extreme fashions of her teenage daughter. In “Home Is a Cup of Tea,” sketch artist Candace Rose Rardon combines watercolor sketches and travel writing in a piece exploring her evolving definition of home. And in “Unleashed in Paris,” Kate Gavino shares how she became comfortable speaking French while walking Parisian dogs in a longform comic that, at its heart, is about belonging. The ability to explore different approaches to first-person stories, like these, is made possible through Longreads member support.

Whatever the format, contributors are given the space to experiment, which is what has kept me excited about working at Longreads to this day. With your contribution during our Winter Member Drive, you can help us publish more stories and expand the roster of writers and artists we’d love to work with.

Please consider donating during our Winter Member Drive — every dollar helps, and every recurring contribution helps even more. Click the button below if you’re ready to become a member and support writers, journalists, and illustrators who have unique and resonant stories to tell.

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Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.