- We make eye contact with people we pass on the street and even smile and say “hi.”
- If we’re riding the bus and a fellow passenger falls asleep, we wake them up when it’s their stop. When we get off the bus, we tell the bus driver, “thank you.”
- We wave to the garbage collectors.
- When we’re on an elevator, we don’t just stare in silence at the numbers over the door. We make small talk with each other and say things like, “Have a blessed day” when we reach our floor.
- We start conversations in the check-out line at IGA and may even share the gospel.
- If we see a car broken down, we stop to see if they need a cellphone to call for help.
- If we see an accident, we hang around to be a witness for the police report.
- We welcome new neighbors with a home-baked dessert.
- We introduce ourselves to newcomers at church.
- In the aftermath of a disaster, we band together and pitch in to help clean up, provide food, tools, money, clothing, and emotional and spiritual support.
- We know our neighbors and even our postal carrier by name.
- We shovel the driveways and sidewalks of widows, single people, the elderly.
- We enjoy garage sales, farmer’s markets, and flea markets.
- We report things that are out of the ordinary in our neighborhoods and look out for our neighbors.
- When someone starts mowing, everyone else in the neighborhood gets out and mows, too.
- Our yards are adorned with gnomes, birdfeeders, and oversized thermometers.
- For every celebration or setback, we cook and bake. Food is like love wrapped in cellophane.
What is the #Midwessay? What is the Midwest? What are the characteristics, if any, of the #Midwessay (the Midwest essay)? What gathers us together? What pulls us apart? Springing from a twitter conversation, we started asking writers and readers what they imagine (or would like to reimagine) as the Midwest and the Midwessay. The #Midwessay is a series of reports from the Midwest (whatever that is) by and/or about Midwestern essay and essayists (whatever those are). Essay Daily will be publishing these, sorted (loosely) by state, in February 2021 and beyond. These #Midwessays will be collected here and on a separate site at a later date. If you'd like to submit a report / essay, send it our way. Details and coordinators for each state are listed here. You can also ping Ander (link at the upper right) if we don't list a coordinator yet for your state. —The Editors
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