Editing an anthology is a very chicken-and-egg process. You need essays in order to get a publishing contract, but you need a publishing contract in order to get essays. So, basically, you need good friends and family to write with no guarantee of publication.
Libby is my sister, and twice now (first for Mama, Phd), she has written an essay for me that helped anchor an anthology. Her piece for Mama, Phd eloquently describes her frustration with higher education’s expectation that a woman perform as all mind and no body; its title, “I Am Not A Head On A Stick,” continues to resonate with the book’s readers. She’s published personal essays in Brain, Child, Salon, and other anthologies, plus published academic articles in a variety of journals.
For Cassoulet, Libby combined her professional expertise in children’s literature and her love of food in a very personal exploration of the food served up in children’s books. On the one hand, these stories are all innocent, give-a-moose-a-muffin, bread-and-jam-all-day-long. But of course, children’s books tend toward a bit of didacticism, and even our most beloved — and the most subtle — can convey food rules that we don’t even know our children have absorbed. Until we find that our shared books lead to some fraught meals.