Season of Productivity

This weekend, the family and I went up to spend time with BW’s parents in Akron. It had been a while since we were all up there together, and the kids hadn’t seen Rhonda for several weeks (an unusually long stretch of time). I had a very productive writing weekend because of it– when we’re in Akron, it’s almost a mini-vacation for me. We lounge about, the kids have two extra sets of eyes on them almost constantly, and all of the normal distractions are absent. It’s a real delight!

Adding to the mini-vacation is my attempt to fast from Facebook for lent. I’ve never made a serious effort to sacrifice something during the season of lent in an effort to turn my heart and mind to the things of God. When I began to think about the value of this exercise, Facebook came to mind immediately. Beyond the lexulous playing and photo uploads, I am a loiterer. I hang out on Facebook. When I feel the slightest twinge of boredom or distraction coming on, I indulge, and of all things, it was the highest on the list of personal indulgences or addictions. Like many shakings-free of addictive substances, it is a painful, difficult divorce, but also a fruitful one. Prune, prune, prune, and watch the new growth. Already I’m seeing some of the value of my abstaining from Facebook and focusing on God and other quality endeavors. Take out the space filler and fill it with something worthy of occupancy!

All of that to say, I’ll probably return to Facebook at the end of this season, hopefully with a firm grasp on self-control and resistance. 🙂

I’ve read several good books lately and finished up two this weekend (no Facebook…). Over on Finding Gemstones, I blogged about The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Great story. Our book discussion group at church met to talk about it last night, and I thought the conversation was excellent. I just finished Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, too, and found it to be a very refreshing, easy read. While it wasn’t earth-shattering for me, I could see how some folks would find it revolutionary. Probably because I’ve read a lot of books like it, I’m not as blown away, but nevertheless it was a good read, and I’m glad I picked it up (for free on Kindle).

Ever since Key West, I don’t think I’ve read much in the way of published poetry, so at the urging of my pal Michael, I went to the library on Friday and took out the collected poems of Theodore Roethke and The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck: a Pulitzer prize-winning collection. I read Gluck this weekend, and wow, I am sorry I haven’t read her earlier. She was fantastic. Lyrical and haunting and inspirational and inquisitive and accusatory (is that a word?)… all fantastic. I read it all the way through once and now look forward to sampling poems here and there, really absorbing her work.

Besides some real good reading, I got a lot of real good writing time in as well. Besides doing some revisioning, I wrote a couple new pieces and pulled together another manuscript for a chapbook competition. We’ll see what comes of it– maybe nothing, right? But at least it is going out. I revised the full-length manuscript too, adding in some of my newer poems and doing a little reordering. It is a good, and healthy, feeling to not be in a terrible rush to publish a book. I am not too impatient (though always a little) for results.

I continue to roll over the ideas from a few months ago about the purpose of writing and the “why I write” question, and I think I’ve settled somewhere in the middle. I write for my own personal exploration of truth and circumstances (not quite pomp and circumstance), and after that, if the external world wants to read what I’ve written, I want to put it out there. So along those lines of thinking, I am wondering if there are those who would want to receive poems I’ve written or am working on, and if so, drop me an email or leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll start a little list for those who like my work and want to read my work in progress. I can’t promise brilliance. Because I don’t have it. But maybe something I write will move you in some way. Or at least leave you with a feeling. Or a thought. Or a frown. Or confusion. Hopefully not confusion.

On that happy note, I’ll conclude the night. Time to sleep!

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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