Well, Hello There

Would ya look at that?  It’s been a month.  The MFA summer residency was here and then gone, those two weeks that last two months and then feel like just days once it’s over.  I think it might have been the smoothest residency we’ve run since 2007, which is saying something, since I was also in class this time.  It was an extremely productive and inspiring two weeks, to say the least.  And then, I hopped on a jet plane to North Carolina to meet my lovely family for a week of vacation.

Oh, sweet, sweet vacation.  How I miss you.

While I was on vacation, I devoured The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby and The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard… and also crab cake sandwiches. I’ve wanted to read Beard’s collection of essays since I read “The Fourth State of Matter” in Tell It Slant last semester, and I was not disappointed. The trouble is that now I’m feeling that intimidation that comes from reading really, really good writingwill anything I write measure up? Ever? I’m tempted to write everything in present tense now, though, so watch out.

I also started to read Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. I read a book of hers about her 40-year-long marriage over the summer, and I gathered that probably Madeleine and I would be BFF’s. I was right. I struggle to write about faith, mostly out of fear that I will come across too sentimental, too didactic, or too cliche, and that fear is extremely stifling. I tend to stare at my screen and then sigh dramatically before typing “God.” In L’Engle, I’ve found a kindred spirit, willing to speak honestly and frankly about faith and doubt, love and art. I’m really enjoying this book.

While I was on vacation last week, I had a lot more time to write and read than I usually do, and it was great to take a more focused look at the work. I finished a first draft of an essay about camping that I’m excited about, and I played around with some revisions to other essays.  But most of the time, I did this:


Which is exactly how I hope to spend heaven– on a beach, looking for shark’s teeth, chasing children through the incoming tide.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional (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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