It’s a big week for me as I head up north to the Festival of Faith and Writing. I love this conference, and at this year’s event, besides hanging out with a boatload of truly excellent people, I get to meet my agent face-to-face. I’m also going to be reading at One Poet, One Poem, and talking on a panel about Love and Marriage: Writing Our Most Intimate Relationships, with Susanna Childress, Brent Newsom, and Addie Zierman.
At the same time, I’m leaving behind the husband and the kiddos and the dog. Lydia beat me at Scrabble tonight. Elvis built Yoda (“Hmmm. Yoda, I am!”) and a few other Star Wars’ related figures I couldn’t name at “Bricks for Kidz” after school. Henry corrected Brandon when he changed “sun” to “rain” and sang, “No, Dad, it’s ‘Here comes the sun, do do do do,'” and they sang it together this morning over and over. It turns out the kid listens after all.
Brandon and I have too many episodes of The Office, Cheers, and West Wing to catch up on, too many laughs yet to laugh, not enough minutes in the day to laugh them before I leave.
And then there’s this creature:
I actually thought about asking whether I could bring her with me. I call her my therapy dog, after all. She’s necessary.
Five days and four nights is a long stretch when things are so good. And things are so good. There have been trips out of town in the past that have felt like much needed space to re-center and let loose, but this trip? It will be a blast, and it will be busy, and it will be long. And I will be very, very ready to come home.
New Words: A new essay of mine was published by Terrain.org at the beginning of April. The essay, “Foxglove, Beebalm” explores nature, memory lost and regained, and family ties.
Last month, I wrote about the need to change the question from “Why?” to “What now?” when in the midst of crisis, in a blog post for Off the Page called “Changing the Question.” My most recent post to Off the Page talked about communion and what this ritual has meant to me and continues to mean to me, called “Do Not Let Me Forget.”
What I’m reading: I read The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson a few weeks ago – I’d place this book in the category of essential reading. A breath of fresh, highly intelligent air around the topics of spirituality, faith, reason, history, science, religion, and politics that will bolster the faith of the thoughtful Christian in what sometimes feels like an endless sea of thoughtlessness in our current political and religious landscape. Before that, I read Nearly Orthodox by Angela Doll Carlson. I loved accompanying Angela along on her journey of faith searching and wandering and wrestling, especially all of the ways that life intersects the holy and how that shapes our pursuit of what matters to us. Both are available as audiobooks, which is how I am able to read pretty much all things with any speed these days.
I am listening to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, a memoir it’s embarrassing to say I haven’t read before. So good. I should finish that tomorrow on my way in to work, and for the ride up to Grand Rapids, I’ve planned to listen to Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Pastrix. She’s speaking at #FFWgr so, you know, I thought maybe it’d make sense to read her. If I finish that on the way home, I have Rising Strong by Brene Brown in the queue.
The real, paper books I’m reading are Queen of the Fall by Sonja Livingston, a collection of essays I’m reading at the pace one would while floating on a pool raft with a mixed beverage, and Entering the House of Awe by Susanna Childress, an incredible book of poems I wish I had more time to spend reading. Both books are delicious. The fact they haven’t left my currently reading list on Goodreads is no indication of their quality.
What I’m working on: My magnolia tree’s flowers got frostbit by two inches of snow the first weekend of April, so I’m writing an essay because it’s just plain wrong for this gorgeous goddess of a tree to lose all of her flowers. I’m working on essays, again, because chapters feel too conclusive and book-length seems too daunting and the heron that appeared routinely last spring and summer hasn’t returned as far as I can tell, and he was my poetry muse, so, alas, no poems.
Looking Back, here’s what was up this time last year, and the year before that, and the year before that…:
2015: April in Books and Birds
2014: April Showers
2013: Metaphors and Me
2012: Haiku for Kindergarteners
2011: It’s Out of Your Hands
2010: I wrote not a single blog post in April 2010. Pouty face.
2009: I blogged a bunch of poems and then deleted them later, so April 2009 is a lot of *poof!* BUT it does make me feel good to see that most of the poems I wrote that month ended up in a book. Maybe I should get over my poetry insecurities and start writing some again, for my own sake.
I’m looking forward to sharing about the weekend in Grand Rapids. I hope to see you there! Give me a shout – @sarah_wells on Twitter – and maybe we can overcaffeinate together!