Little Joys—Books

This year, I’ve traveled through the desert on horseback with a shepherd and an alchemist. I’ve fished the lakes of Canada by canoe, attended a boy’s boarding school, learned the dance of the herons along a river, sat in the kitchen of a distressed and impoverished wife in Michigan, explored vocation, followed a friend as she sought out her origin story, listened to veterans returning from foreign wars, walked from refugee camp to refugee camp with my older sister in Rwanda, played with magical creatures within view of a cerulean sea, smuggled my Jewish friend to safety, searched the globe for a safe place for a transgendered child, sat in isolation after sordid affairs, sought the Virgin Mary statue of my youth, magnified Ohio’s natural landscape, surveyed a century of macroeconomics, hurried across the Mexican border with a heroin dealer and observed a doctor prescribe painkillers along the Ohio River, and delighted in the minutiae that makes life marvelous.

Every book is an expedition into a meticulously crafted, imagined world that was born in the mind of a writer. Books are a glimpse into other people’s souls, a portal into other people’s minds. Not only do I experience far more than my own life is able to accomplish, I get to do so with at least one other companion, the author who journeyed to that foreign land first. What surprises, what delights, what challenges they encountered as they set out to create something that did not exist before! 

Then, after many rejections and negotiations, drafts and delays, that author sent their final manuscript to print, and an editor reviewed it, and a publisher forwarded it to the printing press, and a press operator programmed the press, and the pages came, and the ink dried. The paper was folded and cut and glued and bound and boxed and shipped, and now, finally, anyone can enter into one author’s story. Anyone can enter into one author’s mind.

Above me while I write are probably 400 different books, 400 different tales, 400 different angles and perspectives, 400 different journeys that took years to live and years more to write before they became these bound volumes honoring fragments of life that come together to form a mosaic of humanity.

I love books.

#advent #littlejoys #books #reading

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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