Seven Springs: A Memoir (Paperback) by Ellen Blum Barish
A conversation between two former childhood friends at a high school reunion evokes a traumatic memory and sets a woman on a transformational journey.
One afternoon in the spring of 1972, a Mack truck sped through a residential intersection and collided with a station wagon carrying a young girl and her friend on a ride home from school. The accident shattered the girls’ realities. A blanket of silence fell over them until they reconnected at their twentieth high school reunion. That conversation set Ellen Blum Barish on a twenty-year journey, reflected in seven springs, that reunited her to her past, her self, and what she now understands as faith.
Ellen Blum Barish’s award winning essays have appeared in a variety of literary publications, aired on Chicago Public Radio, and told on many storytelling stages. She is author of the essay collection Views from the Home Office Window: On Motherhood, Family and Life (Adams Street Publishing) and teaches writing at Northwestern University.
Praise for SEVEN SPRINGS: A MEMOIR by Ellen Blum Barish
“In her new memoir, Seven Springs, Ellen Blum Barish explores big questions about what makes a life. She does so in two compelling narrative threads: one examining a car accident that occurred when she was a girl, and the aftermath of that experience; the other delving into the underpinnings of her faith life and how that faith informs her relationships and her place in the world. When she becomes a mother, she engages the tradition. The fruit of that study informs this memoir. ‘Judaism,’ Barish observes, ‘is by its very nature an ongoing conversation.’ That conversation, which she joins and shares, enriches this absorbing story.”
—Rick Bailey, author of Get Thee to a Bakery, The Enjoy Agenda, Italian Chocolate, and American English
“In lyrical prose and with the sensibility of a reporter on a mission, Ellen Blum Barish begins an excavation of her life that leads her back, again and again, to the car accident she survived as a child. . . . This memoir is an exploration of family, friendship and faith, and of what happens when we find our voices after too many years of being silenced. This is a beautiful book, both familiar and surprising, and Ellen Blum Barish is a beautiful writer. Seven Springs is a gift that will invite any reader to see his or her own past with a fresh perspective.”
—Kate Hopper, author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers
“A thoughtful meditation on the nature of trauma, memory, and Judaism. In Seven Springs, Ellen Blum Barish illustrates how shared experiences stamp each life in a unique way. This inspiring work calls upon readers to be introspective and assemble the puzzle pieces of their own lives.”
—Fern Schumer Chapman, author of Brothers, Sisters, Strangers, Motherland and Is It Night or Day?
“Over the years I’ve witnessed the deepening and layers of texture in [Ellen Blum Barish’s] writing that . . . comes only through critical attention, through unflinchingly facing hard truths, and not resting until understanding comes, until missing pieces are unearthed, painstakingly fitted together. The truths that Ellen finds through her own brave journey are truths that resonate for all of us. . . . She roots her reader in scenes that are rendered so exquisitely we become conjoined in her discovery. . . . Ellen’s writing holds the power to open hearts and minds, and leave us all with deeper understandings of ourselves and our place in this world.”
—Barbara Mahany, author of The Stillness of Winter, Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door, The Blessings of Motherprayer: Sacred Whispers of Mothering, and Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving
“Ellen Blum Barish brings real life to life with a strong sense of narrative, the unswerving observation of a reporter, and an abiding commitment to meanings that run deep. She hones in on day-to-day experiences and won’t let us go until we see the connectedness she’s found, the underlying causes we might have missed, the richness that is in us and in our relationships.”
—Lee Reilly, author of Teaching Maggie and Women Living Single
“Excavating memory, Ellen Blum Barish circles back through personal history to make sense of silence—that is imposed upon us, and how we can finally trust ourselves to speak. An intricate investigation of the past, exploring how we might reach back in time to change our present”.
—Allison K. Williams, author of Seven Drafts: Self- Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book