In her debut essay collection, Sarah K. Lenz explores the question: How do you live knowing you're going to die? Lenz touches on moments when death brushed near, including a house fire, a car accident, and a police shooting, but in each case, the violent and tragic are interwoven with curiosity and insight.
With clarity and grace, Lenz takes on a wide-range of topics. From the discovery of a post-mortem photograph of her great-uncles who were killed by lightning to the quotidian pancake-making days with her preschooler son while the COVID-19 pandemic raged, Lenz confronts the complexities of being sandwiched between aging parents and a young child, while also navigating her own thyroid cancer diagnosis. In the midst of this, Lenz finds herself comforting her father, who's fixated with where to spread his ashes in "Driving the Section Line, " and imagining all the ways her baby can die when suffering postpartum depression in "So Many Ways." Though the subjects are serious, often life or death matters, Lenz tells these stories with warmth and wisdom. The narrative is buoyed by breathtaking honesty-and a bit of the grotesque-like a misguided attempt to cook a whole hog's head from her beloved, late grandmother's recipe.
This book is a moving, heartfelt meditation on how to face mortality, how to grieve, but most importantly, how to awaken to the ephemeral beauty of the world. This book is a powerful reminder that what will outlast us is those we love.
About the Author
Sarah K. Lenz grew up in central Nebraska. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Colorado Review, New Letters, Triquarterly, The Fourth River, Pen Dust Radio and elsewhere. Her work has been named Notable in Best American Essays three times. She writes the newsletter Spirit: Notes for the Creative Contemplative. Sarah is an Assistant Professor of English at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas where she lives with her husband, son, and twelve typewriters. Find her online at sarahklenz.com.