Sandell Morse’s work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Ploughshares, the New England Review, Fourth Genre and Ascent. She has won second place in the 2015 Tiferet nonfiction contest and has been named a finalist in the Orison Books Anthology 2015, nonfiction contest. “Hiding” is a notable essay of 2013, listed in Best American Essays, 2013. Essays have been nominated for of the Net and for a Pushcart Prize. Current work is in the anthology, A Pink Suitcase, 22 Tales of Women’s Travel.
What piece/ pieces are you working on now?
My current work is a memoir about the last four years of my life, in which I, a woman of a certain age with a patchy relationship to Judaism, travel to France, discover a village’s hidden Jewish history and am propelled on a journey that leads me back to my own faith. Finally, I will become visibly Jewish. Two essays dealing with this material are available on line in ASCENT http://www.readthebestwriting.com/hiding-sandell-morse/ and http://www.readthebestwriting.com/houses-sandell-morse/
Where is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place to write is the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia. Away from the dailyness of life, I fall down into my work in the deepest way possible. The VCCA is a rural retreat steeped in quiet. After working all day, I delight in the camaraderie of other writers, artists and composers at dinner. At home, I work in my study, my two standard poodles lying on beds behind my desk.
Who are you currently reading (and/or) which author has inspired your writing the most?
Right now, I’m reading—I should say rereading—The Same Sea by Amos Oz, an Israeli writer. The Same Sea is a novel, I suppose, because it’s fiction and a narrative, but it is also a prose poem—or perhaps, it is composed of many prose poems. The different characters speak for themselves, as does author/narrator who breaks into the text.
I love the way Oz breaks boundaries. This book bears the weight of history and of profound personal loss. Ultimately what counts here is character and Oz’s insights into the people he creates illuminates us all.