Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish
single page image

My Work


Seven Springs: A Memoir

“A wise, candid, and emotionally powerful memoir.” Kirkus Reviews

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 me on a twenty-year journey, reflected in seven springs, that reunited me with my past, my self and what I now understand as faith.

“Lyrically and poetically written, Seven Springs captures the author’s journey of healing as she unpacks the unprocessed trauma lingering in her body and soul from a childhood car accident. It is a meditation on life and death, expression of emotions, carrying family wounds and finding strength and courage in friendships, nature and the Jewish spiritual tradition. So many of these themes resonate with me personally though I know that Barish’s story will carry meaning for readers from all backgrounds and experiences.” Gabrielle Kaplan Mayer

“I was very touched by the story itself, the beautiful writing and the spiritual resonance that was present.” — Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, author of God Loves the Stranger

“In an era of growing appreciation for the long-term ramifications of trauma, Ellen Blum Barish’s memoir offers a tender exploration of the shock and loss around a childhood car accident.  Barish traces the ripples of this seemingly simple trauma into relationships, physical health, emotional wellbeing, and her Jewish faith, making of them a heartfelt, engaging story.  I recommend it.”  —Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, author of Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art & Practice of Spiritual Memoir

“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?

“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 

“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 WinterSlowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door, The Blessings of Motherprayer: Sacred Whispers of Mothering, and Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving

“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

“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

My memoir, Seven Springs (Shanti Arts) is available through Shanti Arts Publishing. Order it here!


Read the reviews of Seven Springs in Kirkus, Brevity, Jewish Chicago, Boulder Jewish News and Rick Bailey’s blog. Watch the animated conversation with  Miriam Bauer sponsored by the North Castle Public Library or the Facebook Live Author Talk with Jill Howe here.


"Tandem Thoughts"

A tandem bicycle ride in the Netherlands becomes a metaphor for long-term relationships. “Tandem Thoughts” is one of 25 essays anthologized in Chicago Storytellers: From Stage to Page (Chicago Story Press). 

Views from the Home Office Window: On Motherhood, Family and Life

Essays on raising daughters and balancing womanhood with motherhood.

Available on Amazon

Read reviews of the book





  • Ragdale (Lake Forest, IL)
  • North Castle Public Library (Armonk, NY)
  • Bookends & Beginnings (Evanston, IL)
  • Evanston Literary Festival (Evanston, IL)
  • Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series (Northbrook, IL)
  • Story Studio Chicago instructor reading (Chicago, IL)
  • Women and Children First (Chicago, IL)
  • Barnes & Noble (Skokie, IL)
  • The Book Cellar (Chicago, IL)
  • The Book Stall (Winnetka, IL)
  • Blue Marble Bookstore (Philadelphia, PA)

Free Guides

Don’t miss my free guides for writing stories from your life. I’ve included e-guides and webinars to inspire you and help you develop your own stories. Click the images below to download each guide.


Thread is an independent online literary publication that I founded and edit featuring personal essays that explore the human experience.

Stitch is Thread’s literary cousin that features a collection of personal essays of 100 words or less.

Former Editorial Positions

  • McCormick Tribune Foundation Cantigny print magazine (Editor)
  • Medill School of Journalism Alumni magazine and online content (Editor)
  • American Bar Association Law Practice Management (Associate Editor)
  • Health Newsletters Direct (now StayWell Corporation) custom health newsletters (Associate Editor)
  • Adams Street PublishingToledo Area Parent News & Ann Arbor Parent Press (Editor)
  • General Learning Corporation Current Health & Your Health Reports (Associate Editor)
  • Rand McNally & Company Mobil Travel Guides (Assistant Editor)
  • Premier Hospitals AllianceTechnology Scan print newsletter (Editor)
  • Medill School of Journalism Magazine Graduate Program Promising Child print magazine (Editor)
  • Smithsonian Magazine (Editorial Consultant)

More of Ellen's Work

Fresh Meat
November 10, 2019

This Much is True
April 9, 2019

Homewood Stories
December 18, 2018

You’re Being Ridiculous
March 6, 2018

Do Not Submit
December 2017, August 2018

Is This a Thing?
December 14, 2015, December 12, 2016

Story Club North
August 6, 2015

Stories from the House of Truth
June 18, 2015

Essay Fiesta
January 18, 2014

Story Sessions
July 26, 2013, October 18, 2015, October 7, 2018

  • Ann Arbor Parent Press
  • American Medical News
  • Better World Report
  • Cantigny Magazine
  • Crain’s Chicago Business
  • Chicago Jewish News
  • Current Health 1
  • Current Health 2
  • Chicago Parent
  • Cleveland Parent
  • Chicago Women in Publishing
  • Earnshaws
  • Harvard Medical Letter
  • Illinois Foodservice News
  • Illinois Meeting & Events
  • Kirkus Discoveries
  • Law Practice Management
  • Los Angeles Times Syndicate
  • Tribune Media Services
  • Mobil Travel Guides
  • Medill Magazine
  • Medical Economics
  • Newsweek
  • North Shore MagazineNorthwestern
  • Self
  • Special Reports
  • Science Challenge
  • The Chicago Tribune Family Section
  • The Chicago Tribune Womanews
  • The Chicago Tribune Special Sections
  • The Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine
  • The Chicago Tribune Good Health Section
  • The Northwestern Daily
  • Toledo Area Parent News
  • Writing!
  • Your Health & Fitness
  • Your Health & Safety
  • Your Health Report
  • Your Health & Safety Report
  • Allstate
  • Advocate Health Care
  • American Medical Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Association of Retired Persons
  • American Hospital Association
  • Association of University Technology Managers
  • Bounty Sampling Corporation
  • Council for Jewish Elderly
  • DuPont Corporation
  • Evanston Hospital
  • General Learning Corporation
  • Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Johns Hopkins Project RESTORE
  • McDonalds’ Corporation
  • McCormick Tribune Foundation
  • National Association of Women’s Health Professionals
  • National Textbook Corporation
  • Premier Hospitals Alliance
  • Rand McNally
  • St. Francis Hospital
  • Staywell Corporation
  • Whittle Communications

“As a reviewer of books for the Chicago Tribune, and a longtime writer myself, I know powerful writing when I see it and feel it, and 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 three books

Join My Mailing List

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.