As I write, we have entered the fourth week of this new and surreal existence. My inbox and social media feeds are overflowing with advice on coping during the pandemic — tips for staying healthy, disinfecting properly, managing anxiety, and maximizing gratitude. Oddly enough, what I have found most comforting is a psychologist’s reminder of the stages of grief — and the way that we each will cycle (and re-cycle) through these stages. Whether we are grieving for actual lives lost, or the loss of life as we know it, our grief is real and raw.

I am struck by how many conversations focus on the importance of journaling, writing through this experience, creating in any form as a source of sustenance and healing.

For me, opening the Merry Barn Writers’ Retreat was a personal passion. I hoped to design a space where others could experience the power of words and self-expression that have nourished me throughout my life. What I have come to learn is that my passion is not personal. It is universal. The ability to express ourselves — through words, art, music, or movement — is as essential to our humanity as the air we breathe. As we continue to create, may we carve out a new, more just and compassionate world.

– Stephanie Noyes McSherry

Stephanie Noyes McSherry is the founder of Merry Barn’s Writers’ Retreat, which is currently lending books at no cost to any children in Maine’s Mid-Coast. “We’ll curate a small collection based on kids’ wishes, use gloves and wipes to sanitize, and leave them for you on the porch by the side entrance,” says Stephanie. “Return when you want a new supply.” Send a request from the website’s contact page or email Stephanie directly at Read on!