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Folly Beach is a book-length personal essay about overcoming fears of mortality and loss through creativity. It begins when writer Steven Harvey, strumming his ukulele, watches his granddaughter dance on the boardwalk of his beach rental and has the uncanny sense that he is waving goodbye to all that matters. This valedictory feeling clings throughout the week to happy activities with his family. Having just retired from a lifetime of college teaching, he remembers his last classes and the last books he taught. All seems to be slipping away, a common feeling no doubt for many who retire. Folly Beach never loses sight of the inevitable losses that the passage of time brings, and the wistful feeling never entirely goes away, but loss doesn't have the last word. Instead the book breathes new life into the old truth that the end is not as important as the many creative ways we get there: children, poetry, cross-rhythms, kitesurfing, wave-hopping, and late night conversation as moonlit breakers lap the shore to name a few. In the face of the grim, Folly Beach holds up the human capacity to create as our sufficient joy. It is the thought of architectural follies inspired by the name of the beach that keeps the feelings of loss at bay. Harvey finds himself looking up those useless and at times poignant buildings that do little more than celebrate their own creation and devises ways for the family to build their own. An elaborate fort made of sand, flattened and swept away by the tides, is a kind of doomed folly on a small scale, but in the making of it Harvey and his family become part of a boundlessly creative universe, and the realization of that simple truth serves as a balm.