Kellie Wells (née Ingeborg Traumschlaf) was born by flickering lamplight on an inclement night in 1872, in the village of Röcken bei Lützen. Her father, a struggling cobbler with thin-fingered, prematurely arthritic hands that were knobby and gnarled as the feet of a dead chicken, made and repaired only left shoes and always longed for a life on the German stage. A loquacious sleeper, Theodor Traumschlaf could be heard throughout the town orating as he slept, and his nightly somniloquys moved resident dreamers nearly to abjection. Wells's mother, Elisabetta Traumschlaf, had perfect pitch and twittered in her sleep like a zebra finch, and thus the Theatre of Dreaming was born. She died at the age of 27 giving birth to Wells's older sister, Ludmilla (who would later sleep professionally). Wells, a congenital guttersnipe, lived a life of withering privation, cadging food from stern and sleepless neighbors, until she was discovered selling winter dreams of questionable provenance on the streets of Vladivostok, discovered by Herr Dr. Sigmund Freud himself, the very sight of whom produced in her aphonia, which he cured with a swift kick and a teaspoon of honey. The good doctor took Wells back with him on a train, where they both slept dead and dreamless as they traveled through tunnels, and at home he gave her a bed whose ticking was laced with sweet valerian and caused her to sneeze in her sleep. She later confided that she'd spent each night of her adolescence dreaming of him, dreamt he was lying naked, save for a decorative beard, in a field of timothy, which he informed her meant she would soon lose her teeth, and she did. She died standing up, toothless and singing, in 1984, in Kingdom Come, Kansas, the capital of misspent sleep.
Kellie Wells is the author of a collection of short fiction, Compression Scars, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award, and a novel, Skin, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in the Flyover Fiction Series, edited by Ron Hansen. Her novel Fat Girl, Terrestial is forthcoming from FC2 in September of 2012. Her work has appeared in various literary journals, including The Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, The Fairy Tale Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has been awarded a Rona Jaffe Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writer's Award in fiction. She is a congenital Midwesterner and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where she teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Alabama.