“Americans. They think everybody is snowflake. Only one snowflake. Only one you. But in Korea we think like snowball. Everybody snowball.” Yun-ji packed an imaginary snowball in her hands, then lifted it, palms up, as if offering Billie a present. “You see? Snowball.”
Both of them looked at Yun-ji’s hands holding nothing.
“Snowball,” Yun-ji repeated, then looked at Billie, at her unhappy mouth, at her face that looked like it had been bleached, and she pictured that soldier sitting in the tank, listening to head phones, maybe reading a Rolling Stone magazine, then the call coming in over the radio, the hurried attempts to think of an excuse, some reason why he didn’t see two fourteen-year-old girls walking down a deserted country road in South Korea.
“Never mind,” Yun-ji said and dropped her hands.
There are a lot of levels to this book. It’s a book about cultures and differences, but it’s also a book about the similarities that underlay human societies. In the end, our humanity trumps our differences and enables us to reach out to those who seem at first unreachable.
It’s about women and men, their relationships, their failure to communicate. The endless misunderstandings arising from these failed efforts — or failed lack of effort. It’s also about the assumptions we make based on appearance and how terribly wrong are the deductions we make based on what we think we see. And how we use bad information to make our choices. And finally, the pain that results from choices — even when the choices are the best available.
The story takes place in South Korea. Billie, a young American woman, is in the country to teach English to grade school children. She has come there with her friend, lover and partner and shortly realizes she is pregnant. It’s as wrong a time in her life to have a baby as there possibly could be and probably the worst possible place she could be — far away from her home and isolated by distance and culture. The story is told in the first person by Billie as well as two other first person narrators, both south Korean. Yun-ji is a young woman approximately the same age as Billie who also becomes pregnant and a man named Moon who is divorced and suffering through a painful separation from his son.
All the characters deal with problems springing from damaged relationships and miscommunication, misunderstanding, problems with parenting, pregnancy and abortion. Despite cultural differences, in the end the pain is very personal — and remarkable similar — for each. There are no simple, happy answers.
It’s well-written and held my interest from start to finish. Whether or not the book will resonate for you may depend on your age and stage in life’s journey. For me, it was a trip back in time to the bad old days before Roe Vs. Wade made abortion a viable choice. Of course, one of the issues made very clear in the book is that the legality of abortion doesn’t make it less of a gut-wrenching, life-altering decision. Anyone who thinks abortion is the easy way out should read this. Whatever else it is, it’s not easy.
It’s a good book. Strongly written, presenting highly controversial issues in a deeply human context.
The Korean Word for Butterfly is available in paper back and Kindle.
His 20′s seemed like an absolutely magical time. Bobby began them with frequent social activities with his high school and college friends. There was softball, touch football and sometimes bowling. There were concerts and plays. There were house parties and gatherings at local sports bars. Every weekend was an adventure and Bobby was a willing participant in all of it. If nothing was happening on a given weekend, Bobby would organize something. He would have people over for a beer tasting event and purchase several different types for people to taste and judge. He would gather up a group to watch an important sports event at a neighborhood bar. He would organize a group to go to an Oktoberfest or other festival. Bobby would not let a weekend go by without something happening. In this regard, Bobby was quite dependable.
As he reached the end of his twenties Bobby found it a little more difficult to keep the parties going. Some friends married, started families and were not free every weekend for a Bobby social event. Others moved away and were no longer nearby to jump into neighborhood activities. And some were just tired of the Bobby social calendar which began to rely more on drinking in bars than anything else. Bobby, however, did not slow down and always found someone to participate in his weekend outings, but the numbers had dwindled and Bobby could no longer command the attention of his many friends.
As he marched into his 30′s the lack of friends was barely noticed by Bobby. He continued his assault on neighborhood bars. The bartenders of his favorite places knew his name and usually had his beer poured by the time he sat down. Regular patrons of these bars knew Bobby by name as well. This made Bobby feel at home whenever he went out to the bars. It was nice to have friends here, he frequently thought. It did not dawn on him that all these people were just drinking acquaintances and not really friends, until he reached his middle 30′s.
By that time he found all the partying was wearing him down. He was no longer in the fine athletic shape he enjoyed when he was just twenty-one. He did not participate in sports or work out as he once did. Bobby was handsome and had been quite desirable to many of the young women and perhaps even to some of the guys when he was 30 pounds lighter. He had paid no mind to that, however, as the social calendar was the most important part of Bobby’s week. There is no telling why Bobby did not, or could not, develop real friendships. He was totally clueless as to the reason all the friends he had 15 years earlier drifted away from him. Perhaps he had drifted away from them.
Headaches and hangovers became the frequent companions to the rapidly approaching middle age Bobby. It was starting to take him all week to recover from one weekend so he could start up again on the next weekend. He had taken notice of that and started to give serious thought to getting into better shape. “I really need to start working out again,” was the thought that began filling his week days. As a result he joined a health club and actually made a few week day stops there, but his run down feeling generally prevented him from becoming a frequent patron of the club he passed every weekday on his way home from work.
When he was not too hung over, Bobby resumed going to church on Sundays. It was a practice he abandoned in his early 20′s, since it just did not fit his social calendar. Now he was asking for guidance. He desired to change his lifestyle and felt he needed God’s help to do that. So he prayed often but with little result. On several Sundays a month he now begged and pleaded with God to help him break free of the cycle of drinking and partying and replace it with something meaningful. Bobby was smart enough to realize that the weekend bar hopping would never just end without something else to do, and Bobby could not imagine what that might be.
Finally Bobby decided to give up the weekend outings when the New Year came for as long as he possibly could, with or without God’s help. He figured a New Year’s resolution to stop the weekend madness until at least St. Patrick’s Day would be a great idea. With a little perseverance, he might give up drinking for lent too. Imagine no weekend outings until past Easter. Actually, Bobby could not imagine that but he thought he might give it a try. While this might seem a reasonable resolution, it terrified Bobby. He thought he might go stir-crazy during the party break.
Since Bobby had planned that New Year’s Eve was the last night out for a while, he was disappointed to learn there would be a lot of snow. He ultimately decided not to go out in a storm and he watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve instead. It brought back memories of old Dick Clark counting down the old year. “There are too many drunks on the road anyway. I can go out anytime.” So the new year started on a new note.
When the next weekend came, arctic cold arrived to dissuade Bobby from going anywhere but home on the weekend. As a mater of fact, January had settled into a pattern of snowfalls and subzero temperatures. Each time Bobby was tempted to go out, he feared losing his nice parking spot on the snowy street or being stuck in sub-zero weather. By the third weekend, he wanted to hit the local sports bar for the play off games, but the deep snow and bitter cold forced Bobby to reconsider such a plan. Now all Bobby was seeing was his apartment, his workplace and the snowy roads in between. After many weeks of this unusual weather pattern, Bobby began to wonder why God was torturing people with the snow and cold. Surely something was wrong that the awful weather did not just go on for a few days or even a few weeks, because now it had gone on for over a month.
On a February Sunday, Bobby felt pretty good and decided to return to church. Weather had forced him away from church as well as the bars. He hardly got out at all for weeks, and then just to the store for a little shopping. Bobby felt he should point out to the Lord that his weather was keeping Bobby away from church. Although he did not really expect God to answer, he thought he would just ask him what is up with that. So he started down the right aisle of the big old church and went half way up toward the front where he picked out a seat he had often chosen. “Well?” Bobby said to God once he sat down. He stared at the large stained glass window behind the altar for several minutes before Bobby realized that God had indeed answered his prayers.
What is the best way to relate something? When do you communicate well? What is it that gets your point across? When does your voice stand out in a sea of voices? How can you be heard? I like to think that I can write about anything, but the truth is some stories and essays are more widely received than others. Why is that? When you tell a story or try to make a point, when are you at your most effective?
Certainly those with debating skills know how to line up evidence, organize their material, give weight and structure to their arguments and drive their points home. For some that comes rather naturally. They can readily see how point one leads to point two and on to point three. They can see what supports each point along the way. They understand when something needs extra support. If they have a particularly effective quote, they know whether to play that card up front, or hold it back for a rebuttal in such a way that it is not “extra topical” but right on point.
For others this skill is acquired through study of argumentation as well as study of opponents. If I say “this,” what is the likely response? Will it be more effective to address this audience in a bold, out-spoken manner, or a soft and persuasive one? Does my voice sound sincere? Combative? Rude? Respectful? When am I at my best? When are people listening?
What if it is not an argument at all, but a simple point that is to be made? When are you at your most interesting? How do you capture the imagination of your listeners or readers? There is not much point to advancing an argument if no one is listening, or reading, as the case may be. What do you need at the open to get people’s attention? Whether you are speaking to an audience or writing your point for Word Press, a good opening line is essential. What is it though? How do you find it?
Perhaps you wish to tell a short story. Certainly there is a great oral tradition of story telling. The earliest written stories were likely those that were passed along from generation to generation verbally. If you sat down to write Beowulf out for a newly literate segment of the population, how would you begin? Is the same opening effective on paper as it was sitting in the mead hall with your friends, having a glass of whatever (really, who knows what the heck that was), listening to a tale and wondering if that was Grendel or the Rolling Stones making noise outside? If you were to make Beowulf into a movie…no don’t. It’s been done, and so have many stories. How can you make yours stand out?
By now, you have noticed that I have thrown out a lot of questions. I suppose you might think that this is the part where I start answering them. OK, wait for it … Sorry, I don’t have the answers. I really don’t. What’s effective for you, may not be effective for me and what is effective for me …
You get the idea. Different people are successful in different ways. What works for one is not necessarily what works for another. That’s because we are unique. St. Paul would have told you in his unique letter writing style that each has his own gift. It is up to us to find that gift, that voice, if you will, and use it to be your most effective voice.
In looking back over recent weeks on Sunday Night Blog, where I have written for a lot more than just Sunday Nights, I wanted to find the most read and most commented upon pieces. Of course, it is true that everything on Serendipity gets a lot of attention while only some things resonate on the other space. What voice is heard there? If we go by numbers than the recent “Return of the Polar Vortex” caught the most interest. I can certainly imagine that may be because of our interest in the harsh weather. Perhaps those doing searches were expecting to find a serious piece of scientific news, rather than a piece of satire that was more political and humorous than anything scientific, unless you are counting science fiction. I do find that these little satiric stories with a serious point or two, work well in that space I call my blog. Is that then the best way for me to communicate with the reader?
Whether you are writing a blog or telling a story at a family gathering, you will probably find your voice and it will be good. It may take a long time, years in fact, but don’t stop telling your story. Some day you may be the best storyteller at Aunt Martha’s Christmas party and every gathering will bring friends and relatives to your side to hear your voice. Or you may some day be the best writer in the blogosphere, and I will be reading you faithfully. By the way, if you have answers to any of the questions above, please leave them in the comments below. I really want to know them myself.
The creative and marvelous Cee Neuner has graced me with not one, but three awards, none of which I’ve gotten before.
First, I want to thank Cee at Cee’s Photography She is not only a wonderfully creative photographer, she’s a truly supportive friend. She puts a lot of effort into supporting the work of others. Always willing to share the credit and help us find our own fans and followers. She creates prompts that are fun, low stress and aim at getting lots of people involved. It’s been a real joy getting to know her.
I’ve been trying to avoid awards. I have so many. It seems there must be other people who need attention and the “lift” an award brings … but saying no makes me feel like an ingrate so I’m doing this … a mega thank you, long overdue.
But after this, no more, okay? It’s an embarrassment of riches and there are so many young, relatively new blogs out there where some attention and an award would make them feel that they are finally appreciated and noticed!
The three awards from Cee are THE FIELD OF FLOWERS AWARD, THE INNER PEACE AWARD, and THE LIGHTHOUSE AWARD. Each suggests I name a bunch of other blogs to honor, but everyone I connect with is full up with awards. So you are welcome to choose to come and accept an award, responding on whatever level makes you feel comfortable.
I more than understand if you just don’t want to deal with it. Our lives do get busy and full. It can seem less of an award and more an exercise in playing creative “tag you’re it”! Let’s not make it stressful!
About Me, First Go Round
I’m a writer, first and foremost since it was my profession for my entire working life, now my joyous avocation too
A photographer second– but not far behind. I’ve been a serious amateur photographer since I got my first camera the year I turned 22. I think I’m finally getting good enough to feel I’ve made progress
I have a ton of medical problems. I am going in for some big deal heart surgery at the beginning of March. I will be in hospital for about a week and get (oh joy) to spend my birthday (again, third time) in hospital — but hopefully, not the ICU. I don’t think I’m going to die. I do firmly believe I’m going to really hate this — but who likes major surgery, right?
With a teensy bit of luck, will be back annoying everyone in short order.
I started blogging for no particular reason but, to paraphrase something everyone says, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” I’m conscientiously unstructured, unfocused and free-wheeling.
I never want blogging to feel like work. I want to be able to surprise myself and everyone else with variety, wild mood swings, and abrupt changes of subject. I’m happy that my two co writers – Rich Paschall of Sunday Night Blog and my kick-ass husband, Garry Armstrong — are as free-wheeling as am I. They will be carrying on here to the best of their ability while I’m down for the count.
Regardless — if you want predictability, to know what’s coming? There are lots of blogs that fill specific niches. This is not one of them.
More Honors (I am truly humbled!)
From the fabulous Alienorajt, I am honored with the Dragon Loyalty Award. I think I may have really earned this one. I am nothing if not faithful to other bloggers whose sites I admire and who I feel spread “The Good Stuff” around.
There are so many nasty, miserable sods out there … then … there’s Alienora! Thank you my good friend!
Alienora is a writer. She writes bawdy, honest posts. Sometimes fiction, often funny, almost always deeply touching. A woman of integrity, with great heart, please visit her.
Stuff About Me – You really want MORE?
I’m supposed to come up with 7 more things. Okay, if you insist:
- Born and raised in New York city.
- Married first time at 18. Bore my son at 22.
- My grandchild was born in 1996 and when she isn’t making trouble, she’s the light of my life. Okay, even when she is making trouble.
- Writer since forever.
- Photographer since a few years shy of forever.
- Collect old hard plastic and antique dolls as well as ancient Chinese pottery.
- I’m a hard-core reader. Take away everything else, but leave my books. And a few tunes.
Four More? Yes, more!
From my good and loyal friend, Sharla Shults at The Catnip of Life and Awakenings, comes this collection of awards. Like me, Sharla accepts and offers, but doesn’t feel obliged to make anyone do a lot of work. Getting an award is supposed to be fun! From Sharla, it always is!
Sharla writes about life, love, this country and those we honor. She writes poetry, short fiction, and just …. rather like me … about stuff she find interesting and fun. Music, holidays and the great people who are part of our history.
Visit her. She’ll charm and delight you
Versatile Blogger that’s me!
Almost forgot and I do apologize. I’ve been collecting all these awards in a file, always planning to do something about them and never quite getting around to it. But here’s the final award — one I’ve gotten previously a couple of times but which seems more appropriate than most.
This award comes from Great Blue Herons, a beautiful photo blog with pictures that make me drool and wonder how come I never get the wild things to stay put and pose for me! You will not, I promise, regret visiting her sight. It’s an inspiration!
I’m (Sort of) (In A Way) Passing Out Batons!
Everyone to whom I would give awards has already given me awards and mostly, I’ve returned the favor. It has begun to feel a lot like a chain letter. So many of you have honored me, it’s truly humbling. I give to all of you a most heartfelt thank you. ALL of you, the people I follow, those about whom I comment … I hear your voices loud and clear. You have supported me, been there for me for two years and you know who you are.
This is my gift to you, originally from Sharla. It’s the award that says it all, the one you can proudly display without worrying about paying anything forward or back. Come and get it! If you are reading this, you’ve earned it!!
Come take an award. Pick one you don’t have. Take them all
YOU ALL DESERVE THE HONOR and I’m proud to know you!
Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words - Contemplation
I am not by nature contemplative. All my ideas become pictures or stories … even this one. Yet the other day, I got to contemplating how I express love. Why so many people don’t understand my way of showing it. Why my granddaughter has a zillion dolls and too many cameras, my husband has a ton of stuff he doesn’t need and my best friend has half an antique pottery collection (I have the other half).
Blame it on my upbringing, the odd traditions of my mother’s family. Basically, we say “I love you” by giving each other stuff. All kinds of stuff. Art, furniture, gadgets, clothing, books, whatnots. We were never a touchy, feely, huggy family nor verbally effusive. We rarely said “I love you.” I’ve had to learn to say the words. I’d still rather buy you a present.
Over the course of life with my family, I got clothing (used and new), pottery (ugly and uglier), jewelry (not nearly enough), carpets, paintings (“No, really, it’s okay … you keep it … please!”) and whatever else came to hand. If someone had a sudden unplanned attack of the warm fuzzies, they might give you the nearest small object — ashtray, silver cigarette holder (from my mother, who never smoked), old souvenirs from Coney Island, empty cigar boxes (Uncle Abe). No wrappings or bows. Spontaneity precluded amenities. It was my family’s version of a hug.
One time, my dearest favorite-est aunt gave me the coat off her back while crossing 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It was mid-winter in New York and definitely not a good time to be coat-less, but I had said I liked it and she needed to express her love right then and there.
“Please, Aunt Kate,” I cried, hoping the people swirling around us didn’t call the cops, likely thinking I was mugging my elderly aunt. “I am wearing a coat. You gave me this coat years ago. I wear it all the time. I love it.”
Which only made it worse. “That old thing,” she cried. “You need a new coat.”
“When we get home,” I promised. “You can give me the coat at home.” And she did. And I wore it. For many years until it fell apart. I knew I was wearing her love and it kept me very warm.
When I lived in Jerusalem, I bought a box of odds and ends from a little shop on Bethlehem Road. They had been cleaning out their back room. They said “We don’t know what’s in here, but you can have it for five dollars.”
I took the box home and began to sort through it. I found tiny carved ivory elephants, amber beads, buttons from dress shirts, old agora and a green, crusted thing I was going to throw out until a friend said “Hey, that’s an old coin.”
I stopped. Looked at it. “How can you tell?” I asked.
“That’s what old coins look like,” she said. “Soak it in lemon juice for a few days and see what happens.”
I soaked it for two weeks and it still looked like a piece of green crusty metal. Finally, using a toothbrush and copper cleaner, I extracted an ancient bronze coin, circa 77, the second year of the First Jewish War Against the Romans. The date was on the coin in old Hebrew script.
I had the coin appraised at the Rockefeller Museum. It was the real deal, but not worth a fortune – maybe a couple of hundred dollars, if I could find a buyer. So I turned it into pendant and wore it on a ribbon. When my mother came to visit, she admired it. Of course I gave it to her. When my mother died, my father gave it back to me, but it disappeared. I suppose it will turn up someday in another box of odds and ends and become someone else’s treasure.
You had to be careful in my family. If you admired something you were going to own it. There was a hideous pottery owl that looked like its eyes were bleeding. Chartreuse with scarlet eye sockets. I was caught staring –and had to say something. It was a masterpiece of sculpting, but the overall effect was gruesome. So I said: “It’s … really interesting.” It was, in a ghastly way.
“It’s yours!” cried my mother. I detected a note of triumph. I still harbor a suspicion she had gotten it from some other family member and was just waiting for the chance to move it along. Tag, I was it.
The ultimate example of family love en passant were the dishes. It was my fault. I started it. I bought them from a barn on a back road in Connecticut in the early 1970s. I was poking around a room full of pottery and turned one over. It was Spode. The markings looked to be late 19th century. Eighty-six pieces, including a chipped sugar bowl and eight demitasse cups minus saucers … and a set of saucers without cups. In pretty good condition, all for $30.
They were old and delicate, so I never used them fearing they’d get broken. They stayed in the closet and gathered dust. Years passed.
One day, my mother admired them. Faster than you can say “Here, they’re yours,” I had those dishes packed and in her car. She loved them, but they were old and, it turned out, valuable. So she put them away and never used them. One day, my Aunt Kate admired them, so Mom gave them to her. Kate then gave my mother her set of bone china for 12 which she didn’t need any more, the days of big dinner parties being long over.
My mother didn’t need such a large set either, so she gave Aunt Kate’s set of 12 to my brother, who gave my mother his china for six. My mother gave my brother’s dishes to me while Aunt Kate traded my Spode for Aunt Pearl’s old china. Aunt Pearl packed the Spode away in a safe place, because they were old and valuable and she didn’t want to break them.
Twenty years later, Garry and I went to visit Aunt Pearl. She had the Spode, carefully wrapped and boxed. She gave it back to me and we took it home. She had saved them all those years. Of course, I never used them. I eventually gave them to Owen and Sandy who had the sense to sell them. They knew they would never use them and neither would anyone else.
Love can be wrapped in paper and carefully protected. There is love. There are dishes. And there are memories of my family, carefully stored, ready to be given away as a sign of love.
Obviously I didn’t write this.I would be embarrassed to say this much nice stuff about me, but I have to admit I’m kind of delighted. In the midst of the craziness of my life, all of a sudden I’m getting wonderful reviews of the book I’d pretty much given up on. It never went anywhere. I’m not even sure I know how to find my publication website … or have any idea what my password is. Or anything.
If nothing else, it’s humbling that there can be such a huge disparity between my perception of the book I wrote and other people’s view of it. That I might not be the best judge of my work goes without saying … but to be 180 degrees out of alignment forces me to wonder what else I’m completely wrong about.
In any case, I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting the review here because I have no idea how one reblogs a review that isn’t on a blog. And this is on the Canadian Amazon site, making it even more inaccessible. The title of the book is also a live link to the source, so please visit that site too. The author deserves your support.
I’m beyond grateful for this review. I’m touched and encouraged. This is a difficult time for me, for obvious reasons. Having something so nice happen right now makes me feel (sorry about the pun) heartened.
5.0 out of 5 stars
The fascinating construction of a life Jan. 30 2014
By Jiibo Dyallo
Format: Kindle Edition | Amazon Verified Purchase
Marilyn Armstrong is a widely read blogger on WordPress, and that’s how I became aware of her. I thought, ‘anyone who writes this well must have written at least one book.’ The 12-foot Teepee, in fact, is the name of the book and the basis of the blog’s URL, teepee12 dot com.
Tempus fugit, especially for daily bloggers. Marilyn tells me, in correspondence, that she’s no longer quite the same person as the one who wrote the book. As a former resident of Jerusalem, though, she says she once lived near a place where archaeologists found “a Canaanite temple, on top of which (pillar on pillar) stood a Greek temple. On top of which (pillar on pillar) was a Roman temple. On top of which was – you guessed it, pillar on pillar – a synagogue.” No doubt today’s Marilyn stands pillar on pillar on the one who wrote this book, and I think that that keeps the book current. A life contains its own archaeology, and what is an autobiography (as I assume this is, in essence) if not a tell?
Protagonist ‘Maggie,’ as a child, was sexually abused by her father. That revelation is how the book begins. I worked for an LGBT newspaper in the 1980s and kept current on feminist and lesbian literature during the period when the magnitude of familial incest was first being disclosed to the world. I’ve read many dozens of accounts – brief, elongated, literary, plain, agonized, detached – by people who endured this experience. Also, I’ve read numerous complex bestsellers embedding the theme, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and Anne-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees. I noticed right away that Marilyn was somehow overcoming the saturation factor and writing highly readable text. Perhaps it was her style of writing – plainspoken enough to be nodded at by Hemingway, yet subtly full of craft. Her approach was fresh, and witty at appropriate moments. Perhaps there was some engaging mystery, too, in the enigma of her father as an inconspicuously, but almost incomprehensibly, evil man. I’m not sure if I would even have credited Marilyn with restraining herself from exaggeration if I hadn’t read M. Scott Peck’s monograph on such folk, People of the Lie. I knew that such individuals really do exist. In any case, Marilyn’s way of telling the tale with judicious truth but without a show of anguish, and without the jargon that is now often used in such accounts, made the difficult events completely readable.
The book then progressed through subtly interwoven anecdotes to the unveiling of related tales: the construction of a knock-off Sioux-style teepee as a project for self-healing and for spending quality time with a lively granddaughter; the concurrent battle with spinal problems and surgeons of greater and lesser competence; and the challenges of new-found poverty for Massachusetts people caught up in the tech bust of the 1990s. This all sounds daunting, not to mention rather random and terribly personal, but Marilyn makes it as vivid and coherent a piece of writing as you will find anywhere. She wins your heart. The feeling that you want things to go well for her (I don’t know her personally at all apart from a couple of emails back and forth among fellow bloggers) turns out to be a waterslide of suspense that runs you right through the book from beginning to end. She also integrates a spiritual journey from secular Judaism into Christianity that is neither dwelt upon nor glossed over – it has its time and place in the story – and it also arouses interest – regardless, I should think, of the personal persuasion of the reader. The bottom line, though, is that Marilyn is a writer who can captivate you with a tale of how her son pieced together PVC pipe sections to make wobbly teepee poles. I can’t imagine what topic she couldn’t make interesting.
I think that this book deserves more attention than it’s had. Marilyn is not sure that it does – she says in her email that she has, to some extent, returned to religious skepticism in recent years. Life has gone on. The tell has mounded up further. Where a church once stood in her psyche, a big community teepee for comparative religion and degrees of religious belief now stands, pole on pillar. Its architecture is newer than the book.
If you have a sense of discovery, though, you still need to know how it got there, and this book is the only dig that’s been done.