The unexpected takes many forms. A single phone call can change the shape of an entire day — or a lifetime. A trip to the grocery store can yield blessing or bane, and this truth about life compels me to keep my ears open to the stories that are unfolding all around me like an invisible news feed: unspoken needs, latent yearnings, veiled expectations all presenting as everyday life. In What She Was Saying, Marjorie Maddox uses the tip of her pen to capture a series of vignettes that articulate life with all its spoken and unspoken panorama of the unexpected:
Sky Divers, beware in a world where the unforeseen shows up “in the guise of wind “and dumps a parachute’s invisible freight!
UPS Guys, know this: The multiperspectivalism of a neighborhood renders you, The Man in Brown, as many things to many people.
People of faith: Understand that the Bible’s spare narrative may not intend to convey vulnerability, but it is there between the lines, waiting to be discerned so that the disappointment of Peter’s wife or the desperation of Lot’s daughters can be mined in Flannery-esque prose that does not blink at unpleasant truth.
As I turned the pages of What She Was Saying and listened to the voices of a returning soldier, a teenage beauty queen, and a ninety-three year old with twenty birthday cakes in her freezer, I was reminded with poignancy that much of what I “write off” among my fellow travelers on this narrow path is really their way of seeking community.
As I traced themes of parenting and childlessness, baseball and racial reconciliation, aging and the nature of beauty, I was surprised to observe that controversial issues are hardly ever linear, but instead come stacked like Matryoshka dolls, one inside the other, with the unexpected finding that the biggest argument may inhabit the smallest space.
What She Was Saying (and a polar fleece blanket) were the perfect companions for an afternoon of babysitting a napping grandson with a nasty cold — and also for an infusion of fresh vocabulary and exposure to a writing style that opens my mind to new possibilities. Reading between the lines, I’m finding myself even more grateful for nearly twenty-seven years with a patient man who has always been willing to hear What [this woman] Was Saying — even in the days when there was no time for writing it down.
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
More from Marjorie:
If you enjoy poetry, you’ll love True, False, None of the Above. Based on her reading, her teaching, and her embrace of a life of faith, Marjorie’s poetry examines important themes with clarity and an open-mindedness that spurs the heart on to more pondering. You can read my review (written from a beach chair) here.
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