A debut memoir combining essays and poetry that recounts a writer’s spiritual evolution and the remarkable visions that inspired it.
“I was certain that something otherworldly was occurring,” Jean writes of the moment that she saw small circles appear on her hands and felt the pain of nails coming through her palms. For her, this experience marked a turning point in her “faith journey,” as it was the first time, she says, that she experienced something supernatural—but it wouldn’t be the last. In poems and autobiographical essays, Jean connects various biblical quotations to major events of her life, including the death of her mother. After moving to Philadelphia for a new job sometime in the 1980s, Jean met her husband, Charles, and gave birth to three sons, but her life was still far from perfect; she began experiencing severe medical problems that she initially believed were due to multiple sclerosis, but proved difficult for doctors to diagnose. After the family’s move to Charlotte, North Carolina, Jean’s concentration on her Christian faith intensified, and she says that she began to see Jesus and speak with him, and even began to receive visions of heaven on Earth. These incidents eventually led to her son taking her to a hospital, but afterward, her mind continued to churn: “I sat at home talking to Jesus in my head, seeing him in my dreams, and understanding Scripture as if Heaven was flowing right through the Bible and talking to me.” In this memoir, Jean’s shifts between prose and poetry produce some startling results. At times, her writing is clear and straightforward, as in a traditional autobiography, but then suddenly she describes strange occurrences, as when she tells of feeling a “swarm of locusts blanket my body and start to eat away at my flesh.” She also presents poems in a variety of different formats, with stanzas that break into pyramidlike shapes and columns, sometimes accompanied by soft drawings. The result is often intriguing, but at times hard to follow. Overall, the earnest descriptions of supernatural events feel untethered to reality, which may make it difficult for readers to connect to them.
A poetic memoir filled with unexpected but ultimately confusing recollections of spiritual encounters.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)