CassanoLochman (The Man with the Sand Dollar Face, 2017, etc.) offers inspiration with a lyrical bent in this collection of short essays.
Everyone needs an occasional pick-me-up, and that’s precisely what the author seeks to provide with this collection of 147 inspirational shorts, the first in a trilogy. In each piece, she aims to lift readers from a place of doubt and set them on a path to gratitude and joy. Addressing the reader as “my friend,” CassanoLochman weaves a web of poetic language meant to encourage, soothe, and celebrate, as in the piece “Toil Happily / Seriousness with Moderation”: “My friend, slow down, take a breath. Important it is to allow for lazy days of play and misspelled words.” Some pieces address particular troubles, such as “Memories Cycled / Forgiveness” or “Blanket of Light / Depths of Depression”: “Depression is the equalizer. Souls taken hostage regardless of social or ethnic status. Slithering forth hidden under the cloak of fear.” Many assert the necessity of embracing the love of God: “My friend, the angst you feel is separation from God’s love.” Despite the title, CassanoLochman’s writings take the form of prose, not verse, although they do contain a number of poetic elements, including fragmentary sentences and figurative imagery: “I witnessed the tragedy. Heartbroken was I. For you stopped midstream. Your heart raced happily with words straining to flee. But fear of those near silenced your song.” Some tend to be rather abstract and clichéd, offering advice that feels vague and untethered from everyday life. Furthermore, the author has a fondness for placing verbs at the end of clauses, giving the prose an odd, Yoda-like syntax at times. Still, many of these pieces have a calming effect, as though someone is whispering in one’s ear with a soft, even voice. Although the concept of God is central to the project, the author doesn’t delve into any particular dogma, allowing for audiences of various faith traditions.
An unevenly written but comforting book of spiritual affirmations.