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WAKING SPIRIT by Shirley Cheng


Prose and Poems the Spirit Sings

by Shirley Cheng

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-6151-3680-6

An inspirational miscellany from one of the braver souls on the planet.

The author of a number of works in genres ranging from memoir to short fiction to poetry, this motivational speaker is seldom at a loss for words to celebrate life and promote her indefatigable character. Here, Cheng collects a menagerie of lyrics, haiku, short personal essays and even briefer aphoristic words to live by–all on the theme of leaping over seemingly insurmountable hurdles, a subject with which this author is well-acquainted. Though plagued from infancy with near-fatal juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and then blindness as a teenager, Cheng continues to tackle on the page all life has to offer, enlisting but her two index fingers, the aid of a screen-reader program that reads back what she’s composed and her indomitable will: “Challenges are life’s vaccines: they exercise your spirit to help you withstand high winds and equip your soul with the necessary tools to battle future storms. I have received many of these vaccines; the obstacles have left numerous scars on my body in all shapes and sizes, but these marks have made me stronger and more invincible as I wait for the next high mountain to scale.” Cheng’s prose statements detail a few of her tribulations, offering philosophical insights on suffering, though never with a hint of self-pity; her poems, particularly the vivid haiku, turn more to objects of the natural world that delight her: “Melodies hover / Over forest fineries / Leaves clap in a dance.” The combination makes for an easily digestible volume of special interest to the afflicted. As the author notes in “A Moment with Shirley”: “You are the creator of your own sunshine and the bringer of your own storms.”

For those ready to be eased of their burdens, Cheng provides a lift.