California management consultant and minister Susan Daris Pohl writes her first book, a spiritual memoir.
Pohl grew up in a Southern Baptist community in Michigan where she witnessed tent revivals, parishioners talking in tongues and the ecstatic Brother Dew grabbing a deadly snake from a box. Revealing her story in flashforwards and flashbacks, Pohl has traveled an unusual road that has taken her from the corporate offices of Apple, where she worked in the early days of the company, to the Upaya Zen Center, where she meditated with Zen teacher Joan Hallifax, and then on to divinity studies and her work as a chaplain intern at FCI Dublin, a federal women’s prison. Throughout her life’s wanderings, she has been plagued by metaphysical questions: “Why was I here? Is there really an entity that we refer to as God? How much of religion is a myth…?" One of the most emotionally involving parts of this autobiography shows Pohl’s encounter with a magnetic but doomed adolescent girl, a cancer patient to whom she became a surrogate mother. At the crucial juncture when the author first meets the magical yet ill-fated Marisa, a critical text error takes away from the moment: “I saw a young girl who stuck her head around the door…and so began one of the s of my life.” Glitches aside, Pohl’s engaging memoir makes the reader grapple with age-old questions. The author’s clear, caring writing about her experiences with female convicts reveals their humanity. The sinuous, irritating former heroin addict Eileen continually reminded Pohl of her cruel and insane mother, and she evoked in the author the sense of inadequacy that had once cast a shadow across the author’s life. Pohl overcame her aversion, though, and saw how Eileen and her mother both ultimately elicited profound compassion. Faith, courage, kindness, service and love—these are the five stones that stand for the values upon which Pohl has based her life.
A spiritual journey told by a thoughtful, questioning author who has experienced worldly success.
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)