Saturday, January 2, 2010

BECOMING FLAME


Isabel Anders, my writer friend at Sewanee, Tennessee who collaborated with me on a mystery entitled CHANT OF DEATH (still being reviewed by a publisher), has a new book In Press. BECOMING FLAME: UNCOMMON MOTHER-DAUGHTER WISDOM will be released by Wipf and Stock Publishers in March.

BECOMING FLAME explains feminine wisdom in the Christian tradition through a series of mother-daughter dialogues which Anders defines in her introduction: “Woman’s wisdom is, of course, as particular as an individual woman herself, since only in the context of real-life dilemmas and choices can true wisdom become actualized. The proof of wisdom is in the health (in the largest sense) of the one who is nurtured by it, as any mother knows in her soul.”

Isabel has written classics in religion and spirituality, including AWAITING THE CHILD, which features a special introduction by Madeleine L’Engle, Isabel’s teacher and mentor. I had the privilege of seeing the original manuscript of BECOMING FLAME in 2008 when I read it aloud to my friend Vickie while we traveled from Sewanee, Tennessee to Louisiana. I knew then that the manuscript was a gem which belonged on the bookshelves of all women who try to impart wisdom to their daughters. The style of the book, which resembles Socratic dialogues – question and response -- is highly effective and emphasizes the distinct character of woman-to-woman discourse. Dialogues remind me of Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque’s latest volume of counterpoint poetry, CALL AND RESPONSE, a book that Bourque wrote with fellow poet Jack Bedell, featuring poems patterned after responsorial type songs in the work fields and in Catholic and Anglican churches.

Isabel’s scenarios in BECOMING FLAME emphasize the value of exchange and connection in the most personal of spaces – the home -- and in the most personal relationship of mother and daughter. Readers will recognize Isabel’s strong theological grounding in the inspirational exchanges between mother and daughter.

Isabel is a graduate of Wheaton College and has an M.A. in Religion from Mundelein College, Chicago. She received an Ohio Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing in 1989. She’s also managing editor of “Synthesis,” an international magazine of commentary on Biblical readings for the Anglican Church calendar each year. Among Isabel’s other books are FACES OF FRIENDSHIP and SOUL MOMENTS, two rich texts that illuminate her spiritual journey.

I love one of the quotes about feminine theological inquiry written by L. Maloney that Isabel included in her latest blog: “…God has her skirts tucked up and is busy sweeping and searching too…” I miss the “writerly” conversations Isabel and I shared during coffee breaks and lunches and while breakfasting after services at St. Mary’s Convent, Sewanee, where I first met her.

You can see her blog at www.IsabelAnders.com.
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