Sisters Singing is at once contemplative and celebrational with over one hundred women joining together to shed light on the inner workings of the female soul. The title of the book truly speaks to me. I had the immense fortune of listening to Susan Lincoln, musician and founder of the Hilde Girls women's spirit song circles, speak and sing at the 2008 Stories from the Heart conference in Austin. By the time Susan joined the dozens of attendees, we had all been together, writing and sharing and learning, for an entire weekend. We weren't strangers, but many of us weren't yet bonded either. Susan taught the group several chants phrase by phrase. Soon, dozens of timid, uncertain voices merged into one strong group-voice that coursed through each of us. It was as if, all of one mind, we stopped focusing on our individual voices and how we sounded, and sang for the pleasure of hearing the group voice rise and fall in harmony. The power of that moment, of when the collective truly joined, was transformational. The music joined us at a primal level and crumbled barriers.
So it is with Sisters Singing. Imagine yourself sitting in front of a large fire, the flames dancing and leaping in front of you. First you are alone, seeking warmth and comfort from the fire in front of you. Then you become aware of a gathering of women that surrounds you. Wise and compassionate, these women begin to weave their stories, truths learned deep in their souls, and the sharing of the truths is so honest and genuine and free, you can't help but bask in it, soaking it all in. Some truths are spoken, some are not, but all are shared. This is the power of women sharing their life stories. This is the power of listening to those stories.
The collection is edited with such care and love that I can't find a single fault with the anthology. Photos and artwork enhance the topic of the adjoining written word. Each piece builds upon the previous, urging the reader to turn the page and stumble upon the next treasure. Since I was given the book as a reviewer, I was determined to read it through from front to back. Instead, I was compelled to flip the pages until something caught my eye. I'd read one poem and eagerly scan until I found another story or illustration. And every single time I was even more excited to encounter the next. My review copy has traveled, literally, thousands of miles with me now. The corners are banged up, the spine is scratched, and there are so many flags and markers you can barely see the edge of the page. But that's a bit like our own life stories, isn't it? Traveled, worn down, memorized, but still waiting to be opened for the truth that lies within.
Carolyn Brigit Flynn writes about spirit and healing. Carolyn has appeared in journals and anthologies nationwide. She is the editor of The New Story: Creation Myths for Our Times. Read more about her on her web site.
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