From Lucy Duncan, Quakerbooks of FGC’s co-manager:
It’s rare that I read a book and want to send it to every single one of my women friends right away, but GRACE NOTES: THE WAKING OF A WOMAN’S VOICE by Utah Friend Heidi Hart is an unusual book. It is an intricately composed story of the author’s interior journey towards an authentic and resonant voice; and to Quakerism. It’s written like a musical score with chapters that have 6 repeating parts, each a little puzzle rich with Hart’s lyrical descriptions of her experience. The stories, as in any musical score, spiral back on one another, repeating and ascending toward an inspiring spiritual clarity. She reveals a great deal (just enough) about the workings and vicissitudes of her heart.
Heidi Hart is a poet and it shows in her carefully crafted prose. She explores the crags and storms of her life with startling honesty. She tells the story of her marriage and coming to terms with her husband’s depression; she tells of her difficult relationship with her mother, who was walled in by her sense of propriety, and their slow dance back to understand one another; and she tells of her experiences of Mormonism, the faith of her family, which she feels doesn’t answer her spiritual hunger. In each hard tale she finds and uncovers the soft kernel of light. She also tells the stories of great openings in her life-her growing friendship with her music partner; her discovery and deepening relationship with Salt Lake City Meeting; her experimentation and the revelations in her singing, and her re-connection to the ghost of her teenage self on a visit to the Zuni pueblo. The images she conjures are vivid and heartening, all the while Hart tells the story of her journey back to her self. “Ever since I was ten years old, I’d felt myself yearning to ‘go astray.’ For me, that didn’t mean drinking and cavorting with boys; it meant being myself without fear.”
I can’t do this book justice in this note to you. The full weight and power of it can only be experienced first hand. It’s a book I plan on reading again and again and finding my own stories in the process. This book does what all the best spiritual autobiographies do - helps you along into contemplating your own journey and opening up the themes and threads that run through it.