Cover image for Grace notes : the waking of a woman's voice
Grace notes : the waking of a woman's voice
Hart, Heidi, 1971-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
230 unnumbered pages ; 23 cm
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Subject Term:
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Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
BX8695.H35 A3 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Ever since I was 10 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."--from the book

What happens when a trained singer who grew up in a "house of vowels" finds that her voice is not her own? What happens when a woman loses the Mormon faith of her childhood and abandons the rituals she's always known? What does a woman, already married for thirteen years by her early thirties, do when she realizes she has been "lying for years?" How does one sing, with grace, from the heart?

In the spirit of Mary Catherine Bateson's Composing a Life and Kathleen Norris's Cloister Walk , Heidi Hart's luminous memoir retraces her search for an opening to her heart's path. She finds that the religious life of her Latter-day Saint family--which includes a revered General Authority--robs her of her voice and her spirit. When she discovers Catharine, a mute, Quaker ancestor, Hart begins a vital journey--a journey blessed by her devout and devoted husb∧ a journey that leads her as she studies Zuni mythology, Jewish tradition, Benedictine monastic ritual, Emily Dickinson, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen--a journey that leads her to a place that feels like home: the company of Friends, the Quaker community of Salt Lake City.

With grace and lyricism, Hart shares the private, personal wisdom she has earned in her community of friends, a community that embraces silences and dissonance, a place where she can't keep from singing.


Author Notes

Heidi Hart is a poet, singer, and voice teacher who lives with her husband and two sons in Salt Lake City.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Hart's lyrical memoir shifts seamlessly back and forth through time as she traces her often-tortuous path toward spiritual grace. Raised and married in the Mormon faith, she found herself becoming more and more a reflection of her own mother, a woman of many gifts and talents but no individual voice. As she became increasingly disillusioned with the direction of her own marriage and with the male-dominated and male-oriented Church of the Latter-day Saints, she found comfort and solace in the diary of an early-nineteenth-century kinswoman rendered virtually mute by a debilitating disease. Drawing strength from her cross-century communion with Catharine Seeley, Hart was able to honestly evaluate her own past and find the strength and inspiration to leave the church of her childhood and become a member of the community of Quakers. Thoughtful readers will be captivated. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Spiritual memoirs pour from the presses in unwarranted numbers: every third person, it seems, having superficially absorbed the idea that everyone may not want to hear his or her life story, seems convinced that everyone will want to hear the story of their romance with the Supreme Being. This memoir stands above the rest by reason of its unexpected virtues-its winding path and rejection of easy conclusion. Hart, a singer and poet in Salt Lake City, moves gradually away from her upbringing in the Church of the Latter-day Saints, inspired by the discovery of the existence of a mute Quaker ancestor, through encounters with Zuni mythology, Judaism, monasticism, and poetry, to something like a resting place with the Society of Friends. Hart's journey is complex and defies easy summary, but her writing has candor and charm and should engage the hearts and minds of many readers. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.