Saturday, July 9, 2016

Words To My Life's Song

Words To My Life's Song

Juvenile biography
I adore Ashley Bryan. Mostly I love his vibrant, evolving art
and distinctive narrative voice. I love the way he lives life his own
way, spiritually and artistically, paving the way for kindred
spirits. I so admire the way he bounces around, being curious about
everything, at an age where too many of his peers are sitting around
on their butts, getting ready for assisted living. Needless to say I
was over the moon when I discovered his autobiography in the juvenile
wing of the Orono Public Library.
Like a banana split, a s'more, or a grasshopper pie, Words To My
Life's Song is a rich triple layered treat.
The first strand consists of Bryan's life story, starting out
with his depression era childhood and his creative ways of keeping
life colorful. His parents had told him not to let anyone stop him
when doing creative, constructive work. He surely did live up to
their advice. Even World War II didn't get in the way of his drawing.
The second strand consists of a visit in photographs and words.
Bryan shares with the reader a day on his beloved Maine island. You
walk along the beach collecting treasures, observe a rainbow following
a shower, investigate his collections including his intricate stained
glass creations, and end up watching the first stars appear.
The third strand is a rich sampling of his painting and collage
Words To My Life's Song is a must acquire for public and school
libraries, artists, fans of Bryan's work, and free spirits who vibrate
to a different frequency than most folks.
On a personal note, I had the great good fortune of meeting Bryan in
person. He has the power of listening eagerly and making the people
around him sense his valuing of us. Back then and now reading the
book I feel in the presence of a kindred spirit. Unlike folks who are
check list organized (maybe dominated?) or lost in virtual space, he
lives fully and mindfully, using his God given talents to bring joy
and wonder to his life and community of readers. That's how I feel
when I garden and shelve and write and volunteer at UMaine.
A great big shout out goes out to the one and only Ashley Bryan.
jules hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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