Uncompromising honesty
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Mary Johnson

I knew that I would like Mary's book. I have met Mary, and liked her when we me (though we don't really know each other). And the subject of the book was to me insurance that I would find the story interesting. She would be telling a tale so few people can tell, especially women of my generation, who were not turning to the sisterhood in high numbers. I planned to read it when I had some time, as for the last year almost all of my reading has been research for my own book project, and I've been avoiding books that stray significantly from my subject. Mary's memoir surely does!

When An Unquenchable Thirst won an award for best work of non-fiction in New Hampshire, I picked up a copy and took a little vacation from my research. It was a short vacation. I devoured Mary's book. In it she seems to be braiding together several stories, all of which make up a twenty year period of her life. Of course it is a coming-of-age tale, she joined the sisterhood when she was still a kid and of course, the two decades that follow, include a great deal of personal growth as she determines who she was and was not. It is also a coming-of-faith tale, as she naturally explores her faith as she matures.

She tells, with uncompromising honesty, her struggles with a faith that seemed to ask more of her than she could give, while in turn, she was asking more of it, than it could give.

This book is the story of a strong woman and the surprise is that that woman is not Mother Teresa, and it the story of love, and all of the various forms it can take; Mary's love for Mother and Jesus just one of many, ultimately no less important than the love she finds for herself.

Tammi Truax considers herself an emerging writer, having spent her first twenty professional years working with children and families, specializing in early literacy. She lived and worked in New Hampshire, Maine and Germany, and taught from preschool to the college level. She also had two children of her own. It was when her husband died and she became a single mother that she made a decision to pursue a writing career so that she could work from home while raising her children.

Children’s literature was always a passion and she has three picture books ready for a publisher. Most recently she was editor of a new release of Lady Wentworth; A Poet’s Tale by Henry Longfellow (illustrated) (Bookbaby, 2013), and has released her debut novel Broken Buckets as an eBook. She is a published poet in five anthologies, most recently, The Widows’ Handbook: Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival, Edited by J. Lapidus and L. Menn, with a forward by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Kent State University Press, 2014). Her work can be found in several journals, magazines, and online. Tammi co-founded with poet Kyle Potvin The Prickly Pear Poetry Project, a non-profit healing arts writing workshop for those who have been affected by cancer. She works as a newspaper columnist and a historical museum teacher and docent. She also serves as a literacy group facilitator for the Connections program of the NH Humanities Council working with refugee and incarcerated populations.

In 2013 Tammi was one of the participating writers at AROHO’s retreat for women writers at Ghost Ranch in the hills of New Mexico. She is currently writing a historical novel about race in colonial America. She lives in a New England harbor town that has a haunting influence on her work. @TamariTee www.aintiawriter.blogspot.com  

Article originally appeared on Mary Johnson (http://maryjohnson.co/).
See website for complete article licensing information.