As Quiet as It’s Kept—Shhh...
by Jacquelyn Dortch

"Healing does not imply a cure; it is the ability to recover,
The unshakable faith that leads to a path where we discover."

Dortch offers a collection of short stories and poems revealing major events that have shaped both her personal and career life. Written in her fiftieth year, she looks back with honesty, documenting life’s momentous occurrences, beginnings, endings, and the valleys while exploring their effect on her own psyche. Through her stories, the author chronicles her life as an African-American girl and college student, young career woman in the non-profit realm, an unwed mother, and a grieving daughter and granddaughter. She tackles such subjects as racism, family legacy, and divorce. Feelings of fear, anger, sorrow, joy, and uncertainty permeate both prose and poetry as Dortch opens her life to her readers, tackles her battles, and conquers her trials by “... moving ahead with full speed and force.”

Though most of the stories and poems in this collection center on loss, the author never loses the thread of hope that runs through the major poems. There is a sincerity in Dortch’s voice, a strength of character that projects a purpose. She invites the reader into her triumphs and struggles, sharing both joy and pain. Yet even in the darkest of her poems, there remains a thread of hope woven into her words, a space opened up for what comes next.

"Who will fix me . . . I hang on treading – …. my head just barely crowning,
Looking like I have a destination and all the while I’m drowning. The fixer . . .”

Even as the question is asked, there is an answer, a small morsel of hope for the drowning woman. Dortch’s collection makes for a compelling memoir told with heart and candor.

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