ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award, Finalist, Autobiography
“I started this meditation on the first day of Lent. I hope to keep going every day until Easter. Each day I go fishing in the water of this internal voice. This week the water’s still, this angled pen a blue sail; the hook is lazy in the estuary, the water the color of lapis. So what if I don’t catch a fish? I said that I would fish; that’s all I promised. I bait the hook with each day’s discipline. I have no guarantees that there is anything at all to catch in these particular waters, that something beneath the surface won’t grab my pen and pull me under.” —from Iconography
When Susan Neville enrolls in an icon-painting class in the cellar of an Indianapolis monastery, she begins a journey into a fascinating hidden world where saints are fabricated of mineral and wood, yolk and blood, earth and time. The process is tedious, and she begins to make mistakes, to become impatient; she doesn’t feel ready for the challenge. To prepare herself, Neville makes a vow to write during the 40 days of Lent. What emerges is a journal, a meditation, a series of confessions that we are invited to listen to as we follow Neville’s sometimes painful attempts to reveal the truth and discover the mystery of her existence. In the layering of colors and moods, her writing is the spiritual equivalent of an icon. As she observes the world around her and applies the paint of language to her observations, she realizes that spirit and matter are not separate—that now and then moments of meaning emerge from daily life, and the stillness and majesty of the universe shine through.