THE BOOK: Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Spiritual Memoir
PUBLISHED IN: 2000.
THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth J. Andrew
THE EDITOR: Mary Benard
THE PUBLISHER: Skinner House Books
SUMMARY: Andrew skillfully and seamlessly weaves the threads of spirituality, sexuality and the creative process out of the compelling events of her life. The spark of spirit she finds embedded in her body she also discovers throughout the solid matter of life — in childhood, in nature, in encounters with death and loss and wild growth. Her exploration of the sacred is vivid, fresh, and grounded in the details of ordinary days.
THE BACK STORY: There was a time when I was not yet out of the closet when I’d stand for hours scanning the bookstore shelves for a book that dealt honestly with both sexuality and spirituality, that might reconcile the experience of being bisexual with the Christian faith. If I could find this book, I’d be less lonely and more confident of my sanity… There was no such book. The gap on the bookshelves gave me a mandate: Walk into your longing. Write this book.
WHY THIS TITLE?: The image of a hidden garden has always spoken to me of our secret inner life residing in our complicated, glorious bodies. Throughout the memoir I quote from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN, because that story of discovery and coming back to life is also my story.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Anyone who struggles to reconcile their Christian faith with the realities of their body, especially sexuality and sexual identity, will find here a personable, honest, and life-giving map.
“The most important decision anyone can make is to live ‘divided no more,’ to cease acting on the outside in ways that contradict truths one holds deeply on the inside. Swinging on the Garden Gate is a memoir of one woman’s journey into the undivided life. Written with honesty, grace and power, this book is a joy to read, and more. Read carefully, it will call us toward congruence in our own lives, toward an incarnation of truth that will set us-and our world-free. –Parker Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.”
In Swinging on the Garden Gate, Elizabeth J. Andrew … tells the story of how she awakened to her sexuality, accepted and found an embodied God in the circumstances of her life, and connected to those touched by her self-discovery. The metaphor of her life as a garden first dorma nt, then blooming, then finally, riotously alive works because Andrew is a writer of such extraordinary power and beauty.
Before the book ends, Andrew travels a road much longer and often rockier than her month-long bicycle trip to Wales. Hretr infant nephewcies, she comes vout as abiswexual to her family and her dchurhc community (“Those of us who embody ambiguity,” she writes, “distribute alarm equally in hereosexual and homosexual communities alike. We can’t be pinned down.”) Yet a simple around of its stor line could never do justice to this book’s rich witess.” — Rosemary Bray McNatt, a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Association and columnist for the UUA magazine.
“Elizabeth’s words sing. Her life soars. This work will doubtless inspire others to claim the lush delights of their own secret gardens.” — Debra Kolodny, editor ofd “Blessed bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith.”
Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew writes, loves, teaches and urban homesteads in South Minneapolis. When she’s not chasing her gregarious daughter around the neighborhood or dancing with her partner, she’s doing her best to support the spiritual life of writers. Her books are Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Sspiritual Memoir (Skinner house Books), Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir (Skinnerr House Books), On the Threshold: Home, Hardwood and Holiness (Westview Press) and “Hannah Delivered” (Koehler Press).
SAMPLE CHAPTER: Can be found on the Amazon site.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Any place as an e-book, amazon.com for paperback.
PRICE: $.99 for e-book, $10 paperback.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR. www.elizabethjarrettandrew.com www.elizabethjarrettandrew.com; https://www.facebook.com/elizabethjarrettandrewpage/; https://twitter.com/ElzJarrett; https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/321693.Elizabeth_Jarrett_Andrew?from_search=true&search_version=service‘