What the Press Says 2012

what the press says about her work

WHEN I DISCOVERED that Companion Through the Darkness was about a widow’s experience, I almost put it back on the bookstore shelf, thinking it was not pertinent to my situation. Instead I became instantly mesmerized. Stephanie Ericsson has written pages stolen from my journal—how else could she know my pain, my darkness, my dark side? Ericsson holds nothing back. She sorts "through the language of grief books that say all the same things but desert us by leaving the unsafe things unsaid." Her book covers the gamut—the obvious to the unspeakable. People who have never walked through the darkness may be shocked at her brutal selfdisclosure. Her companions will find strength for the moment and hope for the long haul.

Public high school English teacher Marcus Eure, meanwhile, teaching in the single most conservative county in New York State, labors daily “to dislocate the complacent mind, “to teach students to parse not only what they are being told but how they are being told. His course in rhetoric—enough to give a foolish man hope—exposes the discrete parts of effective writing and reading, then nudges students to redefine their notion of “correct” to mean precise, logical, nuanced, and inclusive. His unit on lying asks students to read the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter from The Sun and Stephanie Ericsson’s “The Ways We Lie,” then consider how we define lying, whether we condone it under certain circumstances, how we learn to do it. “Having to treat Santa Claus as a systemic lie,” Eure notes, “even if we can argue for its necessity, troubles a lot of them.” —DEHUMANIZED, When math and science rule the school by Mark Slouka, Harper’s Magazine, September 2009

An excerpt from her heart-wrenching journal follows a brief, candid discourse. The truth in her writings cuts deeply. Her husband died unexpectedly while she was pregnant with their only child. She admits four months after her husband’s death that she "fired God that day" and "still stubbornly thinks that God is a bumbling idiot." She addresses the frightening dark side of our thoughts. Somehow we are reassured, can even smile about it, and then move freely toward the Light again because we are no longer ashamed of our thoughts. (She does later reinstate God.) "Mourning is a time when the cruelest things are said, sometimes by our most trusted." Ericsson reveals a surprising element of grief: It shears away the masks of normal life and forces brutal honesty out of your mouth before propriety can stop you. It shoves away friends, scares away so-called friends, and re-writes your address book....Grief will make a new person out of you, if it doesn’t kill you in the making....Grief is a molting where we shed the parts of us no longer applicable to the new parts. “Light in the Darkness” by Suzanne St. Yves , Sojourners June 1994

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