Grace Notes

"Ever since I was 10 years old, I’d felt myself yearning to 'go astray.' For me, that didn’t mean drinking and cavorting with boys; it meant being myself without fear."—from the book

What happens when a trained singer who grew up in a "house of vowels" finds that her voice is not her own? What happens when a woman loses the Mormon faith of her childhood and abandons the rituals she’s always known? What does a woman, already married for thirteen years by her early thirties, do when she realizes she has been "lying for years?" How does one sing, with grace, from the heart?

In the spirit of Mary Catherine Bateson’s Composing a Life and Kathleen Norris’s Cloister Walk, Heidi Hart’s luminous memoir retraces her search for an opening to her heart’s path. She finds that the religious life of her Latter-day Saint family—which includes a revered General Authority—robs her of her voice and her spirit. When she discovers Catharine, a mute, Quaker ancestor, Hart begins a vital journey—a journey blessed by her devout and devoted husband; a journey that leads her as she studies Zuni mythology, Jewish tradition, Benedictine monastic ritual, Emily Dickinson, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen—a journey that leads her to a place that feels like home: the company of Friends, the Quaker community of Salt Lake City.

With grace and lyricism, Hart shares the private, personal wisdom she has earned in her community of friends, a community that embraces silences and dissonance, a place where she can't keep from singing.

Heidi Hart is a poet, singer, and voice teacher who lives with her husband and two sons in Salt Lake City.