In this varied collection of stories, poems and artwork, painter/poet Akua Fayette seeks to bring her personal philosophy of self-healing to a wider audience.
Although she sees in hindsight the many ways she was guided in life to make positive choices and rescued from negative crises, Fayette didn’t begin her outreach until she was in midlife, when she began to sense that she had the power to help others. By that time, she was an established painter. But there was more that this determined African American woman felt she could do. She became a newspaper columnist, community activist and radio personality, sharing messages of tough love, positive thinking, and honest self-examination.
Fayette demonstrates an engaging ability to think far outside the cultural/racial/social “box” that might have defined her own “broken spirit” (the book’s title was “foretold” by one of her spiritual guides). Time and again in this autobiographical narrative, Fayette proves her penchant for self-healing in her willingness to do the unconventional, try the unexpected, offering, for example, her “broom theory”—overcoming financial difficulties by doing simple, manual labor—something she has practiced more than once.
Interspersed throughout Fayette’s book are her inspirational poems and letters to those who need healing or who have offered her solace. Black-and-white photos of her strongly folkloric paintings are also included in this mix. From her commentary, it is clear that after beginning this book project, she continued to add words about bits and snippets that she gathered through encounters with friends, family, spiritual mentors, or ongoing events in which God or goodness played a role. This sense of constant collecting unfortunately gives the narrative a scattered feel that distracts from the underlying spiritual messages she clearly wishes to share.
The Healing of a Broken Spirit has its limitations, but Fayette uses gentle persuasion, inspirational language and personal examples to help others and, in so doing, may increase her reading and listening audience.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.