APRIL 12, 2018 – “An Essential Song” was written from an outpouring of gratitude for healing that had been sought over decades and found in a way never imagined possible by the author – through loss. The author yearned to do something to offer thanks as well as hope, so she wrote this metaphorical story of love, loss, reclamation, and healing.
As young person, Amy Saltz tried to reach out for help but felt invalidated. Deep shame and depression caused her to try to take her life. She suffered severe burns to her mouth and lost most of her tongue, then was hospitalized for years with a feeding tube and underwent skin grafting. No surgeries could restore her tongue, and she was told that she might never be able to talk or eat by mouth and would be institutionalized for life. Instead, she re-entered life, taught herself to talk and eat (although it’s difficult and limited), and began the search for connection. Love emerged, as did death. It was working through loss that brought her the healing she’d been longing for since youth. From brokenness to togetherness then returning to brokenness, this book takes the reader on a journey through hopelessness to wholeness.
One of the places where Amy found connection was at Temple Emanu-El. That’s also where she met illustrator, Mike Cherry. Her own experience of living with handicaps prompted her to embrace Mike’s attentive dedication to the project even though he cannot see color. The illustrations are beyond expectation and also represent triumph of the human spirit. The illustrator has painted vividly colorful renditions without the ability to see color, and the author is singing An Essential Song without a full tongue!
Join Amy and Mike at Temple Emanu-El, 393 Atlantic Avenue in Marblehead, where they will be discussing this project on Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m.
Both the paperback and Kindle editions of “An Essential Song” may be found on Amazon. Paperbacks are also available at the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore and at the Temple Emanu-El Judaica Shop.