Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hidden Grace - Garland Roper

Author Garland Roper presents a story worthy of the “big screen” in his novel “Hidden Grace”.

Hidden Grace tells the story of an extraordinary psychotherapy patient, Grace Albright. On the surface, Grace’s problems are not much different than others who suffer from depression. She was subjected to several abusive situations as a child being moved from foster home to foster home and she’s struggled from the influence of this abuse for the majority of her life. What makes Grace so unique? Grace is 60 years old.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with a 60 year-old seeking psychological assistance, however, her doctor seems to think so. In her doctor’s opinion, “Old people are hopeless…If they haven’t worked out their problems by the time they reach 50 or so, what are the chances?” Unfortunately, Grace is not alone in her need for psychological assistance.

Carl Wilder, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, the constant analyzer, has been gripped by feelings of mediocrity and failure. Though he celebrates a wonderful life filled with an understanding wife, a supporting son and professional success, Dr. Wilder feels that he is no longer effective in his practice and is terrified through each session he conducts, expecting one of his patients exposing him as a fraud. As his sessions with Grace progress, however, Dr. Wilder realizes that his mental condition is not much better than hers.

Hidden Grace paints a beautiful picture of the human spirit; how it deals with human suffering and the detailed process of how it overcomes it. Written by twenty-year, clinical psychologist Garland Roper, Hidden Grace places a human face upon the doctors that make their living helping patients remove their emotional burdens. It also exposes the fragile line psychologists walk as they balance objectivity and responsibility for those patients that seem unreachable.
Hidden Grace is an informative and entertaining journey into the human soul. It is a delicate package of humor, drama, mystery and redemption. I recommend it to everyone and especially to anyone who has sought answers as they’ve battled with human affliction.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Songs in Search of a Voice - Marcus Harris

“Langston Hughes goes street,” was my feeling as I read “Songs in Search of a Voice” by Marcus Harris.

In “Songs”, Harris takes philosophical and prophetic thoughts and eloquently transforms them into a modern, hip-hop revolution. The poems selected for this innovative public missive hold feelings of love, honor, life and introspection. Harris’ words allow the reader to envision the full potential of life while at the same time, calling a spade a spade. That’s right, Harris pulls no punches regarding the mixed up world and the mixed up thoughts that plague it, however, it is far from judgmental.

Harris does not project his words from a pulpit. Though some of the poems plead to the broken masses, Marcus Harris does not talk about or talk at these situations. Instead, he speaks through these subjects allowing the reader a glimpse as to what the people see. Harris shows his capability to lift up even those individuals that tend to let themselves down.

Two of my favorites from the book are "Woman to Player" and "Player to Woman". These two works describes the feelings of a woman trying to hold a relationship with a player and, of course, the player’s attempt to “maintain” while dealing with the attitude of the woman. After reading these two poems, there is a realization that both have their eyes on the prize yet they refuse to work together to obtain it.

Harris goes on to present "Two Little Piggies" which details the story of two boys committing the same crime yet receiving completely different “justice” because they possess a different color skin. Controversial, but so real and revolutionary—and Harris doesn’t stop there. He introduces magnificent art through Haiku, presenting "Chainless Gangs", "New School Hip-Hop" and "NCAA Football". They take just a moment to soak in, but once they do—they will shake you to the core.

I highly recommend this insightful, prophetic journey of emotion through poetry and prose. As founder and president of The Lady Oya Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports domestic violence survivors and their families, Marcus Harris speaks not only for himself but also for many souls that long for love, justice and equality.