by Stefanie Dykes
When Diane Tempest died at 54, bequeathing her journals to her daughter, Terry Tempest Williams approached her mother’s journals with a mix of longing and expectation. What she found was not revelation, however, but rather a bewilderment of blank pages; three shelves of journals, all empty; a second death. Stunned then, now 54 herself, Tempest Williams considers these same journals from the perspective of a woman of her mother’s age, mulling what the silence of those empty pages might mean, what secrets their blank surface might conceal. She decides to cross to the outer edge of her own life in order to search for the voice of her mother—to perhaps discover her own voice differently in the process. And in 54 quiet, incendiary, wise and wondrous meditations she does exactly that, using her mother’s mysterious legacy to explore the conjunction of family and nature, silence and voice, orthodoxy and freedom, the public and the private. Each page opens up the world in new ways, and as the words take wing so does the reader.
UTAH’S ART MAGAZINE SINCE 2001, 15 Bytes is published by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.