The Salt of the Universe: Praise, Songs, and Improvisations (Hardcover)

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A book of mischief and improvisation that answers fundamentalism with rage, music, and delight in this earth.

Where does freedom live?
Why does it sometimes feel so good to be told what to do?
What on heaven and earth is an apicklypse?

The Salt of the Universe raises these and other questions arising from Amy Leach’s experience, including her time playing fiddle and her childhood in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its many prohibitions (coffee, dancing) and its emphasis on the apocalypse. The book argues against argument, but most of all against fundamentalisms of all kinds and their limiting effect on our humanity.

After listening to thousands of sermons, Leach has written her own unceremonious sermon on the dangers of dogma. “To borrow the words of an old hymn: This is my story, this is my song."

In the company of four-year-old mystics and six-year-old geologists and bears and butterflies and willow trees, after a lifetime of playing the piano in church and dance halls, Leach praises not obedience but freedom, not secondhand but firsthand thoughts, not homogeneity but heterogeneity. She champions Emily Dickinson and Jesus over interfering prophets, questions over answers, unpredictability over predictability, the soul over the institution, Miles Davis over miles of marching.

Leach reminds us, amid a delight of linguistic cartwheels, philosophical shenanigans, and love songs to the earth, that we must run toward mischief, music, love, the wonders of nature, and the wild joys of experience and improvisation.

About the Author

Amy Leach is the author of The Everybody Ensemble and Things That Are. She grew up in Texas and earned her MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in The Best American Essays, The Best American Science and Nature Writing, and numerous other publications, including Granta, A Public Space, Orion, Tin House, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, and a Pushcart Prize. Leach lives in Montana.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374607920
ISBN-10: 0374607923
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: August 6th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English