Searching for My Heart: Essays about Love

Searching for My Heart: Essays about Love

by Dawn Downey


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You’re not alone.

Hollow words for any tender soul smiling through the day while hiding a deep sense of loneliness.

For such a soul—like Dawn Downey—the friendliest encounter becomes an exercise in alienation. In her essay titled, “A Traveler’s Tale,” she describes a stroll through her neighborhood.

“A dust mop of a puppy bounded toward me, her brush tail slicing the air with ‘hello come play’ and a young woman on the other end of her leash. Straggling behind them was a toddler pushing an umbrella stroller.

I knew they lived in the blue house on the corner … in their front yard, a stand of coreopsis whose yellow starbursts surprised me every summer.

The little girl skipped along in my blind spot, peppering me with questions and her own answers. I fantasized a life-long friendship between us, taught her to read, gave her sage advice after a teenage spat with her boyfriend.

I wanted to ask the young woman’s name, but they hurried past, toward their blue house on the corner, dust mop’s yap yap yap fading ….”

Through the stories in Searching for My Heart, Downey investigates why she feels left out, returning to themes of alienation, shame, and the self-awareness that leads to love. Downey is a seeker on a quest for closeness. Every step in her search is a homecoming, where she discovers connection begins with herself. A book for anyone with a desire to belong.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996324052
Publisher: Dawn Downey
Publication date: 05/26/2018
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Dawn Downey writes to bring people together in a compassionate understanding of one another. By writing her personal challenges, she sees the workings of her mind. By listening to her readers, she learns that most minds work in a similar fashion. She is driven to share her stories by the hope that readers will lovingly accept those similarities-in themselves, in one another, and in their adversaries.

She believes a good story well told lies at the heart of such recognition. For instruction in the craft of story telling, she turns to her favorite authors. To remember how to express emotional pain, she reads the novels of Toni Morrison. Annie Dillard teaches her to describe metaphysical experience, without succumbing to spiritual jargon. She reads George R. R. Martin to master the art of run-for-your-life terror.

Downey is the author of From Dawn to Daylight: Essays, a collection of personal vignettes. She is also the author of a memoir, Stumbling Toward the Buddha: Stories about Tripping over My Principles on the Road to Transformation. She composes her essays in traditional narrative style, as well as the nonlinear lyrical form. She experiments with the format of flash nonfiction-each story less than a page long. Although her subject matter is the familiar territory of daily life, she draws inspiration from the transcendent.

Publications featuring her work include Punctuate; Persimmon Tree; Kansas City Voices; River, Blood, and Corn; Skirt! Magazine; and The Christian Science Monitor.

The solitary process of writing makes her crave face-to-face interaction, which she satisfies through lunches with readers and friends and weekend strolls with a hiking club. She and her husband live in Kansas City, where she writes books while her house grows dust bunnies.

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Searching for My Heart: Essays about Love 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Searching for My Heart: Essays about Love by Dawn Downey is a memoir relating to her experiences in life pertaining to a desire to belong. Searching for My Heart is written in a somewhat random style—there are no clear sequential narratives. Instead, the book is almost a collection of various anecdotes and incidents, written in a short chapter form. In this collection of essays per se, Dawn talks about her early life as well as adulthood, her family members, relationships, her longing, desire, and quest to belong somewhere, whether that is a home or a group of people, and her challenges and struggles with this, some reasons and self-reflections on why she feels shame, a desire to hide, self-criticism and the underlying reasons for this, her spiritual quest, and more. In a sense, this may be described as a self-help book as well as a memoir. I liked reading Searching for My Heart: Essays about Love mainly because of its theme. The desire to belong is a strong one, and can even be described as fundamental in human beings. Not feeling like a part of something or feeling like an outsider usually has reasons that are rooted in childhood neglect or issues. I liked how Dawn explores this aspect of herself, and she provides a lot of good insight into why things are the way they are. I do think that the book could do with a smoother, coherent narrative that ties all of the chapters together. But Dawn’s simple and candid style of writing makes this a good read and I would recommend it.