“In Hebrew,” Brenda Miller writes in these lyrical, lush personal essays, “the word for God means I am what I am becoming.” In the linked collection, Who You Will Become, Miller takes us on a journey from the safety of a 1960s Jewish childhood through the hazards of a young womanhood populated by shamans and rough men, and down the lonely road home to wisdom.
Confronting a drunken lover on a boat far from shore, hitchhiking the Bright Angel trail through the Grand Canyon alone, subsisting on dried fruit in the forests of Northern California—Miller becomes an Everywoman in these deeply meditative stories of danger, independence, and deliverance.
“Anything that spins has, paradoxically, at its core, something quite still,” writes Brenda Miller in Who You Will Become, an elegant, unflinching meditation on desire and belonging. Essay by essay, section by mosaic section, in radiant, sensual prose, Miller gazes deep into a troubled past to reveal moments grace within buttermilk donuts, spring water, and the shedding bark of a eucalyptus. Who You Will Become is a portrait of hard-won wisdom, a woman at peace with how far she has come and what it has taken to get there – a master essayist at the top of her game.”
—Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, author of Presentimiento: A Life In Dreams
Miller’s most compressed and artfully woven assemblage yet: three parts, twenty pieces, one inspired and oracular whole…..”No straight line between here and there, between past and future; instead, many small rifts open between where you stand now and where you are trying to go.” In other words, this is how you make a life, and this is how you write a lyric essay, both at once. Miller not only traces who she has become; she teaches by lyric example how to write “your way out, [how to] find the familiar stones, the ones that can lead you home.”
-Julie Marie Wade, author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures and Small Fires: Essays
“But appetites, I think, are boundless and wholly unruinable,” Brenda Miller writes in her collection of short essays, Who You Will Become. Each slice of life and contemplation, from early childhood, adolescence, college years and now is full of her unsatiable appetite for observation, honesty, and the body’s knowledge. Imagining serving Death sliced apples to prolong her stay on Earth or remembering clanging her fork against her plate to end her parents’ silence as they watch Armstrong land on the moon, she weaves past and present so seamlessly you will believe yourself, like Brenda, fully alive.
-Sheila Bender, founder of Writing It Real, author of Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, Collected Poems 1980 – 2013 and A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief