What a wonderful collection! The temptation for those who are on pilgrimage is to become a tourist, collecting junk and making photos. The tourist goes places but is not changed—a pilgrim can stay at home and be transformed. The pilgrim is traveling towards a goal “whose builder and maker is God.” Susan Cushman shares her pilgrimage with us, the insights of a journey that reveal the goal she seeks, which is the true journey of us all, as soon as we leave off being tourists.—Father Stephen Freeman, author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, popular speaker, blogger, and podcaster
With crisp prose and vivid descriptions, Susan Cushman’s PILGRIM INTERRUPTED delves deeply and unflinchingly into her dogged pursuit of holiness despite being hindered by her own need for healing and redemption. Readers of Madeleine L’Engle’s non-fiction such as A Circle of Quiet will love this work.—Jolina Petersheim, bestselling author of How the Light Gets In
Many pilgrims along the way will find in Susan Cushman a very helpful guide for this journey that never ends.—Scott Cairns, author of Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems, Short Trip to the Edge: A Pilgrimage to Prayer, and Anaphora
In this powerful collection, Susan Cushman pulls back the curtain on her most intimate thoughts as she grapples with what it means to be human. From spirituality to trauma, from southern culture to racism, from identity to self-worth, from love to loss. She offers readers an opportunity to see the world through her lens, delivering an authentic, soul-shaping body of work.—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials
Pilgrim Interrupted reminds me in so many ways of my own messy desire to reach a more holy version of myself, only to discover that it is in my brokenness I find communion with others and begin again on the road to healing. At the core of Susan’s being is a longing for the Divine. As such, the lens of her being is always ultimately looking through the eyes of hope, faith, and grace along the ever-changing path of her existence. Without pretense or false promises she invites the reader to join her on the path toward what lies at the end of this world and continues into the next.—River Jordan, The Ancient Way: Discoveries on the Path of Celtic Christianity
Susan’s writing is infused with honesty, humor and grace—as well as with struggle, brokenness and doubt. Her contemplations are bound to the movement and everyday moments of her own life, from the writing of shimmering icons and sublimity of Orthodox chant to reading Flannery O’Connor and listening to Iris Dement. A bold and captivating collection.—Sonja Livingston, author of The Virgin of Prince Street
Having followed Susan Cushman’s writing for over a decade, in short stories, novels, essays, and memoir, I am delighted at the way this collection brings together her varied talents and gives us as readers the sense of a life deeply lived, in all its brokenness and beauty. Readers of Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Mary Karr will find solace here, as Cushman encourages us to open ourselves to understanding our own stories, and to live fully into our own becoming.—Jennifer Horne, editor of All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality and Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality, author of the poetry collections Bottle Tree, Little Wanderer, and Borrowed Light and the short story collection Tell the World You’re a Wildflower. Jennifer was the Poet Laureate of Alabama from 2017-2021.
A brave book written from the heart and with raw honesty. In Pilgrim Interrupted every reader will find parts of themselves as they follow the author’s transition through the spiritual, intellectual, and physical stages of life.—Theodore Pitsios, author of The Bellmaker’s House, Searching for Ithaka, and Walking in the Light
The reader becomes the “uninterrupted pilgrim” in Cushman’s unflinching yet embracing search. She guilelessly shares a lifetime’s pains many would balk at confronting and, ultimately, shows us that brokenness is blessing, the beginning of the pilgrim’s path to healing.— Suzanne Smith Henley, author of Sauce for the Goose and Bead by Bead
Infused with religious history and spiritual wonder, Susan’s personal pilgrimage is informative and engaging. With plain-spoken candor, she reaches and seeks, but doesn’t get stuck in the searching. Her peace is made by the art that comes from the questioning. Confession. Consecration. Communion. Creation. Continuance. An act of living art.—Wendy Reed, Emmy award writer and producer for The University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio for 20 years, author and editor of numerous books including An Accidental Memoir—How I Killed Someone and Other Stories
Susan Cushman gathers her gifted writing over the years into one exquisitely wrapped package that is now in the shape of a memoir. This collection is a must for writers and all previously privileged to read any of Susan’s essays or hear her speak.—The Rev. Joanna J. Seibert M.D., Episcopal deacon, retired physician, and fellow writer
Memoirists often describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Susan Cushman is unapologetically “religious.” Her daily life and her creative life are firmly rooted in and set aflame by the rich and sensory spiritual practices of her Orthodox Christian faith. Susan is also a born-and-bred Southern woman. It is the confluence of these two seemingly disparate perspectives that creates a unique collection. Who knew that icons, nail polish, incense, and football games could reside in the psyche of one pilgrim.—Sybil MacBeth is the author of Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God.
“We all, like Cushman, are pilgrims. And like her, our paths get interrupted by the detours of our wounds, struggles, and unforeseen griefs. Pilgrim Interrupted is a travelogue from the more muddled leg of the journey. Cushman’s warm and thoughtful collection of essays is a balm to all the disoriented souls out there who are afraid they missed the last turn on the road of faith, writing, infertility, trauma, or a host of other challenges and griefs. Susan has been there, and her essays evoke the path of hope she encountered from within the great interruptions of her life.”—Nicole M. Roccas, PhD, certified trauma-informed coach and author of several books including Time and Despondency: Regaining the Present in Faith and Life