Poet by nature and street photographer by perspective, author Jennifer Payne turns in her new book to the curious thematic image of a flosser to make an arresting statement about our world and about how, in so many ways, we influence its being.
The thought of marrying a cast-off dental apparatus with such discordant thoughts as the randomness of salvation, or whether spiders sing or god flosses, struck me at first as odd, incongruous at best. But after reading the opening words of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, I was caught.
Recognizing both the scope and reach of our day-to-day behaviors, Jen offers the reader a series of thoughts, writings and photos, each speaking in its own way to both the raw nature of life and the salve of laughter, of love. Aptly described as “part social commentary, part lament,” her writings seek to investigate the human condition within the constraints of politics, religion, development, technology, consumerism.
This, to the ordinary narrator, is a tall order. Yet it is one with which the author is spot on, constantly provoking, questioning. Laying out evidence of what is right, what is wrong, Jen moves from such diverse reflective musings as “Something is wrong with the world…” in Mass, Shooting, God, Guns to This Sad Dominion, with its opening line of “There are bones along the tracks,” using the image of a dead mallard wedged against the warm steel track in Darien, CT.
Yet, as fast as she causes the reader’s brow to furrow, she turns to the salve of nature, of summer whispers, of love and wry humor for release. It is, perhaps, this injection of humor that I admire most. Glimpses of the fish that wonders when he learned to fly as he soars over the pond in an osprey’s talons keep me smiling and turning the pages for more.
Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is as probing as it is purposeful—an unquestionably worthy read.
Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind
Paperback: 180 Pages
Publisher: Three Chairs Publishing (October 1, 2017)
Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is available in print here: