Author: Lois Kelly
From reading her bio, Lois Kelly, author of Naked Hearted must be a busy woman. She describes herself as a positive rebel at work, speaker, and strategic change consultant who has found joy and meaning in helping corporate teams create ways to achieve more than they thought possible. Nonetheless, Kelly still finds time to write a series of personal essays reflecting her thoughts, challenges, meditations, contradictions and confusions that depict a vivid portrait of a writer who is not afraid to expose her uncertainties and vulnerabilities without resorting to poppycock.
The thirty-one short essays are consistently well-crafted with a great deal of insight and honesty. Kelly focuses on five principal themes, men, women, work, illness, and places that range in tone from humor, loss, adversity, anger, compassion to love. And all are bound together by their intimate quality, keen clarity, warm feelings as well as revealing intriguing slices of Kelly's life.
Included are essays about the author's struggles growing up in a very poor environment where her father enjoyed drinking at the expense of his family. In one of her writings, Milk Money Kelly recounts how Thursday was not a good day as it was the day before her father's payday when money was scarce. On one particular Thursday there was not much left for the school milk-money that would be needed for her and her siblings to purchase their weekly cartons of milk. It was the principal of the school who showed a great deal of kindness and compassion that came to Kelly's rescue. After receiving a note from Kelly's mother that they didn't have the milk-money, the principal assured her that she came from a good family and to tell her mother not to worry.
In another piece, Kelly shows off her wacky sense of humor in Retail Orgasms where she and her sisters go shopping at a fancy store which ends up with her purchasing an expensive coat. The excited and pleased shopkeeper took great pains in wrapping the coat, and according to Kelly's sister, she thought the shopkeeper “was having a retail orgasm as she fondled the coat with heavy breathing.”
What really is unearthed in several of these essays is Kelly's strength and endurance as well as her ability to let her voice be heard even if it means thinking out -of- the- box. This was manifested when her superiors tried to stifle her creativity as depicted in The Two-Boss Performance Review. Another attribute of her voice is its concision that hits with great force as exemplified in No Mud, No Lutus where she tells people who are pursuing new ideas that there will be “a whole lot of uncomfortable mucking about in the mud. The most effective change makers are both idea people and skilled mud sloggers.”
Buoyed by a self-awareness and down-to-earth attitude, the collection never lags with its abundance of inspirational musings and reflections that at times will keep you groaning with recognition, or at least feel that you have likewise been there and done that.