Monday, January 6, 2014

Artis Henderson's "Unremarried Widow"

Artis Henderson is an award-winning journalist and essayist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Florida Weekly, and the online literary journal Common Ties. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Henderson applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Unremarried Widow: A Memoir, and reported the following:
Well, this broke my heart a little. I've heard authors say that they never go back and re-read their books, and it's true that I haven't read Unremarried Widow from start to finish since I sent in the final manuscript. Page 99 is one of my favorite stories from Miles, something I haven't thought about in a long time.

While he was in Iraq, Miles called to tell me this funny story about how he went for a jog around base one morning. About halfway through the run, he saw another soldier jogging in front of him. The guy looked back at Miles and got this scared look and started running faster. Up ahead, a group of soldiers had come out to watch. Miles said it looked like a scene out of Chariots of Fire. He put on a burst of speed and blasted past the other runner right as they reached the barracks. Everyone high-fived him and patted him on the back. Then he turned around to shake hands with the other guy and saw the real reason everyone came out—a sandstorm was moving in.

“It was like nothing I've ever seen,” Miles said to me on the phone. “A wall of sand.”

Later, I would think back to this story when the military told me Miles's helicopter had crashed during a sandstorm.
Learn more about the book and author at Artis Henderson's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue