On the page: A review of local author’s ‘Heartwood’ | TheUnion.com
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On the page: A review of local author’s ‘Heartwood’

Before I was your local esthetician and Reflections Skin Oasis owner for the past 26 years, I was a loyal registered dental assistant (RDA) to Dr. Richard Dickard. The time I spent working in dentistry was a joy, and it certainly helped that Dr. Dickard is one of the best bosses I ever had. While there, I grew familiar with Richard’s wife, Shirley Dickard. Always a friendly and welcoming presence, Shirley had an empathy for other people that immediately drew me to her. Not only is she compassionate towards others, but she also has a distinct compassion for the earth and the natural world around us. In her newly published book, “Heartwood – Four Women, for the Earth, for the Future,” Shirley explores humanity’s relationship to the environment and how that impacts future generations.

“Heartwood” is a fictional tale of four women who are connected across centuries and generations through their need to preserve the environment. In the book, a character named Shima’a is a woman of an ancient civilization who experiences disturbing visions of the Earth’s demise. She sends a message to warn future generations of this premonition within the heart of an acorn, which then reaches three family women of California’s past, present and future.

“Heartwood” is a magical, chilling read that was inspired by Shirley’s own relationship to environmental activism. She was first introduced to the cause in the 1970s when she modeled in Italy for the leather designer and political activist, Senior Albion. Years later, she would engage in local activism, organizing media coverage of a student protest when the local county water agency proposed building a dam in 1999 that would submerge a third of their rural school’s families.



Her nursing background in pediatrics, her experience working in a remote hospital on the Navajo Indian reservation, and her former role as executive director of a rural nonprofit, has greatly influenced her fiction writing. She’s taken each piece of her past and present and has woven it beautifully into the narrative of “Heartwood.”

I’m grateful to have such a talented, passionate friend. Her contributions to our community, local fiction, and our environment are so valuable. We also recently discovered that she’s a 2021 Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award’s Montaigne Medal for the most thought-provoking books that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought! In honor of my 26th year of business, Reflections Skin Oasis will be selling her book at a discount for the month of June, her book will be sold at $16, but can still be purchased for $18 thereafter. I highly recommend reading “Heartwood,” and I recommend learning more about our beloved local writer and activist, Shirley Dickard.



Margie Carr is owner and esthetician at Reflections Skin Oasis in downtown Grass Valley

Margie Carr, fourth from left, with staff at Dr. Richard Dickard’s dentist office, 26 years ago.
Photo courtesy Margie Carr
“Heartwood – Four Women, for the Earth, for the Future,” by Shirley Dickard.
Provided photo
Margie Carr

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