Jenna, struggling to move past the trauma of her youth, finds solace in a New Orleans glassblowing studio as well as tutoring children in a nearby housing project. The transparency and defiant durability of the children remind her of the glass she is shaping and together they help her find meaning amidst the ambiguity of her sexuality and faith. Now grown, prompted by an email from the child she gave up for adoption at birth, Jenna relives the childhood memories that nearly destroyed her. In sharing their unique stories with each other, mother and son realize the common threads are both DNA and the culture of a city that helped to shape them.
Rogers-Martin weaves a story of brokenness and confusion, spiritual seeking and faith. It affirms the confusion of sexual identity, the delicacy and grit of figuring it all out, and the realization that life is both broken and beautiful.
“My book compares a life journey with the stages of glass formation,” Rogers-Martin says. “The underlying story between mother and son is true. The other parts are an amalgamation of the stories I’ve experienced working with at-risk youth for many years. I believe our chief mission in life is to bear hope and compassion to all people because love casts out fear, and belonging heals. In doing so, we have an opportunity to create a masterpiece each day from whatever shards we have. I know from my experience with glass (and life) that as we move together toward the flame of love, we will be changed, but perhaps not in the way we expect.
Rogers-Martin plans to donate her book’s proceeds to programs serving at-risk youth.