I am in the center of this wheel. Instead of the spokes radiating out from me, these spokes are coming toward me, feeding me and offering up wisdom and feeling. I have been feeling something coming for a while and, at this point, my challenge is not to assume what it is or prescribe some action, but to sit and wait and honor what comes.
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If you read the last post, you’ll know that I recently discovered “Girls Speak Out” by Andrea Johnston. I read the acknowledgements section and discovered the name of her agent, which prompted me to send out a query letter about my manuscript “Rock and a Hard Place.” Reading Gloria Steinem’s foreward prompted me to contact her and express my admiration for her years of work and service in liberating women in this country and around the world.
The book I was assigned to review for Elevate Difference this month is called “A Strange Stirring” by Stephanie Coontz and traces the impact of Betty Freidan’s “Feminine Mystique” on an entire generation of American women. Reading the history contained in this book and being reminded of the myriad ways human beings have of oppressing and belittling entire groups of people has given me much food for thought. But, you’ll have to wait for the review to get any more on that. Don’t worry – I’ll let you know when it’s on the site.
I support many groups that champion women and girls and on my Facebook page, my eye has recently been caught by media coverage of sex trafficking of young girls, including the news release that there are scores of young women and girls being shipped to Dallas to “entertain” partygoers and bigwigs attending the Superbowl.
In addition to local groups, I am part of World Pulse, an organization that exists to raise the voices of women around the world. They recently put out a call for members to write letters to the new executive director of women’s issues for the UN, letting her know their hopes for her tenure and I was inspired to share my five part dream for women and girls everywhere
with her. So far, I’ve gotten some very positive feedback on it.
Eve started learning about puberty and sexuality at school last week and, thanks to her teacher, has come home wielding pages of questions she was assigned to ask a trusted adult for her homework. This prompted a really lovely discussion the other night about my experiences with puberty and how the world has changed in the short time period between my adolescence and hers. She is concerned about menstruation and sexual orientation and exploitation and it is my job to give her accurate information and help shape her decision-making about her own morality. I am struck by the fact that this conversation never could have occurred in my 1970s world, but at how lucky I was to have a stepmother in the 1980s who was willing to at least scratch the surface with me.
So I am spreading the word for now. I forwarded the link to Girls Speak Out to all of the parents at my daughter’s girls school and I’ve offered to brainstorm with anyone who is interested about putting together an action group. I’ve become recommitted to getting the word out about my book and, come h-e-double hockey sticks or high water, it’s getting published by summer. Even if I have to do it myself. And I’ll continue to sit here in the center and listen and absorb the information coming my way. My heart is filled with optimism and calm and patience. I know that so long as I act out of love and compassion with an effort to educate and enlighten my actions will be met with open arms and my words will fall on the ears of those who need to hear them the most.
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Sorry, not sausage links. But I think these two are better than pork bits, although pork bits are tasty. Don’t get me wrong…
A Link for Writers
Mira Bartok’s memoir “The Memory Palace” is one of the first books I downloaded to my new iPad. While I wasn’t certain how I would feel about reading without the feel of paper in my hands, there is no doubt about this book. It is lovely, well-written, engaging, and enlightening: everything a memoir ought to be, IMHO. In any case, at the end of the book, I discovered that Mira has a website where she highlights writing opportunities (grants, fellowships, residencies, etc.). Anyone who is looking for a leg up ought to check it out.
A Link for Girls (and those who care about them growing up to be strong and independent)
Yesterday I had some time to kill before a doctor appointment so I wandered into (where else?) a bookstore. One book appeared to be surrounded by that surreal Heavenly light that sucked me in like a vacuum and hollered, “Look at me!” so I did. In my current search for ways to empower women and girls a book entitled “Girls Speak Out” with a foreward written by none other than her majesty Gloria Steinem, it’s no wonder I was drawn to this book. Also in its favor was the fact that it is a used paperback and, thus, inexpensive. (I’m certain Bubba wishes my New Year’s resolution had had something to do with spending less money on books. Poor guy.)
Anyway, this book is several years old and was written as a guidebook for girls ages 9-15ish who are seeking ways to discover and honor themselves as they try to navigate the murky depths of adolescence in a consumer-driven society. I was glowing before I finished reading the introduction and foreward. And then I found their website. If you go, make sure you give yourself enough time to stay a while and marvel at all of the wondrous things Gloria and the author, Andrea Johnston, have inspired girls AROUND THE WORLD to do since this movement began. You won’t be sorry.
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