Behold the Women March Edition

publishedover 1 year ago
4 min read

Behold the Women Volume 1 Number 1 March 2022

A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the public inauguration of my newest adventures in writing. Yes, I’ve published academic stuff before. But this is different. Non-academic writing is different, more open, freer. It’s, well, it’s “A whole new world — A new fantastic point of view, No one to tell us, No, Or where to go, Or say we're only dreaming” . . . (thank you Aladdin & Walt Disney).

And well yes, I have a blog (JustAlchemy) that I keep reinventing. And, YES I finally have a publisher for the novel that I have been working on for far too long (more about that in May). So with the blog and the book cooking, it felt like it was time to start a newsletter to stay connected, to keep you posted on what’s new, mostly to celebrate the words, works and wisdom of women—of the trailblazers, of the Badass Boudicca’s, the silent sisters, the women we celebrate and those who have been silenced or forgotten. Women by birth, women by choice, I’m not worried about distinctions. I want this to be a space for open-hearted, full throated celebration.

Today I am inspired by Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

. . .

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

’Cause I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

read the poem in its entirety:

And, let the celebration continue! Here are a couple of books I’ve read recently that celebrate women who dared:

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

Do you believe in Amazons? Did you even wish that Wonder Woman was real? Did you ever dream about what it might have been like to live in a community of women warriors? Well, then you might just want to check out this book. Here’s some of what the publisher says:

Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan is an expert on Greek mythology. Her obsession with the Amazons started in childhood when her eccentric grandmother claimed to be one herself—before vanishing without a trace. Diana’s colleagues shake their heads at her Amazon fixation. But then a mysterious, well-financed foundation makes Diana an offer she cannot refuse.

Traveling to North Africa, Diana teams up with Nick Barran, an enigmatic Middle Eastern guide, and begins deciphering an unusual inscription on the wall of a recently unearthed temple. There she discovers the name of the first Amazon queen, Myrina, who crossed the Mediterranean in a heroic attempt to liberate her kidnapped sisters from Greek pirates, only to become embroiled in the most famous conflict of the ancient world—the Trojan War.

. . .

Sweeping from England to North Africa to Greece and the ruins of ancient Troy, and navigating between present and past, The Lost Sisterhood is a breathtaking, passionate adventure of two women on parallel journeys, separated by time, who must fight to keep the lives and legacy of the Amazons from being lost forever.

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Did you even wonder if maybe, just maybe, Jesus might have been married? And if he was, what who might have been his wife? And what was life like for her? Well, Sue Monk Kidd answers all of those questions, and starts with an amazing opening line:

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.”

Here’s some of what the publisher says about the book:

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. . . . Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart. . . .

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

And, some words to take with you . . .

A touch of affirmation:

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. #LucilleBall

A nice insight on why I love to read:

Deeper still was the profound understanding for mankind as she lived in the minds of the characters. Over time, she had found such perspectives made her a more patient person, more accepting of others. #MadelineMartin The Last Bookshop in London

And just a touch of a challenge:

People, though they must die, are not born to die but in order to begin something new. #HannahArendt

What new thing will you begin? Whatever you choose to do, may it be filled with love, kindness, & compassion.

So, what do you think? Let me know what you like, what you would like to see more of?

If something inspires you, if there are books or quotes you’d like to see in a future newsletter, please feel free to share!

All the best to you, one and all!

Hi, I'm Mary Swigonski

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