Behold the Women Volume 1 Number 2 May 2022

publishedover 1 year ago
3 min read

An ongoing Celebration of Women

Dear Friends,

Welcome back.

Last time around I mentioned I found a publisher for my novel. Well, not only do I have a publisher, but I also have a title and publication date! The Letters from Eleanor Roosevelt will be published on June 15 (no preorders, so don’t go looking before them). So far, all I know is that it will be available on Amazon.

What is the book about? The story begins on the eve of Joan’s 21st birthday her mother gives Joan a sack of letters from Eleanor Roosevelt hoping Joan will find a senior thesis topic in them. As Joan reads the letters, she not only finds a topic for her senior thesis, she also finds inspiration for her life’s meaning and for her a quest to meet Mrs. Roosevelt. The novel unfolds in letters to Joan’s best friend, YANINA, who is now living on a kibbutz in Israel. Those letters tell the story of Joan’s loss of innocence (she is seduced by her college advisor), her conflicts with relationships and college requirements (she discovers she is pregnant and the threat of potential dismissal from the college coincidentally follows her filing a paternity suit). Joan’s letters to Yanina are a celebration of the strength of women and of the power of Mrs. Roosevelt’s letters in shaping Joan’s life choices.

It is a story of family secrets and self-discovery, wrapped in wit and whimsy that emphasized the worth and dignity of the human being. It is a story of empowerment and a celebration of the contributions of strong women. Read this book to laugh a lot, to cry a little, and to consider life’s meaning. And, I think it is a fun beach read!

And yes, I am continuing to blog at Here’s the secret behind my current blogging. In Letters from Eleanor Roosevelt, between the letters from Mrs. Roosevelt and Joan’s letters to Yanina, there are nearly 100 historical women mentioned. Each blog focused on one of those women, and offers up a snipped of biographical information and a few quotes that resonate with me. So, read on dear friends, read on!

And, now, on to this odd month’s celebration of 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 poetry:

This time around, here are fragments from 3 poems that celebrate women

Being Independent—Rupi Kaur

i do not want to have you

to fill the empty parts of me.

i want to be full on my own.

i want to be so complete

i could light a whole city

and then

i want to have you

cause the two of us combined

could set it on fire.

Still I Rise—Maya Angelou

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Let Me Not Lose My Dream—Georgia Douglas Johnson

Let me not lose my dream, e’en though I scan the veil

with eyes unseeing through their glaze of tears,

Let me not falter, though the rungs of fortune perish

as I fare above the tumult, praying purer air,

Let me not lose the vision, gird me, Powers that toss

the worlds, I pray!

Hold me, and guard, lest anguish tear my dreams away!

Following my promise of 3, 2, 1, here are two quotes that resonated with me recently:

Gilda Radner: while we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die—whether it is our spirit, our creativity, or our glorious uniqueness.

Amy Collette: Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.

And the book that resonated the most with me these past two months?

The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

The publisher describes the book as a passionate and inspiring meditation on what it means to be a woman, and I’ve got to agree. Here’s a blurb on the book:

"When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating," begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without "resources or voice." Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn't have.

As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the first wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, she for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote "with a knife between their teeth" about women's issues. She has seen what has been accomplished by the movement in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three passionate marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one's sexuality.

So what do women want? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over their bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will "light the torch of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished."

Hi, I'm Mary Swigonski

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