Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day

Today, I'm remembering two questions, and more clearly the one answer to them: Why would anyone choose to get a BA in women's studies? What are you going to do with it? The answer to those questions harkens back to the early 70s when I was a young, stay-at-home mom with three little ones.

Don't get me wrong. I adore my children, and today I adore my six grandchildren very much. Back in the 70s I was longing for something more, but I didn't know what. I was also heading for a break-up that would thrust me out of the house into a world I was ill-prepared to face. Finishing my bachelor's degree in women's studies in the year 2000 was a direct result of feeling duped by the American culture of the 50s.

After choosing English as a major in the late 60s, I wanted to study women when I returned to college, so I could write about them. Women have struggled, even before the days of the old west where many of my stories are set, to free themselves from the constraints of whatever society they have been born into. I write about strong women characters because I want women to be aware of the potential within themselves to excel wherever their passions lead.

I was passionate about my growing family, and I'm just as passionate about my skills as a writer of fiction. On this International Women's Day I'm pausing to think about the lives of the women who paved the way. I'm choosing to pursue my passion for writing, and especially today I'm remembering the countless women who sacrificed to open my eyes so I could discover that potential.

One answer to many questions: I often turn to this much quoted phrase written in 1927 by American writer Max Ehrmann:  "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here."

Write On!

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