Spring into Women's History Month

Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.
— Sinclair Lewis

Yowser, has that ever been true these last couple of Michigan winters. Or is it that time and how I spend it, with whom and doing what and where, gets more important the older I get?
Yes! A resounding, yes!
So far 2015 has been the year of “No’s”. No thank you to the purse party, or helping with the auction, or writing a brochure (“sorry we don’t have the funds to pay you”). It’s amazing how freeing the feeling is to value my time and not get tangled in the doing for everyone else—the kids, the family, the sports teams, the school, the homework, the projects, the job—basically all that life entails with three kids and a husband. That was my life for many, many years. Most of the time you don’t even know how much you’re doing until you’re not doing it anymore. Fortunately, I have the luxury of saying no, especially now with my kids grown. The true heroes out there, my heroes, are the women without the financial support, without the extra set of hands, or the week or two of vacation to unwind, meditate, or just catch their breath.
You’ve come a long way, baby, as the Virginia Slims commercial told us in the 1960s. And we have. But still . . . . .
I finished Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Almost Famous Women, a collection of stories about women on the fringes of recognition, either from themselves or from others. These are true stories told through the fictional eye of history. Mayhew Bergman spent a decade researching the thirteen women fleshed out in the book. Everyone from the poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, to the Gone With the Wind actress, Butterfly McQueen, are given life in scenes and thoughts and words. The author wrote, “The stories in this collection are born of fascination with real women whose remarkable lives were reduced to footnotes.”
I guess you could say this about all of us once we’re gone. It’s a fascinating read.
And then there is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Oh, my, is this a gem. Every sentence—and there are 530 pages of them—seems to drip from the goblets of dead poets. Written with the love of science, history, mystery, like “a fairy tale for adults” (as a friend just pointed out), this mines the fertile ground of the lead up to and the last days of World War II. There is so much to love about this book, but all will appreciate that Doerr made all the heroes in the book women. The truly courageous, the truly inspirational characters—Marie-Laure, Madame Manec, Frau Elena, Jutta, and Madame Ruelle—are all women.
And if these two novels don’t help thaw the bitter winter blahs, check out http://writersrelief.com/blog/2015/03/75-greatest-living-women-writers/ in honor of March’s Women’s History Month (who knew women had their own month!!). Writer’s Relief has made a list of the 75 greatest living female authors. Are your favorites on the list? Have they left anyone off?
Happy Spring!