Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inspiring Women Writers

A blog at posted an article Monday on the 10 Most Powerful Women Authors as decided upon by writer AVRIL DAVID. She wrote, "The women selected for this list are powerful because of their ability to influence us through their words and ideas. Collectively, these women hold readers captivated with stories of fantastical worlds, suspense and drama, insights into the complexities of minority experiences and cultures, and fresh takes on societal issues and expectations…not to mention, book sales of up to 800M copies sold and a wealth of prestigious awards and recognition including Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes. In other words, these 10 women can tell (and sell) a good story". To see the list which I believe is full of excellent choices, go to

Reading the list however made me think of women who may not be published, yet who I still consider as being excellent story tellers. For the sake of space and time tonight, I'll share just a few of my personal favorites. Each of these women continue to influence me with their words and ideas.

1. My Mom. Hands down, she's my favorite storyteller. Mom has always been the family's historian. I grew up learning of her childhood and teenage years, of her early married life, her experiences as a new mother, and her time with friends in both her childhood hometown and my own. Additionally, Mom shared stories with me about my Dad, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, grandparents, and countless others. To this day I still imagine her jaunts going cross country skiing in the moonlight and of the humorous times one grandmother of mine picked on the other. Mom's stories are the best. My Dad has tried for years to get my Mom to write in a journal of some kind. She tends to write on little scraps of paper that are tucked here and there. I sure hope my memory of the stories she's told me will remain strong until I've had enough time to write everything down myself.

2. My best friend of 35 years, Cheryl. From the time I was a child, listening to Cheryl's stories of her times with her siblings and her cousins, aunts and uncles always entertained me. I had four older siblings but had not grown up sharing childhood with them and I was fascinated by the fights and the fun she'd tell me about each time we got together. When we get together nowadays Cheryl's stories primarily center around her children, all six of them. However she also speaks passionately about homeschooling, health topics, and of her faith. Something tells me she'll never run out of material for a good story. Cheryl writes in several blogs, proving she's a writer too.

3.The women I met through the Southern Maine Writing Project especially Jo, Nancy, Shari, Dawn, Kate, Kelly, Barbara, Lori, and Sarah. Never before had I been embraced by such a supportive network of teachers and writers than the summer I went to this institute. I continue to be inspired by the ideas and the writing of these women. I've lost touch with some of them but most are still within reach. Their work, their beings gave me greater confidence in myself as both a teacher and as a writer. They worked together to give me an incredible gift, the gift of courage.

4. Student writers--past and present. It's an amazing gift to reconnect with a former student. To be a witness to a former student's writing is remarkable. I've recently been following the blog of a former student named Kyla. Her writing greatly moves me. It makes me laugh, it's made me cry. It's made me think, to savor, and to celebrate. I'm in awe of her and I cannot wait to see where her writing will take her as she journeys onward. Other students, whether from years past or in the present day also inspire me. Their creativity, risk-taking, and determination serve to sustain me.

5. The final female storyteller who serves as a powerful influence on me is someone whose writing I am not often allowed to see; that would be my daughter Emma. An avid reader, her vocabulary and command of language is developing at an impressive rate. She's emerging as a beautiful writer. She's quite private with her work but I respect that. She's almost sixteen years old and spends a great amount of time working on stories at her laptop. She doesn't often share her stories but she discusses her craft with me every once in awhile. When I'm allowed to read a piece, I am always blown away. She is mature beyond her years and she continues to inspire a writer and as a human being.

There are many more women (and men) who influence me with their storytelling talents. I've been a storyteller myself, most often when I'm in the classroom, and of course this can be seen in my writing on this blog; it's apparent that I enjoy sharing my personal experiences with others. But I have never really thought of my own stories as being inspirational until recently. Since beginning this blog I have heard or have seen others start their own. I've heard from people who have read one of my stories and who have been touched in some way by my descriptions, my sharing of emotions, or my candid admissions. That always warms my heart. And if I have played even a small part in inspiring others to find their own voices as writers or storytellers, I am proud, very proud indeed. It'd be wonderful to be published someday but if it doesn't happen, that'll be okay. Truly, I do not need Forbes magazine to tell me I'm a powerful woman, author or otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment