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Honoring Women Writers During Women’s History Month

By Diana Raab March 09, 2022 Mindset

March signifies Women’s History Month, and, each year, the National Women’s History Alliance chooses a different theme. This year’s is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” According to the Alliance, this is a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during our ongoing pandemic while acknowledging women of all cultures and colors who have provided and continue to provide healing and hope.

My own professional life began as a nurse, thus I have a deep reverence for these women. Now, my role as an inspirational writer is to provide hope and healing through my words.

There are many contemporary writers who join me in fostering hope. Here is a summary of their more notable writings and wisdoms:

Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939 – 1947

Nin has an alluring and poetic way with words, masterfully sharing what many women feel but are rarely able to articulate. “I live only in the depths. When I come to the surface, I don’t live. I live only in passion, pain, depths, and darkness,” she says.  

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen

This book is perfect for Women’s History Month. The author considers bad girls to be those who broke socially acceptable rules, but they’re not necessarily murderers! It just means that they’re more daring than the norm.

The book begins with Lilith, a figure from Jewish mythology suggested as an alternate first wife to Adam. According to folklore, she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Bad Girls ends with Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize winner.

Others included in this enlightening work are Lady Godiva, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, Marie Antoinette, Florence Nightingale, Edith Wharton, Helen Keller, Mae West, Sally Ride, Georgia O’Keeffe, Coretta Scott King, and Oprah – all in the order of their place in history. Each woman has two pages devoted to her story.

Crazy Braveby Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave is a powerful memoir about the first Native American Poet Laureate, whom I had the pleasure of spending some time with during a recent visit to my hometown. It was great to hear her read and share stories about her life and Native American traditions.

This memoir is clearly written from Harjo’s heart. It’s not only beautiful to hear about being a Native American in America and learning about her culture’s traditions, but it’s also fascinating to learn about her connection to poetry.

Harjo confesses that it was the spirit of poetry that reached out and found her at a time when she stood at the doorway between panic and love. She describes it as “a kind of resurrection light; it is the tall ancestor spirit who has been with me since the beginning, or a bear or a hummingbird… It is more than everything” (p. 164).  

Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

This is such a powerful and inspiring book, written by an American treasure. The author doesn’t have a daughter, only a son, but in the last years of her life she wrote this book of inspiring essays, advice, and words of wisdom for all of us. She shares the poignant lessons she herself learned over the course of her life.

Angelou describes the experience of being raised by her grandmother, as well as what it was like being a six-foot-tall teenager. She shares how Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on her birthday, and how on that day each year she and King’s wife sent flowers to each other.

Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher

Pipher’s name might sound familiar to you, as the author of Surviving Ophelia and Reviving Ophelia, two ’90s books about the parental and societal pressures of raising teenagers. At the time, I was raising teens and the book deeply resonated with me. When I saw that she’d written this new book about aging women, I couldn’t resist reading it. She and I seem to always be on the same path and mindset.

Women Rowing North is a guide to wisdom, authenticity, and bliss for aging women. As a psychotherapist, Pipher shares many stories and anecdotes to illustrate how we all got to where we are. In actuality, this book is a meditation on our life stages, focusing on the wisdom of elders. I could not put this book down!  

Wise Women by Joyce Tenneson

This book includes 80 portraits and sentiments of and about elderly, wise women.

Wise Women will remind you to contemplate the role of elders in today’s world. Years ago, we were regarded as keepers of truth and wisdom, but over the years in this country, our voices have gotten muffled or muted by the younger voices. It feels good to acknowledge that we might be coming into a time when the universe wants to hear our words and thoughts.  

In my eyes, all of these books are absolute gems. I suggest celebrating International Women’s Month, buy yourself a copy of anything on the list and then buy a copy for a woman that you love! For more information about my writing and the sharing of my wisdoms as I approach my 68th birthday, please visit dianaraab.com.

How do you celebrate International Women’s Day and the entire month of March? What has changed for you as you’ve aged? What woman author has influenced your life the most?

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The Author

Diana Raab, PhD, is memoirist, blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of 10 books, and numerous articles. She often writes and speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Explore her books and Conversation Cards for Meaningful Storytelling.

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