Tag: motherhood

Morgan Jerkins: This woman is on fire! And we all get to benefit.

Morgan Jerkins is a woman on fire who we are all benefitting from. At 29 she has written and published three books, two nonfiction and one novel and in the highest compliment I would ever give anyone, I will say that her novel Caul Baby, published in April of 2021, reminds me of those of one of my all-time favorites: Toni Morrison. I felt such joy when I read the following because of that recognition and resonance: “There were cracks on all four corners of Maman’s bedroom, and they were hungry. Black, jagged, and deep, they resembled outstretched hands...

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Matilda Joslyn Gage: In Her Name, American (1826-1898)

A few weeks back, I came upon a term I had not heard before, the ‘Matilda Effect’. It’s defined as: a bias against acknowledging the achievements of those women scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues (Wikipedia). This term was coined by science historian Margaret W. Rossiter in 1993, in her essay The Matthew Matilda Effect in Science. The Matthew Effect, labeled in 1948 and credited to Robert K Merton, and later to Harriet Zuckerman as well, refers to the way that: eminent scientists will often get more credit than a comparatively unknown researcher, even if their...

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd: The Spirit in You that Rebels and Persists (published in 2020)

When my sister Theresa and I began the Nasty Women Writers project three years ago, we set out to amplify the voices of women, many of whom have been marginalized and erased. We decided to claim the word ‘nasty’ because it was being hurled at powerful women who were unafraid to speak up. Clearly ‘nasty’ was not such a bad thing to be. Sue Monk Kidd in her new novel The Book of Longings addresses the erasure of women’s voices. The main character, Ana, is a spokesperson for this cause: she is a capturer and keeper of women’s voices,...

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Slavery and the Haunting that Persists.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a novel about the enslavement of Black Americans and its lasting emotional, physical and psychic effects. It takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio right before and after the Civil War. Beloved is the story of Sethe, a woman so strong, she survives the unthinkable, over and over and over again. Beloved is the name of the angry baby girl haunting the home of her younger sister, Denver, and Sethe, the mother who murdered her. The ghost, in her eighteen-month-old, non-physical form has driven everyone else out of the house, including Sethe’s two sons whom she tried...

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A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (2020)

The exposed beating of a heart, a miraculous extension of a life almost extinguished by the cruelty and recklessness of war. That beating heart a symbol of love, which keeps life bearable in times of turmoil and torture. Thus, (in my words) begins Chilean-American author, Isabel Allende’s newest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea. (The title is a line from one of Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda’s poems,  describing Chile’s physical appearance.) NPR’s Marcela Davison Aviles states, “The timing of this novel’s publication was either destined or clairvoyant — but in any case, Allende’s research and her...

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