Rosa Parks on Being a Regular Person

The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.   Rosa Parks Christened "The First Lady of Civil Rights" Rosa Parks made history on a February day in 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Because this was against the segregation laws of Alabama, Rosa Parks was …

Elizabeth Barrett Browning on Love and Work

 If marriage be a contract, look to it then, Contracting parties should be equal - Just.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) or "Ba," as she was known as a child, was a child of privilege growing up in a wealthy household supported by the slave labor on sugar plantations in Jamaica. A precocious …

Pearl S. Buck on Making Meaning Out of Meaningless

If the American way of life fails the child, it fails us more. Pearl S. Buck (1982-1973) spent all her childhood and a good part of her adult life living in China. Most of her over thirty novels are based on this experience and were instrumental in shaping American views of life in China.  In 1938 …

Julia Cameron on the Language of Art

If you do anything in the arts, then you most probably have heard of Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way. Written in 1992, her book about inspiring personal creativity and empowering the artist within has become a mainstay of artists, writers, and others engaged in artistic pursuits as it continues to grow in popularity. The Artist's …

Isabel Allende on the End of Childhood

Did you once believe in Santa Claus? When you were a child were fairies and dragons and ghosts real? There is something special about the world of young children and their ability to simply believe. In the following excerpt from The House of Spirits, Chilean author Isabel Allende takes us into that magical time. Clara's …

Sarah Josepha Hale on Beginning a Novel

If you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday, you can thank Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1877). Hale, the first woman magazine editor in the United States, petitioned Presidents for 17 years until Abraham Lincoln established the day in 1863. Hale believed in educating girls  (She later helped establish Vassar College) having obtained her education second-hand from her brother …

George Sand on the Working Man

How I wish I could impart to you this sense of the intensity and joyousness of life that I have in my veins. To live! How sweet it is, and how good, in spite of annoyances, husbands, debts, relations, scandal-mongers, sufferings, and irritations! To live! It is intoxicating! To love, and to be loved! It …

Elizabeth Ellet on Women of the American Revolution

Have you ever heard of Mercy Warren, Esther Reed, Mary Philpse, or Sarah Bache? Elizabeth Fries Ellet (1818-1877) immortalized these and numerous other women in her ground-breaking work  The Women of the American Revolution in 2 volumes published in 1848. Ellet was a prolific writer who, in addition to translations, poetry, country rambles, and domestic works, …

Barbara Kingsolver on Receiving Grace

Barbara Kingsolver has written numerous books and won many awards. She is the founder of the PEN/Bellwether Award for socially conscious fiction. Her most recent work is Flight Behavior, in which she combines her background in biology, her concern for social justice, and her experience living in rural Appalachia and raising sheep.  In a NPR interview Kingsolver …

Anne Morrow Lindbergh on the Art of Solitude

 In my nightstand I keep a small book that has spoken to me many times when life becomes a whirring blur of "to dos" and "musts" and "didn'ts." That book is Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001). Lindbergh wrote the book in 1955 while living alone on Captiva Island in Florida where she …

Barbara Ehrenreich on Special Costs

Barbara Ehrenreich is a well-known investigative reporter and social commentator. She has been called a myth buster and a muckraker for her unflagging devotion to uncovering the silent and contradictory spaces in our national persona. A chemist with a doctorate in cellular immunology, Ehrenreich has chosen to focus her life's work on changing the national discourse on …

Audre Lorde on Sold on Reading

"One oppression does not justify another."  Audre Lorde (1934-1992) Writer Audre Lorde identified herself as an outsider. Black, feminist, lesbian and angry, she demanded space at the table for those who were marginalized by society. The daughter of West Indian immigrants she found her voice first through poetry and then in essays and novels. A victim of breast …

Sandra Cisneros on Too Many Kids

They say I'm a beast. And feast on it. When all along I thought that's what a woman was. from the poem "Loose Woman" by Sandra Cisneros Recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Sandra Cisneros is more than an award-winning author of novels, poems, and children's literature. A teacher, artist-in-residence, and arts administration, she has long been a force …

Kamilah on Peace: The Afghan Women’s Writing Project

The Afghan Women's Writing Project is based on the belief that to tell one's story is a human right. The Project was started in 2009 by Marsha Hamilton after watching the execution of Zarmeena for the alleged murder of her husband. She visited Afghanistan and set out to give a voice to women whose voices have …

Brenda Ueland on why women should write

"Think of telling a story, not writing it." Brenda Ueland (1891-1986) is best known as a journalist and teacher of writing. She wrote radio scripts, covered the trial of Vidkun Quisling in Norway, and wrote several memoirs. The Norwegian Arctic explorer and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 67 year-old Fridjtof Nansen fell deeply in love with the 37 …

Kathy Hepinstall and The Circle of Life

Kathy Hepinstall is a contemporary best-selling author. She has written four novels including The House of Gentle Men, The Absence of Nectar, and Prince of Lost Places. The following excerpt is taken from her 2012 novel Blue Asylum. This is the story of a Civil War era plantation owner's wife who is committed to an insane asylum because …

Anne Frank on Paper as Patience

Anne Frank would have been 84 this month. Born June 12, 1929 in Frankfort, Germany Anne Frank's diary is world-renowned, even though she wrote it as a young girl of thirteen. Forty-five million copies  of the diary, composed when her family and she were hiding from the Nazis during World War II, have been sold, and it has been translated into …

Louisa May Alcott on Washing the Wounded

"I WANT something to do." This remark being addressed to the world in general, no one in particular felt it their duty to reply; so I repeated it to the smaller world about me, received the following suggestions, and settled the matter by answering my own inquiry, as people are apt to do when very …

Mary T. McCarthy on Being a Loser

On Monday mornings, at recess, Nemesis exacted its price; we wretches all loyally "stuck together," like pieces of melting candy in the linty recesses of a coat pocket. Mary McCarthy Mary McCarthy (1912-1984), satirist, critic, and award-winning fiction writer (two Guggenheim Fellowships and a National Medal for Literature), was placed in the Sacred Heart convent …