It’s time for our second installment of One Question, Twenty Answers! Woo! For those who missed it the first time around, here’s how it works. We asked twenty different authors the same question and compiled their answers here for y’all to peruse and enjoy.
Question: So what three inspirational women are in YOUR binder? Include a couple of sentences about each one to explain why.
Want to know who said what? Click on to see. . .
- The first one that popped in my mind was my former teacher and mentor, Irene Dailey. I studied acting with her for couple of years and one day she took me aside and imparted some wisdom. “You have a lot of talent, but you’ll never make a living doing this.” It was a tough pill to swallow but it led me to a career in nursing, for which I will always be grateful.(There is , of course, a much longer story.
- The second one was Mother Teresa. Yes, I’m serious. The selfless devotion and passion she exhibited for the poor inspired me. I didn’t make it to India, but I did become a lay member of the school sisters of Saint Francis for six years. Another choice, for which I’m grateful.
- And third, I’m going to say Michelle Obama. During several exhausting and at times vicious political campaigns, Mrs. Obama has consistently maintained a positive, genuine, supportive, and gracious demeanor. Under incredible pressure, she has provided a positive role model for young women in this country and around the world.
Barrett’s Damaged in Service is the first in a series, but that’s not all she writes. She’s hard at work on other manuscripts. Check her site to find out what. She’ll be donating a copy of her book in the forthcoming 2012 Hootenanny.
- My grandmother, Madeline Pacilio. She is the epitome of a strong woman. She never had much, but always manages to take care of her family and keep a positive outlook. She never stops, and she gets annoyed when she needs to rest before continuing with whatever she’s working on. Did I mention she’s 93?
- My partner, Bonnie. I know that’s a little corny, but she inspires me with her open heart, mind, and soul. She’s never quick to judge, always patient, and she loves me for exactly who I am, quirks, idiosyncracies, and all. I’d love to be half as patient with people as she is.
- Anne Lamott, the writer. She takes the fears and worries of every writer and puts them right out there for us all to chuckle at. She’s self-deprecating, but humorously so. She reminds me not to take myself so seriously. I love that. And I need it.
- Margaret Thatcher. I don’t agree with all of her politics…I don’t have to. I was born in 1979 – the year she was elected Prime Minister. I was in secondary school before she lost power. As a little girl growing up with a Queen and a female Prime Minister, I truly believed that there was nothing I couldn’t do if I set my mind to it, and that where I came from – my background – was far less important than how I applied myself, and what I choose to do with my life. Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a grocer. She became a chemist, a barrister, and then a Member of Parliment, before winning the top spot. Talk about Girl Power!
- Esther Rantzen. In 1986 she started Childline. A freephone service that was aimed at helping children deal with issues that ranged from abuse, to bullying, parental separation and divorce, to grief. It was the first service of its kind in the world, and on the night it was launched more than 50,000 calls were taken. In the past 25 years, Rantzens work with children of abuse in the UK and internationally has been phenominal and she has been instrumental in the establishment of other such ‘Childlines’ all over the world. There are more than 100 of them now. She helped to give a voice to vulnerable children who had no other way to ask for help, to get support, or was a shoulder for them to cry on. She is truly an inspiration.
- Jean Bramhall. My Gran. The family matriarch, and the woman who truly raised me. She is the strength, heart, and soul of the family. She has been my biggest supporter and best friend all my life. She has taught me, disciplined me, made me laugh and cry, with the ease of someone who truly loves and gives tirelessly of that love. If I can be half the woman she is…then I will be truly blessed.
- Xena: Warrior Princess – and who can mention Xena without her trusty sidekick, Gabrielle. For me, and I’m sure for many others, these two were my first brush with a lesbian romance. And like your first love, they’ve always stayed with me, though the show ended long ago. I have a feeling they always will.
- Kahlan Amnell (from the Sword of Truth series by author Terry Goodkind.) Kahlan is noble, loyal, and incredibly giving. She’s a true heroine in every sense of the word.
- Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen’s on my list for simply being open and honest about who she is. She’s helped to show the world that lesbians are funny, warm and loving, and aren’t something to be feared. In my opinion, every lesbian owes her their thanks.I suppose I’ve kinda cheated, since I’ve actually mentioned four women, but I found it difficult to narrow the list down. A lot of women are inspiring to me. They’re beautiful creatures.
- Gloria Steinem – A journalist, feminist and probably the most well-known female political activist of my time, Gloria Steinem has always been an inspiration for me. She openly and publicly stood up to the “good ol’ boy” network before it was fashionable and when it was still dangerous to do so (not only for her career but for her life). She was/is always there to be the amplified voice of women’s rights and the advocate of equal rights for all. She knows when to be aggressive and when to be diplomatic. She’s strong, smart, funny, fearless and she never backs down. Her politics are cut-to-the-chase admirable and she has an amazing sense of self for a woman who has been so actively attacked by insecure, cowardly opponents, whose misogyny is revealed more by their own behavior than her words. She gives people just enough rope to hang themselves and they accommodate her without fail. I can only hope that I am as sharp at 78 as Gloria Steinem is today.
- Jane Goodall – Dame Jane Goodall, conservationist and animal welfare activist, has received many honors for her humanitarian and environmental work, including being named a United Messenger for Peace by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2002. She is a woman who lives by the code she instills on others. Even today, at 78 years old, she spends 300 days a year traveling, devoting her time to the education and advocacy of the environment, animal’s natural habitats and chimpanzees. If I’d had the ways and means, I could think of nothing more noble than dedicating my existence to the same issues she has made her life’s work.
- Shirley MacLaine – Another 78-year-old! I have always been a Shirley MacLaine fan. I loved her movies, I loved her dancing and I loved her politics. I have always appreciated her talent as an actor, dancer, singer, performer, author and activist. I loved that she could play a frilly, feminine ingénue, a leading lady and still be ‘one of the boys.’ I admire her guts to basically thumb her nose at Hollywood and follow her own path, not giving a hang about her critics and still forging out a successful career. I became more of an admirer when she began to write her own books, starting with “Don’t Fall Off The Mountain.” I find her thought process about life completely fascinating and her self-deprecating, bawdy, direct-hit humor, especially when she deals with her detractors regarding her devotion to New Age Spirituality and metaphysics, refreshing. She successfully lives her life according to her own path and doesn’t care whether or not anyone approves. I love that in a person.
- Susan Sontag – I am moved by her because she was always unequivocally herself. In many ways she was fundamentally unfeminine in her approach to life. She never gave way and that bothered everyone — especially men and feminists (see revenge essays by Terry Castle (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v27/n06/terry-castle/desperately-seeking-susan) and Camille Paglia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Paglia#Vamps_and_Tramps) — at least Paglia had the fortitude to publish hers while Sontag still lived).
- Hillary Clinton – Another woman who pushes everyone’s buttons. She is flawed — everyone is — but Americans seem to demand women in the public eye to be perfect. I hope she will run again if she has the energy for it.
- Ella Fitzgerald – Her music, always sunny and optimistic no matter what she sings about, is a gift to the world. I regret never seeing her perform.
- Pope Joan – I want to know who she really was and how she did it! I am writing a novel about her at the moment and it has turned into a trilogy because there would have been so much she would have needed to do and go through to make it to being Pope disguised as a man! – I am totally fascinated by what she did and I think about her obsessively! I wonder whether my version of her story bears any resemblance to what really happened.
- Madonna – I have loved Madonna since she arrived on the world stage when I was young teenager. I love her music and style but as time has gone on I have come to admire her tenacity and bravery to keep reinventing herself, trying new things, rising above the criticisms and mistakes and continuing to put herself out there. I love the fact that she taught my generation that we could own our own sexuality, what ever that was.
- Martina Navratilova – she was the only lesbian who I knew about when I was 15 years old and trying to grapple with the realisation that I was gay and I think I would have been in total despair if I hadn’t had the example of such a fine and successful woman such as her of how things could be in spite of my sexuality. I admired her for being out, being strong and also her talent and drive – she was the best tennis player I have ever seen!
Rachel Dax is a filmmaker, theatre director, screenwriter, and all around get ‘er done kinda gal. Her first novel, After the Night, is available on Kindle.
Only three? Really? Okay. Here goes.
- Gertrude Stein. Not only was she a visible lesbian, she was also a master sentence writer. Trying to write cubist. What a thing to try! Over the years, I have both acted in and directed plays written by her. I also directed a play about her and the inimitable Alice B. Toklas. Also, she has some killer one-liners. “To write is to write is to write is to write is to write.” “Remarks are not literature.” “There is no there there.” I have a picture of her and Alice above my desk.
- Whoopie Goldberg. The first time I saw her was at a small cabaret in San Francisco. Valencia Rose it was called. I’d never heard of Whoopie. Few outside of San Francisco had. (It was before the Color Purple.) But there she was up there on stage doing her amazing one woman show when she stopped, dead, and told her young daughter in the audience to behave. She did it kindly, and we all laughed. But I was so struck by this. How difficult it must have been to be doing childcare while performing! But this is what life in the arts is about. You squeeze it in where you can.
- Rachel Maddow. The first openly gay news anchor on prime time. She’s in there keeping the politicians honest. She’s smart, educated, and stays well informed. And in this crazy world where I’m never quite sure sure who to believe… well, there’s always Rachel. May she never grow too tired or too cynical to do the work she’s doing.
Clifford Henderson is a master of improv, both in life and as a writer. Her third release, Maye’s Request, is available now from Bold Strokes Books. (source of image, re-sized here) Clifford has donated titles to the 2012 Hootenanny.
Three inspirational women?
- The first is my grandmother, Myrtle O’Brien Belanger. She was a strong woman, funny, a writer who documented her life and the lives of our ancestors in multiple volumes of memoirs. Her writing is only one of the things about her that inspired me to become the woman I am.
- Second has to be Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’m not sure what it is about her that stirs my pride in our gender, but man, has she become a bad-ass. I’ve never loved her more since she became Secretary of State. Hillary in 2016!
- Going back to a literary inspiration for my third choice, the best person to round out this trio would be Maya Angelou. I went through a period in high school where I devoured her work while despairing that I would never manage to write anything so powerful. I intend to keep trying.
Meghan O’Brien has a take-no-prisoners approach to writing. All of her books, including her latest, The Night Off, are available from Bold Strokes Books. (source of image, re-sized here) Meghan has donated a title to the 2012 Hootenanny.
- My partner, Lisa Beemon, is my first inspirational woman in my binder. From the first day we got together she has encouraged me to write, to use my Goddess given talents and to follow my dreams. I seriously doubt I ever would have started writing seriously if she hadn’t given me the love and support she has.
- Lee Lynch is also one of the inspirational women in my binder. Her courage to write her truth for all these years has opened doors for so many of us. She read the synopsis of my book, Welcome Home, for the debut author awards at GCLS in 2010 and even though I didn’t win, I felt so honored to have her read the synopsis.
- Michelle Obama is also in my binder as an inspirational woman. She is so encouraging to everyone in this country, but especially to other women and young people. I have so much respect for her.
Glenda Waldrop Poulter is the author of Welcome Home and Out of the Past. Because of the recent death of L-Book publisher Roxanne Jones, they are currently unavailable. Glenda is hard at work, however, in making her books available once again to the public. We wish her and all L-Book authors the best, and send our condolences to them and Roxanne’s friends and family. If you’d like to help Glenda get her venture off the ground, click here. And drop her a line. She’d love to hear from you.
I draw inspiration from pioneer women (the first to break barriers):
- Elizabeth Blackwell – 1821-1910. First woman to receive a medical degree in the United States
- Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall 1880 – 1943: first author to feature a lesbian main character (The Well of Loneliness, 1928)
- Ann Bannon: 1932 – : among the first to create a visible lesbian identity in popular fiction (Odd Girl Out, 1957)
Radclyffe is a prolific author, editor, and owner of the successful publishing company, Bold Strokes Books. She is a seven time Lamba Literary Award Finalist and all around nice person. Her latest release, Crossroads, is available now from Bold Strokes Books. (source of image) Radclyffe and Bold Strokes Books have donated books for EVERY DAY of the 2012 Hootenanny.
- Katharine Hepburn: I tend to be very drawn towards women who blaze their own trail and she definitely fits the category. She was her own person when it was customary to toe the line, so to speak. Wearing slacks when no other women in Hollywood were doing so and she was kind of oblivious to her own feminist nature.
- Joan Jett: Same “blaze her own trail” thing as Hepburn and she was the first woman I ever saw really rocking the guitar, which is a hobby of mine. She set an example for girls everywhere — you can push your way into any boy’s club as long as you’re willing to ignore all the sexist bullshit that will be thrown at you and you might even gain their respect eventually.
- Kate Kane/Batwoman: Yes, she’s fictional, but still, she kicks ass as well as any of her male counterparts. She was distressed to get kicked out of the military under DADT, but she didn’t let that stop her from her ultimate goal: helping people in need. She trained hard, forged on and continues to give Gotham villains a name and a symbol to fear.
Gina Ranalli is a horror/bizarro writer with an extensive list of books under her belt, populated with characters LGBT and straight and monsters scary and freaky. Her latest is Rumors of My Death, featuring a lesbian having a very, very bad day. Quirkiness and creepiness (a Ranalli hallmark) abound. She’ll be giving a copy away in the 2012 Hootenanny.
I had to think about this for awhile before responding, most of my inspiration comes from music or video, both of which are dominated by males. I did come up with a handful of women in my “binder”, though.
- First, Mrs. Olive Elliott – a teacher at Caldwell Senior High School in Idaho. She once told me she’d see my name in print, and helped me refine my research capabilities. By gosh, she was right!
- Second, Carolyn Neeper – a literary science fiction writer from the late seventies. Her book, “A Place Beyond Man”, is what motivated me to write at all. (And when I found her on Facebook, I squeed like a fan-girl.)
- Third, Elizabeth Moon – a fantasy/science fiction author. I’ve never read a fantasy like “Surrender None” before…no flighty elves, no real magic system, very gritty and down to earth. It only got better with “The Deeds of Paksenarrion”. If I could emulate any author out there, it would be Elizabeth Moon.
D. Jordan Redhawk was raised in Idaho, and now lives and writes in Portland, OR. She is the author of several novels, including her latest, Inner Sanctuary. It is book three in The Sanguire series and is available now from Bella Books. D. Jordan donated a book for the 2012 Hootenanny. (source of image, re-sized here)
Why can’t you ever ask easy questions like what’s your favorite color or how can we achieve world peace?
There are so many women that, had I binders, they would make those alluded to in the presidential race anemic. Every woman who’s ever written a book, especially those who did so back in the days when women weren’t supposed to be writers.I’m guessing implicit in your question is three specific women, however.
- My mother. She worked as a maid to help put herself through college, the only one of her eight siblings to get a degree. She believed fiercely in reading and education. If there anything I could change in life it would have been for her to lived long enough to see me publish a book, the dream she passed on.
- My partner, Gillian. We make each other laugh and we talk about ideas. Since neither of us chose well-paying careers, we definitely inspire each other to keep working.
- All those woman writers. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Jane Austen. She has a wicked sense of humor and she managed something very rare, the believable happy end.
JM Redmann is a Lambda Award winning author and avid avoider of the state of Kansas. Her latest novel, Ill Will, is available now from Bold Strokes Books. JM has donated a book for the 2012 Hootenanny. (source of image, re-sized here)
- My grandmother, Ella Mae. She was a loving nurse, doting grandmother, and still loved by all who knew her. And she had this remarkable way of cutting you down to quivering crumbs without a single cuss word leaving her mouth.
- Lucille Ball. Who in the world didn’t want to be Lucille Ball? She was funny, entertaining, strong, quick-witted, and never took crap from Ricky. (like my grandmother)
- My wife, Rose. She has the most beautiful soul and loves with every ounce inside her. I’m the luckiest person alive to have found her. 17 years later, I still won’t loosen that chain. *snicker*
Larkin Rose lives with her wife and five thousand (give or take) children in the great state of South Carolina (Not North. She will correct you if you get it wrong.). She is the author of several erotic romance novels. The latest, Kiss the Rain, is available now from Bold Strokes Books. Larkin Rose has a book in the 2012 Hootenanny, up for grabs! (source of image, re-sized here)
The three inspirational women in My Binder:
- My Grandmother, Mary B. Badger – born without a father, came to the Midwest from Vermont, in a wagon with her mother, six brothers and sisters. First person in generations of her family to attend college and become a midwife. She and my grandfather raised ten children—and me. Always determined, energetic, and smiling. The kindest person I’ve ever known.
- Eleanor Roosevelt – believed that women could do it all (and we can). Never quit, no matter what the circumstances. Used her position and money to open women from all parts of our society. My grandmother’s heroine. Smart, witty, and genuine.
- Shirley Chisholm – I always wrote her name in when I voted and didn’t like the other candidate. First African American woman to be elected to Congress, served seven terms, 1969-1983. Authored the child care bill that passed both House and Senate and Richard Nixon vetoed. Survived three assassination attempts. Most inspirational speech I’ve ever seen and heard in person, and wrote a great book.
At this point in time, there’d only be three pages in my binder.
- The first page would be colored with my gram. I credit her for helping me to keep my sanity during my childhood. She taught me forgiveness and how to be generous to a fault, even to the people who tried so hard to cut me down. I still miss her terribly.
- The second page would be devoted completely to my wonderful wife, Linda. She has stuck by me for over 30 years, through thick and thin. When we met, I was painfully shy and with her love and support I was able to overcome much of it and develop into the person I am today. In a way, she took up where my gram left off when she passed.
- I’m going to jump outside the box for number three. When I was a kid, my parents got us our first horse. Feathers (still sticking with the female subject. ) was a big black quarter horse mare. When we got her, she was too fat for a saddle. She was incredibly patient and taught me how to ride bareback, only changing to a faster gait when she knew I was ready for it. During our rides she took me to faraway woods and fields, allowing me the freedom to dream. Through her, I learned the purest of connections with animals.
Laurie Salzler lives on a farm — her own personal nature preserve — in Michigan with her partner and a variety of animals. Her debut novel is A Kiss Before Dawn. Her second is due out in early 2013. Laurie has put a book up for the 2012 Hootenanny. (source for image, re-sized here)
There are so many inspirational women in my binder, many I have been friends or family with but others that I admired from afar. But to narrow it down to three I will go with:
- Pat Summitt, my personal hero for her integrity, contribution to women’s sports and her courage. I have watched her for 30 years and she has never lessened my admiration for her.
- Joni Mitchell for being one of the most incredible artists of my generation. She inspired me to become a musician and her music has made my life better.
- Finally, all the women I have loved. Every one contributed to who I am, made me a stronger person and lives on in my heart and soul every day.
- My Mother—She told the best stories, with that lyrical Irish accent, and we never cared that we’d hear the same ones, over and over. In fact, my sisters and I would correct her—‘Mom, that’s not what Kathleen O’Rourke did last time you told the story! “Yera, girls, ye don’t know what yer talkin’ about!” she’d say, “There were two Kathleen O’Rourkes in Killorglin, and this is about the other one.” Her brogue would thicken, her blue eyes would sparkle, and we knew damn well there was only one Kathleen O’Rourke in Killorglin, but we let her get away with it because then she had to make that “character” slightly different, and—YES! New characters!
- Nancy Drew—Although not exclusively written by women, the first dozen or so were, and I devoured the series and re-read the mysteries many times. I identified with Nancy’s independence and curiosity, and of course, I lusted over her blue convertible roadster.
- Louisa May Alcott—Little Women was the first book I recall having a visceral, emotional reaction to. I didn’t want it to end. I loved the world Alcott created, and I suspect my interest in reading (and later writing) historical began with Little Women.
T.T. Thomas’ first novel is The Blondness of Honey. You can find out more about it at her website, or at Amazon.
- Helen Thayer, author of Three Among the Wolves and other books. Because she reminds me of the importance of travel and learning and experiencing life and pushing yourself beyond your limits — no matter what your age.
- Anne Kursinski, USET (United States Equestrian Team) member and Grand Prix rider. I could have picked any of a number of women who are successful in the equestrian world — where men and women compete on completely equal footing — and who have been my idols since I was young. They helped me grow up with the knowledge that gender has no role in ability and that strength is a state of mind. Anne is a personal favorite because she never followed the crowds or popular opinions — she forged her own way and stood firm in her beliefs. She is a woman of integrity, and I aspire to be like her.
- My mom. From her battles to protect animals and the environment to her personal — and successful — battle against cancer, she taught me to fight hard and relentlessly for my beliefs. To believe in myself and never change for anyone else. To truly value the things that make me unique. She gave me so many gifts, and she made me the woman I am today.
Above all else, Karis Walsh is an animal lover. When she’s able to tear herself away from her horses (and goats and dogs and…), she does a little writing. Her latest release, Worth the Risk, is available now from Bold Strokes Books. (source of image, re-sized here)