Researching Amongst Sisters
Before you can write you must read but before you can read you must be taught and before you can be taught you must find a kind and gentle teacher (or few) and that is why it all takes time.
When I started writing my book I didn’t have a clue how it would end up (and still don’t although I do have a pretty good idea now). You see, I come from the school of thought that when you wake up with a slither of a good idea you just get on your boots, roll up your sleeves and start working. Through experiments, toil and mostly thanks to observations and realizations made possible by the passing of time your good ideas start to gel while the bad ones run out of momentum – I guess you could say it is the ‘plate spinning philosophy of life’. This philosophy has served me well as while I have broken many a plate and confused a great deal of onlookers in the process I have always got to exactly where I NEEDED to be (and when you have no IDEAL end point in mind at the beginning I think that is a perfectly swell place to wind up).
So, here I sit, manuscript in hand feeling that while it is probably not yet ‘perfect’ it is complete in the sense that I have found what I was looking for, I answered my own question and I now have a clear idea of what to do next. I realize now that what I was trying to do was rectify my position in the ‘sisterhood’ a place that had always felt like more of a prickly blanket and a snug life-giving force before. I had often wondered why I felt like that and through writing the book the reasons began to present themselves one by one: I had sisters myself and had felt the dichotomy of female companionship and pain in equal measures and was confused. I was a mother and loved my work and as such have been the recipient of female finger-pointing and ‘oh I could NEVER leave my children like you do’ commentary. I work in an industry that perpetuates and often celebrates the cult of the barbified woman and yet I sit often bra-less and Birkenstock-footed with who-cares hair and smile self-confidently not caring about my wrinkling forehead or the passing of years. Finally I have always struggled with the idea of the ‘selfless and nurturing’ feminine ideal as it seems to me to need a partner of strength and a sense of self – things that I have never struggled to find within me but have struggled to find social acceptance of.
Writing the book did more than give me examples that I was doing ok (I didn’t start this to gain acceptance from others) and should just not worry, it gave me evidence that all of those feelings are natural and that being a women and living an honest and authentic life amongst sisters required that these social norms were challenged in an intelligent and a back-to-basics way and so I got reading.
As the project comes to an end and the next phase cranks into gear I am reminded that I am only at the beginning of my journey towards beauty, love and acceptance. My journey thus far has taken me deep into other cultures, religions, philosophies and political groups. It has involved learning and experiencing the performing arts in a way that I had glossed over before and has led me to some amazing and truly inspirational women. But what is most amazing is that it has led me closer to you, my partners in humanity whoever you are.
I am happy with where the book has led me but am all to aware that it is but an introduction into a world of possibilities many of which I am still ignorant about and that is why the book needs YOU. Amongst Sisters is our story, our wisdom and our future so let’s share and celebrate our beauty together and carry the story onwards, upwards and outwards as we seek to reclaim our sense of self and celebrate all that we are and can be.
You will be able to pre-order copies of the book very shortly and it should be available to buy before August 2011. Keep posted for more information.