FIRST THOUGHT: On Women and Literature
The literary world wasn’t so friendly to women back in the day. Women would often use male pen names when submitting work to publishers. Men didn’t think women added much to the literary landscape. (Cue eye roll.)
Some of the most prominent writers used pseudonyms, like one of my favorites, Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women. That’s even true today. Did you know that marketers urged Harry Potter author Joanne Rowling to use initials instead of her first name so boys would read Rowling’s books?
In many facets of life, women have to pretend to be someone they aren’t. Let’s spend today being who we really are.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 15
I love waking up in the morning and sharing a positive statistic with you. The 2015 Larger Literary Landscape Count analyzed 26 publications, and found that 15 of them published as many (or more) bylines by women as men.
That means women are finally being credited for their work. We’re moving on up in the world, ladies!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Babette Hughes, Author
Author Babette Hughes wrote her first story at 12 years old. It didn’t take long before she got published, in 1963. Now, this 93-year-old writer has published countless crime novels about her salacious family history and numerous articles about the female experience.
Hughes has led a life as gripping as the characters in her crime novels. Her father was murdered when Hughes was only 2 years old, a fact her mother kept secret. Hughes left home and married as fast as she could, settling for an abusive husband. In 2000, she wrote a sincere memoir about her history and learning to accept the cards she’d been dealt.
Hughes has written her thoughts on writing, politics and aging for Huffington Post. But what’s perhaps most paramount is a six-piece narrative about her battle with breast cancer. As she expresses feelings of humiliation and fury, her prowess with the pen makes you feel like you’re sitting next to her as she suffers through 35 radiation treatments.
One of the most commendable things about Hughes is how active of a writer she is. I think once I hit my 90s, I’ll be sufficiently worn out! But not Hughes.
Hughes writes every single day. She says the secret to a long life is to accept it all: the good, the bad, the ugly. Once you accept that you only have one shot at this whole life thing, you are more accepting of yourself and the world around you.
We all have a lot to learn from Hughes. I hope she never stops telling her story.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Hughes has led a rich life and isn’t afraid to do as she pleases. I bet she would love this quote by world-renowned Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. He said:
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.
To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.