(Note: This post was updated on March 10, 2018 and again on June 27, 2021. I would never write a post this long today, but consider this a creature of its time.)
I came to a realization last evening that the writers I most enjoy reading on the web are (almost) all women.
And once I came to that realization, I began thinking about my favorite writers you probably don’t know, but should. Five names quickly popped into my head and just like that, this blog post was born.
These women are very different, but there is wisdom to be found in each one’s work. I have regular communication and interaction with three but have met all five. Three are teachers (and one of the three teaches writing in Hawaii, Havana, Paris, and Washington — I’m assuming she doesn’t get paid much, but there are other benefits!). One is a former colleague at work who is still early in her craft. The other is my former Rector. All five make a living — one way or the other — with their writing. Four of the five have blogs, which you’ll see to the right under my category of Reading Well: Writers I Enjoy.
So let me introduce you to these five wise writers.
Deborah Meister is the former Rector at St. Alban’s Parish in Washington, DC, where the Browns have been members since 1998 and Deborah was Rector from 2011 – 2017. She is the former Rector of Christ Church in New Brunswick, N.J. and a graduate of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. And while her title was Rector – and she does all the duties associated with being in charge of a large urban parish admirably – I also thought of Deborah as our own “writer in residence.”
When Frank Wade – one of the great preachers in the Episcopal Church (or any church, for that matter) – retired after more than two decades at St. Alban’s, I thought I’d never again have the opportunity to read and hear thoughtful, challenging, and serious sermons and essays from one individual on a regular basis again in my life. For let’s face it, many priests (and certainly most “preachers”) are Johnny one-notes with a limited worldview. But when Deborah entered our life more than two years ago, it was clear that we had landed a remarkable talent who – on top of everything else – was a very good writer!
Deborah’s sermons are consistently strong and often terrific. She has an economy of language that those of us of a certain age sitting in very hard pews appreciate. She can be very funny, as with her opening paragraphs of this December 1st, 2013 sermon:
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ (Ps 122)
Yesterday, a ritual took place in my old home of Alabama. It began early in the morning, or even before the first light, when men woke to prepare the sacramental foods: chili, grilled meat, and cold beer. It continued with women and children putting on ceremonial vestures in shades of crimson and burnt orange. Together, they packed their cars, then headed in droves for congested highways, traveling for hours to the sacred (or unholy) town of Auburn.
When they arrived, thousands opened their vehicles, gathered around their tailgates to partake of the ritual meal and it’s attendant libations, then streamed into the house of worship, sang stirring music that gathered them together into one people before the start of The Offering. They plunged in wholeheartedly, hanging with bated breath upon the fortunes of their brothers upon the field of honor, crying out with a mighty roar when they saw moments of excellence or of tragedy. For a few hours, they were One People, with one common purpose, united in heart and mind and strength — and when they went home, they went renewed (at least if they were from Auburn).
I still remember my surprise when I moved to Birmingham. I thought (with some anxiety) that I was moving to the Bible Belt, where they worshiped Jeezus; I found I had moved to the Gridiron Belt. I learned that 20,000 people came to watch the high school games in my town (that’s 20,000 out of a local population of 20,300), that we needed to tape a football schedule to every computer monitor in the parish so that we didn’t accidentally plan something at church against a big game. Parish legend told of a time that a wedding had been scheduled against the Iron Bowl; the church was booked, the reception planned, the invitations in the mail, when the groom realized what they had done — and changed it to another day, service and reception and all. (A note to any of you planning to get married: if your future spouse tries anything like that, think twice!) But the groom had realized one thing: that on Iron Bowl day in Alabama, the wedding wasn’t going to be anyone’s first priority — not even his.
Priorities, of course, are what I’m talking about. What drew half the state to Auburn yesterday is the same thing that drew ancient Israel to gather themselves to the Temple three times a year for the great holy festivals of Israel: those gatherings gave them their identity, welded them together into one people, lifted them from the petty concerns of their lives and made them part of a great people united around a common purpose — to be the people of God. They were God’s team — the ones who wore God’s fringes and played by God’s rules and won God’s battles against the teams of other gods.
We don’t like to use language like that today; it sounds jingoistic, as if we’re saying that other people are not God’s team. (That’s not what I’m saying; we’ll come back to that later.) But there’s a lot in that framework that rewards examination…”
One day after the classic Iron Bowl game (remember, this was the game that Auburn won by returning a field goal attempt 107 yards on the final play), she had captured it perfectly and set us up for a lesson.
Deborah’s sermons are very good and I’ll often go back and read excerpts, but I really enjoy reading her shorter posts such as she now posts in her blog Seeking the Sacred. One posted in 2013 in the parish blog, entitled Trust is a good example of how, in a few short paragraphs, she challenges my assumptions and makes me think.
“Last Tuesday, I woke long before dawn to catch a plane and travel to Boston, where I was going to make my annual retreat. I had not slept well the night before, and was pretty bleary-eyed by the time I got to security, which may explain what happened next. The TSA agent looked at my ticket and muttered something like, ‘Are you acquainted with TSA pre-check?’ Oh, boy, I thought. Here we go again. The pulling aside, the pat-down, people going through my luggage, looking at my private things…. ‘Uh, hunh,’ I muttered, and moved on.
When I came toward the body scanners, the TSA agent called out, ‘She’s pre-check!’ and they waved me through. I stood there a few minutes, waiting for someone to come to me with a wand and conduct the search, but nobody paid me any attention. Finally, I shrugged, collected my things, and continued to the boarding area, where I flipped out my smartphone to try to figure out what had just happened. It turned out that pre-check was a status that got you out of being searched. I sat there in shock, imagining all the bad people who might now be able to get onto a plane. Finally, a word drifted into my mind, a word I do not usually associate with travel: trust. I was reeling because I had been given trust.
It came to me then that our world is not ordered by trust, or for trust. Our travel, our commerce, even our marriages, all seem to have been taken over by contingency planning in case we fail one another or do not meet our obligations. We have pre-nuptual agreements, lawsuits, security screenings — all designed to hold us accountable for the malice in our hearts.
How does this culture shape the way we think about God? Too often, perhaps, we imagine God as The Enforcer, a kind of psychotic Santa Claus who makes lists of every mistake we make, every bad thought we have, so that he can present us with an eternal lump of coal on the great Day of Judgment.
But what if God’s not like that at all? What if God is not an Enforcer to be feared, but an admirer to be loved? What if God trusts us, really trusts us, and is making lists every day of all the ways we have been hurt, of all the extenuating circumstances in our lives, of all the ways we can be let off the hook? What if God has already decided to embrace us, just because God loves us?
Then you’d have to call him Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us.
God with us. Think about it.”
Deborah, along with the final two writers in this very long post, also had a recent piece about the snow and winter. I want to share all three posts so you can see how different viewpoints can come together around one topic. Here is Deborah’s recent Snow Day:
“When I was a child, I prayed for them. Lazy days with heaps of snow, enough to make snow men and snow angels and to flying down the big sledding hill in Chinquapin Park.
When I got to college, I realized — to my shock — that there were none. If you lived on campus (and pretty much all of us did), there was no reason not to hold class. We made up for it, though, with the Freshmen Snowball Fight: hundreds of us out on the lawn between our dorms, and snowballs flying every which way, hitting it-mattered-not-whom. And the laughter, it revived the heart.
Many years later, when I moved to Connecticut from LA, that first good snowfall I walked for miles with my dog in the darkness, all the sounds muffled, the trees and lawns and porches sparkling like diamonds in the streetlights. It was a kind of coming home.
Today, the streets were empty in DC, the schools shuttered, the government offices empty. Driving out early to run a necessary errand that took me out into the Maryland countryside, it came to me that snow days are the closest thing we have, these days, to Sabbath. They confront us with the limits on what we can do, sideline us from our daily activities, help us to see that the world really does go on without us for a day. They liberate us from the insistent clamor of voices telling us what we ‘must’ do, ‘right now.’
For some people, of course, this was no day off. The plow drivers, the EMTs in the ambulances, the emergency room staff, power company workers, all of these found that their work was crucial. Give thanks for them. But, if you are not one of them, savor your time. It is a gift.
It is always a gift, of course. That’s what days like this one show us: the great grace just to be alive, that we do not have to earn it by the sweat of our brow, that it is God’s wish that you enjoy your days on this good earth.
What did you do with your empty hands, your empty time? Did you savor the gift?”
Our mission statement — and coffee cups—- at St. Alban’s say that “We welcome the faithful, the seeker, and the doubter….” I often find myself in those last two categories, but I appreciate the fact that Deborah’s words – written and spoken – still have meaning for me.
Elizabeth Bobrick has made an appearance before in More to Come… when I came across one of my favorite sports essays that isn’t really about sports. Her Oriole Magic is a terrific piece of writing about a PhD classics student at Johns Hopkins (Bobrick) who stumbles across the endlessly fascinating game of baseball in the midst of a Baltimore Oriole drive to the World Series and – in the process – discovers something about herself. Our family had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth and her husband at Wesleyan University, where she is now a classics professor, while the twins were on the college search. We’ve sent an occasional email back-and-forth over time. Elizabeth received her PhD in Classical Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in Fiction, Salon, Creative Nonfiction, in the anthologies The Anatomy of Baseball and The City as Comedy, and other publications. She has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Missouri, and Wesleyan University.
Elizabeth’s website can be found here. You should take the time to read Oriole Magic, an excerpt from a forthcoming memoir entitled The Myth of the Moon, and a wonderfully funny piece of Elizabeth’s entitled Die Santa! Die! This last one fits perfectly with my world view (we even had the same remedy to Santa, which is to emphasize St. Nicholas Day), and you’ll get a taste of it in this excerpt:
“The once innocent saint who put candy in children’s shoes on Dec. 6th and encouraged secret acts of kindness has long since become the incarnate spirit of getting. He is a debased pusher for that peculiarly American idea that you get more things, more toys, more clothes, more candy, because you are “good,” not because it just turned out that way due to matters of chance, such as what kind of job, or values, your parents have.
Case in point. Last year, we were visiting friends a few days after Christmas. ‘Look what Santa brought me!’ cried the sole child occupant of the household, gesturing toward her playroom, an Ali Baba cave of new toys. Our eldest daughter, then 7, mentally compared her own ample but relatively modest stack, and sighed, almost to herself, ‘I guess I wasn’t that good this year.’
You could have knocked me over. ‘You’re not that good any year!’ I wanted to shout. ‘Neither is Lily! No kid is!’
Where had our daughter gotten the idea that if she’d been better behaved, she’d get more presents? Not from my husband or me. We’d never waged an active anti-Santa campaign, but neither had we ever told her that being ‘good’ made you Santa’s special friend. We left her on her own to figure out what she’d like to believe about Santa. Big mistake.
Now Mr. Ho Ho Ho had made my daughter feel bad. This brought on the mother bear response, one which I could growl only internally: ‘Die, Santa. Die.’
But what could I tell her? The truth? ‘Lily has more presents than you do because her daddy walked out on her mommy and feels guilty; her mommy is trying to show her that life without daddy will be just as nice; and her mommy’s mommy and her daddy’s mommy are trying to show who’s the best grandma.’ Or should I just let it go with a Mae West-ian ‘Goodness had nothing to do with it.’”
Every now and then I just pop Elizabeth’s name into my Google search and see what comes up. It is always worth the time.
Janet Hulstrand is a dear friend who is a writer, editor,and teacher based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her essays and articles have been published in Bonjour Paris, the Christian Science Monitor, International Educator, Smithsonian.com and many other publications. Since 1997 she has created, directed, and taught literature courses for the Education Abroad programs at Hunter and Queens Colleges of the City University of New York in Paris, Hawaii, Florence, and Cuba: she also teaches literary and cultural classes at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC. Janet is the co-director of The Essoyes School, and she blogs at Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. Janet has recently joined the Brown family for Christmas Day dinners, and this is a tradition that – from our point of view – we hope she continues for a long time. Talking with Janet – even when you haven’t seen her for months – is always a joy. She is so thoughtful, and her worldview is so wide.
Janet’s most recent blog post is a wonderful remembrance of her friend — the ex-pat Parisian poet — James A. Emmanuel. Janet struck up a friendship with Emmanuel when he would come and read to her students. This is a lovely, and loving, tribute.
I’ve also enjoyed talking with Janet about her recent trips to Havana to teach a course entitled Cuba: A Literary Adventure. My experience in Havana dates to November of 2001, when I spent a week in the city with several preservation colleagues to meet with Cuban officials and discuss conservation issues in the old city. Janet’s essay, Lessons Learned in Cuba takes as its jumping off point a comment made to her by a client just before her first trip: “You’ll love it, and it will break your heart.”
“Some of the lessons you learn in Cuba can’t really be learned until you are home again.
Then, when you have been home less than 24 hours, you realize that you have just spent three weeks in a place where you have heard hardly a cross word, no fighting at all, and have experienced the notable absence of most of the ugly sounds of urban life you are accustomed to as part of the daily background of your life. You realize you have spent three weeks in a place where there is just much less ambient tension in the air than what you’re used to.
That is because you realize that in the space of the past hour your body has tensed up, as you absorb the negative energy of an aggressive driver practically running you off the road, laying on his horn as he tears past you; that the couple arguing angrily as they close up the iron grate of a store you are walking by, has caused a kind of general fear of imminent violence, and tension, to reenter your life. You can feel your breathing becoming labored, your heart racing. You realize that this life is no good for you, or for anyone.
It is then that you remember what one little Cuban boy chose to say, when asked by one of your students what message he would like to send with her to New York. ‘Aqui nosotros no estamos tan bien: pero estamos felizes.’ (‘Here, we’re not doing so well: but we’re happy.’)
Coming from a country where the reverse is so often true–we are awash in wealth and everything that money can buy, and we’re still not happy–these words go right straight to the heart.
Read the entire essay. It is thought-provoking, as all good writing should be.
The other thing I like about Janet is that she regularly comments on posts I put on More to Come…. I only wish I could write as well as these five women, but I tend to dash off my posts without taking the time to polish them, and I don’t have the innate skill that let’s me get away with such sloppiness. But Janet — bless her heart — always has a kind word that just makes my day!
Julia Rocchi was a colleague of mine at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her personal tagline when we worked together was “Big hair, big mouth, big plans.” And while I haven’t seen the middle attribute, I admire Julia’s passion and love for life and her writing.
A graduate of Syracuse and a current graduate student in writing, Julia — like me — has a personal blog where she can contemplate life outside of work. Unlike me, she works on her craft and posts regularly. When I take the time to browse through her recent posts, I always find something that makes me stop and think. Julia writes under the Italian Mother Syndrome moniker and explains her malady as follows:
“Italian Mother Syndrome, more commonly known as IMS. To my knowledge, I am one of the only young women out there afflicted with this rare, untreatable disease.
I was diagnosed with IMS as early as high school. Symptoms included doorway-wide hips, a moustache like my mother’s, and my persistent clarion call of ‘Eat something!!!’ My friends started to suspect something was amiss when I kept getting cast as mothers, old women, and tough broads in school theatrical productions. Thank God they were paying attention–I thought all young women with any sense acted this way. Turns out I was wrong.
In the years since, I’ve slowly come to accept my situation. True, I worry about everything and everybody constantly. I fawn over every baby that crosses my lap. I will prepare fresh, healthy food for anyone whose stomach makes so much as a peep. I adore hugging people, and then smacking them. I was recently cast as a 40-year-old woman in a community play. (The man who played my 18-year-old son was 10 years older than me in real life.) I would rather be married than date. And I will never be a size 2.
But when all is said and done, IMS isn’t such a bad thing to have. It’s made me passionate, earthy, loving, and dedicated. Nobody’s complained about all the free meals and hugs. I’ll take it.
Now for god’s sakes, mangia. (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what am I gonna do witchoo …”
My wife came from a family with an Italian father and an Irish mother. (A mixed marriage!) I get it.
Julia’s recent Poem for a Snowy Day is the second of three winter-themed posts I’ve included:
The Snowflakes’ Exhortation
We’re urging you to please hang up the day.
Yes, leave it there, beside the entranceway,
no bother if it puddles on the floor.
Hang up your schedule, your to-the-minute plans,
come back outside and downward drift with us
instead, come join our dainty slam dance.
Wind, all tug-of-war tyrannical,
will bellow, try to grab our thin barbed arms
but fail: You can’t contain the infinite.
Our invitation’s in the whispered whoosh,
our rushing, hushing hurtle toward the earth
that never ends in craters or kabooms.
What comes down can’t go up, we like to say.
Accumulate with us, then. Settle in.
Prayer #270: Snow Day
No quiet like snow quiet, an icy genteel finger landing on your lips to signal you to hush. Hush your worries, hush your fears, just watch … watch the swirling curling, the disorderly design, the tiny specks that mine what little light is left and stir dim hours.
May peace be to our hearts what snow is to our eyes — chaos frozen to magnify perfection.
The prayer at the end is one of Julia’s touches that I enjoy most about her writing. She puts her thoughts together and offers them up. Like most of the women writers I enjoy, Julia tackles the mundane (e.g., why she hates to frame pictures and hang them on the wall), love (e.g., the dating contract), and life in a way that imparts some wisdom along the way. When I’m reading Julia I have a sense (but just a sense, as she’s a bit older) of what Andrew and Claire are going through as they grow into adulthood. Having worked with Julia for a while now, I just hope Andrew and Claire approach their lives with the same passion and wonder.
Robyn Ryle and I have met only once, briefly, when she was the speaker at the final session of our National Main Street Conference in Baltimore. Robyn is a sociologist who has written for the Boston Literary Magazine, Little Indiana Quarterly Magazine, and Offbeat Families, among others, and is the author of the textbook Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration which grew out of her teaching experiences at Hanover College. I can’t tell you how many “gender” discussions we’ve had with Andrew and Claire around the dining room table over the past four years (the number is higher than I can count on two hands), so I’m thinking I should pick up the new edition of Robyn’s textbook that comes out this spring.
The main reason I return again and again to Robyn’s blog – You Think Too Much — is because I was hooked on her writing through the wonderful talk she gave at the Main Street Conference: The Corner Store and the Coffee Shop: Sociological Reflections on Place. She says what I always want to say in my work and writing – only Robyn is much more articulate. You owe it to yourself to read the entire essay, but here’s a snippet:
“Thank you all so much for having me here today. It’s good to be in a room full of people who love place, appreciate place and are working to build great places.
I’m here because I’m a sociologist who studies places and community. But I’m a sociologist who studies places and communities because I’m personally obsessed with places and people and the connections between those things. I loved places long before I loved sociology, and in fact, my love for places is part of what led me to sociology.
I’m a placist. This is a word invented by a friend of mine-Sara Patterson-who is a historian of religion and is also obsessed with place, but with place and religion…with sacred places. Placist is not in the dictionary….yet. I give you all permission to start using it freely. There is a word in the dictionary that describes love of place. Topophila. Topophilia is a good enough word, but I think topophilia sounds like a disease. Like something you contract or a kind of madness. ‘I’m sorry, I can’t come today. I’ve come down with topophilia.’ Or, ‘I’m a topophiliac.’
I like placist instead. It is an ideological stance. It is a conviction, a passion, a movement you choose to align yourself with. It is an ‘ist.’ My students today are very scared of ‘ists’ and ‘isms,’ but I believe we need more ‘ists’ in the world. I am a feminist. An environmentalist. An anti-racist. A place-ist. I am unapologetically committed to places. My love for them sometimes makes me inarticulate, so let me warn you. Sometimes I think there are no words good enough for places and what they do.
It’s the end of the conference, and I’m sure you’re on the brink of information overload, so I’m not going to stand up here and summarize sociological research for you. Instead, I’m going to talk about my own experiences with places and how those experiences are informed by my sociological perspective. As a sociologist, I’m interested in how places shape social life. So, I ask questions about how places shape our social interactions and the kind of communities in which we live. I’m interested in how places create or contribute to existing inequalities and in how places shape our identities, the way we understand who we are and how we fit into the world. So I’m going to start with the place I’m from and end where the place I live now and consider some of the sociological questions raised by these locations. I want to think about what the places we create, and the places we preserve and the places we love say about us as people.”
Robyn goes on to describe how an old corner store, since demolished for a parking lot in her hometown, shaped her – and her story reminds me so much of the grocery store that was in a converted church building just down the street from my grandmother’s house in Franklin. I’ve referenced that store in talks I’ve given over the years and even in a More to Come… blog post, but never as effectively as Robyn does here.
Now it would be nice to include Robyn because she happened to write something once that touches on both my professional life and personal history…but that wouldn’t be enough to get her into my Wise Women Writers post. Nope, she’s here because she has these great little vignettes on You Think Too Much that perfectly capture life in a small town. Robyn lives in Madison, Indiana, one of the country’s great Main Street communities. For fifteen years, I lived in Staunton, Virginia, another of the country’s great Main Street communities and a place I miss about once a week. I get what Robyn is writing about in her Madison Monday posts. And there is a lot of wisdom in these often humorous tales of life away from the coasts. Just read the short piece on driving the speed limit, and you’ll probably be hooked as well.
“Today I picked up my book of daily yoga and read, ‘Today, drive the speed limit.’ That was all.
It wasn’t very profound compared to other days when I’ve contemplated gratefulness or stated out loud my intention for the day or cultivated my inner child. Just, ‘Drive the speed limit.’ I guess if you’re coming up with a different yoga meditation for every day of the year, you might very well run dry by October, I thought.
I am not what you would call a speed demon. I certainly drive faster than my husband. I’ll admit that sometimes when I’m riding with him I stare at the speedometer pointedly, and he is kind enough to ignore me. I am one of those people who is annoyed if the person in front of me on the road is driving the actual speed limit. ‘Who do they think they are?’ I wonder. ‘Don’t they know that you’re supposed to go at least 5-10 miles over the speed limit? It’s, like, a rule.’
But my book of daily yoga has not led me astray yet, so I got in the car and drove the speed limit. Thirty miles an hour on 2nd Street downtown, which was not so hard. Thirty miles an hour on Main Street was harder, but I did it. I slowed down. And I thought.
When someone drives slow in front of me, I get angry. I feel they have violated some inherent right of mine to go fast. To get to the next place. To move on. To get it over with and on to the next thing. Driving the speed limit it occurred to me that this is crazy.
First, I have no god-given right to go fast and, second, why do I want to? What’s the rush?”
In Five Reasons Why This Winter Will Be the Death of Me, Robyn takes a little harder-edged look at snow than the earlier posts by Deborah and Julia…and I love her for posting a picture of a snow-covered tree with the caption “Okay, this is gorgeous, but the rest sucks.” Of course, our snow will eventually go away (maybe) here in DC. In the Midwest, you are in it for the long haul. Robyn’s five reasons?
“- The house smells like cabbage and probably will until April. My husband’s idea for our winter salvation was a slow cooker, which I’m all behind. The problem arises from a marked difference of opinion on the subject of cabbage. I feel it’s the scourge of the vegetable world. He does not. Regardless, I’m stuck with the smell of cabbage until we can open the windows again–April if we’re lucky.
– A little part of me dies every time I sit down on the ice-cold toilet seat. A friend did direct me towards this solution, which I’m seriously considering.
– Our child might never go to school again. And, you know, I’m totally concerned about how this affects her education and her own sense of well-being. The social deprivation and all that. But mostly, I’m just worried about how I will hold onto my sanity. The beautiful thing about schools is that they take your children away for big chunks of the day, and this is good for everyone. I’m considering giving the road crews my phone number and offering to help.
– Everything is harder in winter. There are whole weeks when I can’t open the back door to my car. Buckling your seat belt over a bulky coat and four layers of clothes becomes a not-very-funny physical comedy routine. My husband and I can’t hold hands when we walk around town for fear one of us will slip on the ice and pull the other one down with them. It takes 30 minutes to get your car scraped and warm enough to move anywhere.
– I almost stopped writing and, yes, I blame it on winter. And maybe the form rejection I got from my favorite literary magazine. And that horrible feeling you have when you know your current work in progress needs yet another edit, and will need another edit after that, and another–you get the idea. All of this seems harder to bear in winter, especially a winter with no end in sight.
But, thank god, this isn’t Game of Thrones, and the winter will end eventually (right?). And I have not stopped writing. Like a car in subzero temperatures, it takes a little longer to get going, but I putter along. In the meantime, if you see me and catch a whiff of cabbage, you’ll know why.”
A woman who hates cabbage and can even throw in a Game of Thrones mention — what’s not to like!
There you have it: five very different writers, at different points in their career, but who all have something to say. Thanks to Elizabeth, Janet, Deborah, Julia, and Robyn. And keep writing.
More to come…