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#72221 - 01/17/05 02:29 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Such a rich, deep discussion we're having. Thank you everyone! Love the humor as well. [Wink]

Dotsie-- Hate to admit it, but I, too, would probably fall into the nosey camp. Maybe it's being a writer, but I'm intensely curious about people. Doubly so about my family. By the way, I expressed my journal concern to my husband last night, and he just laughed, which, in turn, made me laugh. He said, "Are you kidding? Who's going to read that stuff? It's like a ton of gobbledygook. Sure, I might thumb through it, but that's all."

Still... I don't think I want to take any chances. [Eek!]

Sherri-- I can relate to your story. Like you, I poured my heart and soul into composing personal letters and school essays. But even though I loved writing, I never considered myself a writer. It took me 47+ years to take my joy in the craft seriously.

Evie-- You are so welcome! Here's another insight I had this morning from my scare the other night: So long as there's breath in our bodies, there's hope. As I think I expressed in my original posting about this incident, I couldn't figure out what I could do to start breathing again, to turn the situation around. I had almost no hope. And then, at the very last second, that wisp of air went into my lungs. (I'm so dramatic, aren't I? [Big Grin] )

I used the above line about hope in one of my versions of the introduction to Defying Gravity. (If you don't have the book and want to compare, I think you can read the final version via the "Open This Book" feature on my Amazon.com page.) But it sounded a little trite, so I eventually dismissed it.

Here's how the book originally began:

"Since I began writing about women who discovered their gifts midlife and refused to let go of their dreams, I’ve heard one question again and again: “Do you mean there’s still hope for me?” My answer is always an emphatic yes. So long as there’s breath in our bodies, there’s hope."

Not trite at all! [Big Grin]

Now back to Evie--

Love that you had the courage to announce your goals and be held accountable. Anyone else want to do the same?

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#72222 - 01/17/05 02:35 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Whoops-- I'm getting names mixed up again. (My husband is always tell me I move too fast.) I meant to address Sherri at the end. Also, in response to Evie's question, my answer is that, yes, I'm good at silencing my inner censor. (Maybe too good, as you can see from reading these postings.) That's why I'm worried about my journals. [Eek!]

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#72223 - 01/17/05 05:00 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Evie Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/03
Posts: 791
Loc: Nipigon, Ontario Canada
quote:
Originally posted by Prill:
Whoops-- I'm getting names mixed up again. (My husband is always tell me I move too fast.) I meant to address Sherri at the end.

-whew! scared me for a moment - thought I'd announced some big goals I was going to held accountable for [Razz]

I need to work on silencing the inner censor bit - I think I'd got farther in my journalling if I did.

I was just thinking that it's awfully egotistical of me to think anyone's going to bother reading what I wrote there anyway, isn't it??? [Razz]

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#72224 - 01/18/05 08:03 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I write so I can understand exactly what I'm talking about, but I'm not totally honest because I don't want to hurt feelings of those who may peek. [Wink] I believe that if the kids read honesty as wise adults they would understand my concerns, but as teens they would probably think I'm a wierdo. Does that make sense?

Maybe I think this because Mom always kept a notebook of her daily activities with pieces of conversations about the kids/grandkids, but it wasn't the same kind of journal I keep. Hers was more of an account of what was going on in the family: vacations, games, doctor appts, reminders, etc. I was never interested in them at the time, but now that she been gone three years I hope to take a few days and read every word of her notebooks. It would be a lovely connection to her, and would probably reveal what was most important to her...her family.

My gut wrenching honesty enters when I put my head on the table and am silent with God, always remembering to take time to listen to what He has to say in return. Sometimes I write what I hear Him speaking to clarify how much He loves me in spite of my human traits.

Prill, can we talk about soem of the women in the book? I'd love to.

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#72225 - 01/18/05 08:30 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
YES! How bout Maureen? Yuhooooo Maureeeeennnnn....Her story captured me, can you tell? hahha..

JJ

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#72226 - 01/17/05 10:41 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Dotsie-- Like you, I write so that I can make sense of what I'm feeling. As Wallace Stegner says in his book All the Little Live Things, "How do I know what I think until I see what I say?" And because my kids and stepkids are grown up and no longer around on a regular basis, I don't worry about being totally honest on the page. My husband is both respectful of my privacy and occupied with his own work.

So Evie, while it's true you might get further with your journaling if you censored yourself less--and I can vouch for the benefits of doing so--I think Dotsie has found a good middle ground.

I'd be happy now to talk about the Defying Gravity girls.

JJ, you mentioned Maureen. At 40 or 41 (I can't remember when her birthday is), she's the youngest woman in the book. (The oldest is now 87.) I interviewed her at her home in Jacksonville, FL, and we bonded almost immediately. She and I describe it as having a "soul meld." By the end of the interview, we were completing each other's sentences. [Eek!] She was pregnant and had a big belly. We spent all day together, the last two-thirds of it on her bed having a picnic. During the final segment of the interview, she's sitting in her "depression chair," which she describes in the story. At the time I interviewed her, she wasn't really clear about whether she wanted to stay in her job. Yes, she'd fulfilled her dream of going to Smith College. Yes, she was joyful. And yes, she was comfortable in her skin. But her job as a prosecutor was extraordinarily demanding as well as time consuming. She was understandably worried about how she was going to juggle her work with being a new mom. The good news is that in this past year, at her request, she's been reassigned. She's still a prosecutor, but her current job is much more flexible. She seems very happy.

What else would you like to know?

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#72227 - 01/19/05 08:59 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I felt a closeness to Mary Orlando. I appreciated her desire to have people nest in her home. I loved reading about the renovation and all the comaraderie among the women, family, and friends who helped. She oopened herself up and was graciously blessed.

Also, her tapestry story is one of my favorites. I heard it years ago and have held onto it. I have total faith that God sees the tapestry and we see the side with all the srtings attached and knots.

I loved the ending when she mentioned having been given the gift of strength and confidence. She also mentioned no longer being alone which I think is a big fear for many of us. [Wink]

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#72228 - 01/19/05 05:44 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Dotsie— I intended to post a reply much earlier today, but life intruded. How wonderful! [Big Grin]

You know what I love? I love that each woman in the book is someone’s favorite. That’s what I hoped would happen when I set out to write. I wanted to choose a wide enough cross-section of late-blooming women so that every reader would find at least one story that struck a chord.

I’m so glad you mention Mary Orlando. Her dream of opening a bed & breakfast, as humble as it might appear in comparison to Linda Bach’s (the doctor), Irma Elder’s (the CEO), or Patricia Symonds’ (the anthropologist), is no less important. As is true with these other women, the fruits of Mary’s efforts have rippled outwards, and she’s touched more people—and in a more profound way—than she could have ever imagined. She’s even touched you, Dotsie! To me, she’s an archetypal mother figure, a woman for whom family, followed by church and community, are by far the most important things in her life. These are Mary’s passions, and she's honored them.

Our culture and the media, which both follows society and leads the way, tends to put a value judgment on one’s choice of work and leisure. In its peculiar hierarchy, being a matriarch these days isn’t as lofty a vocation as being a senator or stock broker. But I didn’t want to elevate one person’s choices over another’s. I’m tickled that Evelyn Gregory—at age 71, no less— went from being a retired bank vice president to becoming a flight attendant, whereas Maureen Horkan went from being a flight attendant to becoming a prosecutor. Each person’s dreams are sacred. And, to quote Paulo Coelho, I truly believe that in following them—no matter what they are—we help heal “the soul of the world.”

Ironically, Mary’s divorce, which was initially so devastating, turned out to be a blessing, which is where the tapestry story comes into play.

I visited Mary in August. She was hosting a “barn razing.” The place was filled with family, friends and neighbors working side by side. It was like a scene out of a movie, only better.

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#72229 - 01/19/05 10:37 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Hi everyone!

I'll be out today doing errands, but will check in this evening to see if anyone has posted. Early tomorrow morning I'm leaving for the West Coast for five days, but I'll have my laptop with me and will be able to stay in touch.

Technology is amazing, isn't it? When my youngest son was studying in Sweden last winter, we Instant Messaged almost every day. Even though he was practically on the other side of the world, I felt as though I knew more about what he was up to in Sweden than I do when he’s in Philly. ‘Course with kids, that’s not always a good thing. [Smile]

I’ll leave you this morning with another piece of advice from one of the women in the book. This morsel comes from Jean Karotkin, who started off her interview with me by saying, “My life began the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”

After surviving breast cancer, Jean became a professional photographer. She’s on my mind today because we spoke on the phone yesterday.

Here’s what she wrote: “My photography teacher, mentor and friend Rick Eilers told me from the beginning, ‘Keep it simple.’ He was referring to my camera and lighting equipment and the way I shoot. His advice helped me immensely, especially when I started traveling to photograph my subjects for the book. I was such a beginner to the craft, and keeping it simple allowed me to focus on creating the image with my eye rather than be confused with technical issues. Because I worked without assistance, keeping it simple also meant less equipment to schlep around.”

Keeping it simple is good advice under almost any circumstances.

By the way, let me put in a plug for Jean’s new photography book: Body & Soul. (web page ) Think the best way for me to describe it is to quote from my review on Amazon:

“Ms. Karotkin's powerful photographs truly capture the spirit of her subjects, whose stories of coping with breast cancer are told through brief vignettes. This is an inspiring, provocative book that challenges American ideals of physical perfection and redefines what it means to be beautiful. I imagine Body & Soul will resonate with anyone who has either experienced breast-cancer first-hand or known someone who has; but I hope that all those teenage girls who aren't happy with their bodies will also read this book and take its message to heart.”

P.S. Jaw Jaw-- Has anyone told you lately how cute and loveable you are? [Big Grin]

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#72230 - 01/19/05 11:08 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
why no, they haven't! Well...unless you count when I looked in the mirror this morning and said, "Jaw Jaw--You ar" what? That wasn't what you meant?

Honey, with my friends and family, when someone says "you sure are cute" it usually followed by "ah...can I.."

Know what I mean? hahaha....so thank you Prill...you've just been elevated to APRILLA THE SAINT...

JJ

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