Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mar/Apr book! Women Who Run With the Wolves

Dear Our Shared Shelf,

When WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES was first published in 1993, it created a furore about the idea of the Wild Woman archetype and how women had lost our connection to our natural, instinctual selves. Jungian psychoanalyst, poet, and keeper of old stories Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book went to sell over 2 million copies, but today her fascinating book is rarely discussed. Estes’ ideas are both ancient and completely new. She points to storytelling, our ancient narratives, as a way for women to reconnect to the Wild Woman all women have within themselves, but have lost. 

As a young girl growing up in northern Michigan, Estes felt most at home in the woods where she often heard wolves howling. Instead of scaring her, the animals’ cries comforted her in a way she was later able to express in this book. Wolves and women share many qualities: playfulness, strength, curiosity, bravery, they are adaptive, and each care deeply for their young. But both wolves and women have suffered a similar fate of being hounded, harassed, exhausted, marginalized, accused of being devious and of little value. How does one reconnect with our deepest, most true selves when today’s world demands us to conform to ridiculous expectations? Estes retells ancient myths and fairy tales from around the world and in doing so shines a light on a path which leads us back to our natural state --- and help us restore the power we carry within us.

Emma x 

100,000 Members!

I didn't know what to expect when I started this Book Club. To have 100k members in less than a month is amazing and for this I am so grateful but even more amazing is the level at which I see these topics being engaged with and discussed and how generous people are being with their responses and insights into the material. This is what is meaningful to me. Then more recently to look on Instagram and literally see people from all over the world coming together to discuss these issues in groups, over Skype, in person, mothers and daughters, friends, selfies, pictures of cats and dogs curled up next to their owners alongside #MyLifeOnTheRoad, peoples' favourite reading snacks.... For this I cannot thank each of you enough because frankly it's just so heart warming. It's so much more than I had allowed myself to imagine it could be. Gloria emphasises in all of her work the need for solidarity and community; we are 'linked not ranked'. If this book club can be that, a link between people, then I've done a good thing and I'm very proud. I'll keep going out there and trying to make this the best it can be, harassing whoever I need to harass to get questions answered or figure out the next best thing to read. 

To celebrate 100k members I've started an Instagram account because I wanted to put all of the amazing images, quotes, pieces of artwork, selfies etc that people have been sending in one place. Take a look: and Facebook Page: 

Thank you again for investing so much and making this what it now is. Love to you all. 

Jan/Feb book! The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Dear Our Shared Shelf,
This book isn't strictly just a book - it's a play that became a political movement that became a world-wide phenomenon. Just say the title The Vagina Monologues and, even now, twenty years after Eve Ensler first performed her ground-breaking show, the words feel radical. I'm very excited about spending the months of January and February reading and discussing a book/play that has literally changed lives.
The first person's life it changed was the feminist playwright Eve Ensler's. She says she didn't so much 'write' her play as act as a conduit for other women's stories. She had become fascinated by how the word 'vagina' was never spoken, and how the vagina itself was kept in the dark as if it was something shameful to discuss. So she started interviewing women about their vaginas - getting them to open up to her. Once women started talking, the stories came thick and fast, and Eve put them together into a series of monologues to be performed on stage.
When the play was first performed in 1996, it was a small, off Broadway production. But soon it began to make huge and controversial waves. It was the time of the Bosnian war and terrible stories were emerging of the systematic rape of Bosnian women. One of the monologues was inspired by these stories, and out of those first performances of The Vagina Monologues grew the V-Day movement to stop violence against women. The first V-Day was on Valentine's Day 1998 when a group of well-known actresses got together to perform Eve's monologues. Since then the V-Day movement has become international, with The Vagina Monologues being performed in theatres and on college campuses worldwide. Even today there are people trying to ban those performances.
I'm so interested to see which monologues we all like best, and which ones still shock us. Has the world moved on in twenty years, or are there still aspects of women's sexuality we can't talk about, through our own fears or because others try to stop us? Do we think art can change the world?

Follow by Email