Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Slice of Life

I’m graduating in April. I feel like I’m on the edge of saying good bye to a life I’ve been living for a long time—and I don’t know what my new life is going to be, yet. Teaching. I know that much so far.

I’ve been thinking about my whole life, not just next year. What am I going to do with my whole life? So I’ve been thinking of what’s coming next and what I want my life to be.

I want my life to be full of writing.
I want my life to be full of people: friends and family and neighbors and students
I want my life to be full of books and foreign languages.
I want my life to be a life of airports.
I want my life to be Mormon and Jewish at the same time.
I want my life to be full of the Bible, too full.
I want my life to be like the life of bell hooks. I want to fight something worthwhile.
I want my life to be a life of coming to voice, of saying something important.
I want to my life to be more simple, slower with more laughing moments.
I want my life to be full of music, another way of coming to voice.
I want my life to be within walking distance of Hurva Square.
I want my life to be lots of birthday parties with lots of cousins who are always around.

I want my life to be something I’m living now.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding A Book Treasure

I really shouldn't have ever found this book. I just looking for some nice pioneer women's stories that talked about women working in frontier times. I just googled some random words and this book came up: Daughters of Light and had all these interesting things to say about women and the priesthood....and it was written in the 1970's. So I was combing through BYU's library shelves looking for that book when I found, sitting just a few books away, The Flight and the Nest by Carol Lynn Pearson.

I have no idea why I was looking around at the other books. They were all saying some very angering (is that a word?) things about LDS women's lovely place by the hearth. I probably put them back in all the wrong places because I was trying to close them and get them far away from me as fast as possible.

But...then this one, The Flight and the Nest by Carol Lynn Pearson, popped up and I kept reading and reading until I realized that this was a book I've been looking for and I didn't even know I needed it. It's a history--or a kind of collection of writing--that LDS women did in the church publications about "women's emancipation." Basically, it shows that LDS women thought that the restoration of the gospel was helping to free women from centuries of being shackled and subjected. With the light of the gospel, their role as women was being illuminated as one that was important, noble, and necessary. And they weren't just talking about motherhood under the assumptions we have today about gender roles. They were talking about a full development of women's potential. Here's a few gems I found today:

“I had always known that if I ever met the women of the Mormon pioneer past, they could teach me a great deal—quilting, soap making, giving birth on the prairie, singing through incredible hardships, having faith in God and seeing that faith rewarded. But I never knew that they could teach me about some of the more sensitive issues of womanhood. I had forgotten that they lived during the age of women’s “emancipation.” It had never occurred to me that they had already done battle with many of the questions that are pertinent today and that I might learn from their observations and experiences. And I had no idea that (most wonderful of all) they had written—with strength and balance and good sense—about their journeys into this other frontier on which they and other women were unquestionably pioneers.” (Carol Lynn Pearson, Preface xi-xii)

P. 12 “they saw the Spirit of the Lord working throughout the world, upon all people, bringing new light and new thought to the subject of woman. And to them this new thinking was an absolutely essential part of the redemption of woman made “necessary” by the fall of Adam and Eve from a better state.” (Pearson)

p. 14 “Man, in his might and blindness has wrested from Eve’s daughters their God-given rights in the dominion, hence this modern war which woman-kind is waging to obtain them back again. The struggle is surely divinely instituted and will ultimately succeed, for the world’s problems today are sadly in need of the decisions of pure, high-minded, God-fearing men and women.” (Ida S. Peay "Taking A Stand for the Right" Woman's Exponent June 1913)

p. 15 “Others, again, not only recognize that women’s status should be improved, but are so radical in their extreme theories that they would set her in antagonism to man, assume for her a separate and opposing existence; and to show how entirely independent she should be would make her adopt the more reprehensible phases of character which men present, and which should be shunned or improved by them instead of being copied by women”    (Eliza R. Snow, Woman’s Exponent July 15, 1872 “Woman’s Status")

p. 16 “They [LDS women in this time] were, however, undeniably thrilled to be living in the “women’s era” and devoted themselves with great energy to the things that they considered to be progress. They felt they could do much good in the world by moving into an expanded sphere that included levels of activity besides the home.” (Pearson)

p. 16 “to see woman from the homestead alone is to view her from a contracted standpoint, which retards her liberty. And I believe we thus hinder her progress, for there are social questions that will never be understood until woman shall stand by the side of man to discuss them. The one will always have need of the other; they will walk together, side by side, and find completeness in each other” (Lizzie Smith “The Equality of the Sexes”  Young Women’s Journal  March 1890).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Celebrating Writing


I like how much we emphasize celebrating writing and the writer in Dr. Dean’s class. I always wait until the writing is done and finished until I celebrate….but since writing is hardly ever really done or really finished I hardly ever celebrate...actually I never celebrate. But I want to celebrate being a writer. I want to celebrate doing writing. Usually I just end up telling everyone in closest proximity that I’m done writing. But their response, “Oh awesome” or “that’s good,” just never seems to be the full celebration I was hoping for.

Last week I had a real writing celebration moment. I’ve been working on an essay since August and finally, February 16, 2014 I had a whole complete draft of that essay. Whew. It was a lot of months of thinking about those ideas. I felt like I could eat cake and dance and sing and laugh all at the same time. It didn’t matter that there was more revising to come. For that moment, I was done and I was celebrating the writing I had done. I was celebrating that I was a writer and I had something to show for it.

So I decided that I want to enjoy writing more and that means celebrating more often. I like celebrating with food but I also like celebrating with running, with dancing, with sharing it with someone else.  It’s exciting that writing moves outside of its written form to create a community who all share in that writing. That’s worth celebrating to me.