Risk, Courage, and Women
Contemporary Voices in Prose and Poetry
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of North Texas Press
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A collaborative manuscript of thirty-seven authors and eighty-one pieces of prose and poetry requires not only the involvement of many talented and dedicated writers, but their cooperative effort toward a final goal. The book began with deep respect for the courage and risk-taking of so many women and concluded with a work that let them tell of their individual...
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Some women hold me when I need to dream, rock, rocked my first red anger through the night. Strong women teach me courage to esteem, to stand alone, like cactus, persevere when cold frowns bite my bones and doubts incite. Some women hold me when I need to dream...
women involved in nurturing, giving, and sharing (WINGS)
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All net proceeds from this book will be donated to the wings foundation, to provide critical treatment services for women diagnosed with breast cancer. wings was formed to fill the vacuum that exists between detection and medical attention for uninsured women. It works to fund the treatment for those whose mammograms indicate anomalies. It provides diagnostic testing, surgery, chemotherapy expenses, as well as services not traditionally offered...
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The genesis of this book came from years of observing women who grew beyond political correctness to take amazing risks as a matter of course or necessity, resulting in extraordinary outcomes. Through personal choice or life situations, they made courageous decisions to stand fast or to risk pushing ahead into the unknown. Some were quietly steadfast while others were directly confrontational...
Sources of Courage: an interview with Maya Angelou
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She knew poverty and racism intimately as a child in Stamps, Arkansas, hiding her “crippled Uncle Willie” under sacks of onions in a truck to escape his lynching by “The Boys.” A brutal sexual assault at age eight, with her attacker beaten to death afterwards, sent her into silence for years as she feared the power of her own words. Yet, Maya Angelou learned that words were the way to set herself free. Encouraged by “Mama,” her grandmother who knew that this voiceless child would become a great teacher...
Sustenance for Living
sustenance for living
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We are reminded of the very sustenance of our being in the birth of this Navajo child, who “kicked tiny brown limbs. / Fierce movements as outside / the mist lifted as the sun is born again.” With her spirit connected to the emotional and physical world, we evidence the intricate part of the self that finds the substance to thrive. In this chapter, writers gain courage from their own “morning strength.” We begin with the elderly to show how this connectedness with life’s nourishment can span the ages...
one moment on top of the earth
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In February she was dying again, so he flew across the sea to be with her. Doctors came to the village. They listened and tapped and shook their heads. She’s a hundred and five, they said. What can we do? She’s leaving now. This is how some act when they’re leaving...
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She scrubbed as hard as she could with a stone. Dipping the cloth, twisting the cloth. She knew the cloth much better than most, having stitched its vines of delicate birds. The red, the blue, the purple beaks. A tiny bird with head held high. A second bird with fanning wings. Her fingers felt the folded hem...
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The old woman face lined, hair thin and wispy, fingers knarled, bent by arthritis, back stooped ever so slightly, looks up from her plate and asks, Care for another piece of pie?...
the face that
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She didn’t launch anything. Only herself, when she left Menelaus, snoring, every couple of weeks grabbing her, poking a jagged fingernail, stinking ale. Always she had known, from her swan-feather youth, she herself made only half a broken egg...
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One sunny morning in August two decades ago, I stood at a trailhead in northwest Wyoming’s Absaroka Mountains. A green backpack towered over my head, stuffed with food, clothing, compact stove, sleeping bag, tent, and other essentials. Sadie, a German Short-haired Pointer, sat next to me, her dog packs strapped on, quivering...
faith in the unknown
faith in the unknown
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Daini reflected, “True faith is to follow the tiniest light in the deepest of dark, trusting that it will guide you to safety.” For some, faith is an assurance that things will work out, even during the worst of times. For others, it is a religious belief, or perhaps a spiritual awakening, that carries them through their daily encounters and experiences...
risks and challenges: facing the unknown
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Although I never thought of myself as a risk-taker, a friend once said that when I married and moved to a foreign country, I was taking a risk. Years later that same person would have the opportunity to tell me that I had a “baptism by fire” in learning how to face challenges head on. But I’m jumping...
hints from a cancer victor
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I am not a cancer survivor—I am a cancer victor. It wasn’t enough for me to survive cancer. I wanted to triumph over it. In my mind, there was very little doubt that I could do it. You see, I have been blessed in my life and bad things do not happen to me. This strength and self-assurance were instilled in me from birth. As an infant I was adopted...
of birth-mother and daughter
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When Karen Waldron first approached me about this essay, she asked me to write about the adoption of our daughter. As I considered the assignment on and off over the following weeks, I realized that in adopting a child, I had shown very little courage and taken few risks. Yet, two others had shown tremendous courage...
the courage of choice
the courage of choice
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As we hear from our authors’ voices, courage has a cacophony of sounds. While not bold in its immediacy, the courage to choose a path or action may demonstrate a considered willingness to move forth despite one’s fears. Many of these authors considered their decisions carefully and over time before acting. In accepting...
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The greatest risk of all is life itself. From the moment of birth to that of death, human beings are consciously engaged in making choices. We are the only sentient beings endowed with this gift for which we pay the inescapable price of personal responsibility. For example, right now I must make a choice of one experience that represents...
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When I was in my senior year in college, I told my father I intended to continue for a master’s degree, and he said, “What does a woman need a graduate degree for?” He refused to fill out financial aid applications, and when my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, he asked me to help care for her. That’s what I did. I like to think that somewhere in the back of my head I was planning to save up for graduate...
sacred space, stage setters, and miraclemakers: reflections on courage
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I’ve never thought of myself as either a risk-taker or a particularly courageous woman. The word courage was never used much in my family. We used its Spanish translation of coraje only in reference to anger, overlooking its other possible definitions. Courage remained an unspoken reality carried silently in the definite message that...
the edge: across borders, over the line,through prison gates
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During the civil war in El Salvador, refugees fleeing the death squads arrived in Syracuse seeking sanctuary. In 1992, at the end of the twelve-year war, members of our peace community accompanied one of these refugees back to his home in El Salvador. In the mountains near the Honduras border, the Syracuse-La Estancia...
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I used to think this story was about Laura, the child, but I was wrong. It’s about the woman who saved her. It’s about Ruth. Ruth was Laura’s maternal aunt. Laura’s mother had a fairly long rap sheet in a file buried among twenty other “priority” files stacked on my desk—theft, welfare fraud, bad checks, prostitution, probation violations, other misdemeanors over a twenty-year period. Having been cared for by Ruth for much of her life, three-year-old Laura...
seams of our lives
seams of our lives
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Far greater than the tiny seams in sewing are the invisible ones that bind parts of our lives together intricately with those of others. They also appear where different aspects of one’s own life are tied together to form a continuity of life’s cycles. The expansiveness of these pieces forms a rich tapestry. Gail Hosking Gilberg...
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Now sitting in the darkened living room with the afternoon sun trying to shine through the blinds, she remembered. On the dark blue rug she saw a shaft of light, almost silver in the dusk. And she recalled that day when she was a little girl, still in pigtails, and her father had brought home the piece of quicksilver. There she had stood, her square hand sweating with excitement, holding the shimmering object. In its...
the pinochle game
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The snow had been falling for several hours. The fine white powder covered the cars, the sidewalks, clung to the few trees in the garden below, and accumulated on the hats and coats of the people hurrying across the busy intersection. Under the streetlight it looked as if black pellets were shooting—machine gun-like in all directions. The delicate white matter slipped over the city like...
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The phone rings. I’ve just come through the door hot and tired from an eight-hour remedial driving class called stop, an option for speeders like me. The other option is a ticket and a huge fine. This one is a fifty-dollar fine, no points deducted, no ticket, and only a full day of writing lost. (My younger son Aaron, who is transsexual and lives across...
belfast: a woman’s story
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Risk and courage confront women every day in ways never experienced by men. In the rearing of children women become multi-faceted, while men generally live lives tackling one task and achieving one goal at a time. Men, not fragmented by the daily grind of bringing up children, are able to focus on their careers and are not easily distracted. In their lives, both genders take risks and display courage...
the real self
the real self
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Eric Liddell, the famed Scottish missionary and runner, equated faith to running a race, reflecting that the power to see the race to its end comes from within. Indeed, our greatest potential and confidence may emerge from putting one foot forward at a time to take life’s risks. In the following essays and poems, we...
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I take the river a step at a time. My feet slide from the shoulders of rock; my toes wedge between boulders. I am timid about this, moving out toward the center, where the water is deepest, where the big fish might lie. Here, at Lenore, Idaho, the Clearwater is not easy. Too wide to cast from shore, too swift, too pocked with hidden currents and sudden holes. I go at it anyway, still without waders...
a heart to run
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We had just finished an 8-mile run along the Town Lake Hike and Bike trail in Austin. All of us, novice marathoners, were tired, but exhilarated. I decided on my fortieth birthday, January 15, 1999, that I would train for a marathon as a challenge to myself. I joined the Leukemia Society’s challenge, sure that running for a good cause would keep me interested, and running with a group would keep me motivated...
dancing on the edge of the ledge
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No one ever said that risk-taking was easy. I discovered that for myself when my marriage of sixteen years came to an end. I was left alone to raise three little girls, one of whom was just three weeks old. Knowing that I was responsible for their future well-being sometimes overwhelmed me, even though I had two degrees and freelanced...
confessions of a compulsive overachiever
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I’m such a compulsive overachiever that I tell my family and friends to make sure I’m pointed in a safe direction. Earnest and well intentioned, I can rally a crowd or whip up a controversy in a heartbeat—disasters when I’m even slightly off target. You know the type: high school student council secretary, college class officer...
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Despite Robert Frost’s admonition concerning unthinking acceptance of “Good fences make good neighbors,” as humans we have continued to create countless borders, often assuming their necessity. Some are political, others physical or religious. This chapter deals with obliterating the personal boundaries that restrict the development of our real selves as well as those that keep us from reaching out and being part of...
ruth marantz cohen: une vie exceptionelle
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This is an essay about my mother, Ruth Marantz Cohen, who risked being different during an era of enormous conformity. Her risks made the risks I’ve taken in my own life easier. She was my role model and inspiration. My mother was born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents, Gertrude and Sam, were Russian immigrants, Jews who came to New York during the time of the Soviet pogroms. Like many only children, Ruth was brought up to adore her parents, and to...
conversion: the trail of a resident alien
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I’m afraid my ancestors would roll over in their graves at the thought of my conversion. My great-great-great grandmother, Mary Sophia Ramsey, who never played cards on Sunday and donated a stained glass window for the Dutch Reformed Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey, would think my children heathens. So would...
we who believe in freedom
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On a winter day in 1990, Mae Bertha Carter and Winson Hudson, both from Mississippi, were visiting me in Charlottesville, Virginia. They were to speak that morning at the University of Virginia in Julian Bond’s class on the civil rights movement. I was there with a year’s post-doctoral fellowship at the Carter Woodson Institute...
turbulent odyssey for justice*
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“And do you declare yourself a pauper?” asked the judge in Rochester, New York. I nodded. My lawyer directed, “You must answer verbally for the record.” “Yes,” I whispered in a faltering voice filled with shame, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment. We had no money to pay for the printing of court briefs. And so my sex discrimination...
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There were worse things than being a white sharecropper’s daughter in the 1930s and ’40s. But at the time I didn’t think so. I didn’t compare myself to people in the same economic class as I was. I compared myself to landowners’ daughters who seemed to have everything: new, store-bought dresses; more than one pair of shoes at a time; their own rooms at home; white, manicured hands; and popularity among...
next year in jerusalem
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I have never been so hated and terrified in all my life. As I walked alone into the Baghdad conference center, six enraged women approached me, one with her fist raised, others with voices shouting unfamiliar languages. A striking, darkskinned woman grabbed my sleeve and yanked me close to her face. “Our country is poor, our people starve, and you look away,” she hissed. Another pushed her...
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Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2007