“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
Today is International Women’s Day – March 8, 2014. I had marked the date on my calendar at the beginning of February thinking to celebrate the occasion with something special. And then becoming involved with the busyness of life, I left the planning until too late. These are the moments when serendipity comes to the rescue.
A few weeks ago, LaVagabonde, an amazing writer and blogger, recommended the book “Maiden Voyages: Writings of Women Travelers (Vintage Departures)” edited by Mary Morris. I ordered the book through the public library and waited for the e-mail notification. Today, on International Women’s Day, I signed out the book using the efficient library check-out kiosk and eagerly opened it to the introduction by Mary Morris, editor. I don’t believe in coincidence. As soon as I read the opening paragraph, I knew I was meant to read this book:
“The late John Gardner once said that there are only two plots in all of literature. You go on a journey or a stranger comes to town. Since women, for so many years, were denied the journey, they were left with only one plot in their lives – to await the stranger. Indeed, there is essentially no picaresque tradition among women novelists. While the latter part of the twentieth century has seen a change of tendency, women’s literature from Austen to Woolf is by and large a literature about waiting, usually for love.” Mary Morris
In the next few weeks, I will meet women who did not wait: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Willa Cather, Box-Car Bertha, Rebecca West. These women defied the status quo, choosing the journey, forging their personal destinies. This will be an extraordinary read. What better time to begin than on International Women’s Day.
A very special thanks to LaVagabonde. Her blog, Wish I Were Here, shares the same adventurous spirit of the women who grace the pages of “Maiden Voyages.”