Posted in women trailblazers, womens history month

Women Who Run with Words

It’s another heavy…

Hey Readers, I have to confess my thoughts and feelings have been numb since the Valentine’s Day tragedy in Florida. I’m angry right along with victims’ families who are opposed to assault weapons.  The news floored me.  A weird panic came over me when I realized that these gruesome events were starting to run together in my mind and I worried that I would forget them, as if I had a duty to to take care of it all, as if I had a responsibility to be of comfort for all the families. I do, we do. This is our world. I stopped writing anything substantial beyond my daily journal, didn’t draw much either. I wept. Taking walks helped the tension but I was still glued to the news. The same old watered down statements  emanated from politicians and news anchors like a bad dream. In the wake of #metoo and #NotOneMore the finality of the event culminated in the devastating photograph of the 7000 pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn.

March 8th was International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month here in the US. I decided to choose quotes by some women who are, or have been, trailblazers. I should have included some comedy but I’m not there yet. How many times can we wring our hands and say we’ve got to do better?

It’s timely that the movie Black Panther  and A Wrinkle in Time have ignited theatres with women and girls in powerful leadership roles. Congratulations!

Below are some of the women among so many, who come to mind when I sat down to write today.

 The first is Sybrina Fulton, who was thrust into leadership role on a national level because of gun violence. Her youngest son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was murdered in 2012 while walking home from a local store. He had not committed a crime. He had gone out to buy  some candy. That’s it. He was a black youth wearing a hoodie at night.

His mother said in 2015 on CNN, “It seems our kids are getting younger and younger, they’re killing them younger and younger. There is no regard anymore for human life. There has to be somewhere where we draw the line and say, ‘Listen, our kids want to grow up, too.'”

Huge debates ignited over race, vigilante mentality and gun ownership.  Women of color and their supporters were horrified, worried about their sons and daughters dying on the streets. We agreed that racism is still a pervasive disease in modern American life.

Ask a mother like Sybrina Fulton (and the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and others)  and she will tell you the raw truth: “I think absolutely my son’s race and the color of his skin had a lot to do with why he was shot and killed, in all of these cases, these victims were unarmed. These victims were African-American. That needs to be our conversation.”
– Sybrina Fulton

Let’s not mince words. You can help by the cause buying their book.


Here are some other quotes to consider. Do you know who said the following?

“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.”

“The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.” –  Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court judge.

Here’s another Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who just celebrated a birthday.

“It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.”

“Anybody who has been discriminated, who comes from a group that’s been discriminated against, knows what it’s like.”

    Louise Nevelson, sculptor
“I only know this – that you can’t give advice to an artist. “

Susan B Anthony  women’s rights activist:

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”

This post wouldn’t be complete without the  introduction Deb Haaland, the first Native American woman to run for Congress.  Get out and vote!

Winona LaDuke, activist:

“The first thing I am is a person. I am a woman. And I am part of a nation, the Indian nation. But people either relate to you as an Indian or as a woman. They relate to you as a category. A lot of people don’t realize that I am not that different from everyone else. “

“Tribes have the potential to provide almost 15 percent of the country’s electricity with wind power, and have 4.5 times the solar resources to power the entire U.S.”

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, namesake of the high school in Florida where the Valentine’s Day killings happened, was an eco-activist and is included in this link. 

 “You have to stand up for some things in this world.” She was a lover of the Everglades and a warrioress for ecological concerns. “You can’t conserve what you don’t have.”

I’m stricken by the irony of her words.

Octavia Spencer, actress:

“You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny, and hope that whatever your art is that you’re putting out there, if it’s received, great, I respect you for receiving it. If it’s not received, great, I respect you for not.”

While we’re honoring women I want to say a prayer for Brazilian activist, Marielle Franco  killed recently, most likely for her passionate work for human rights. One of her causes was advocating for brightly lit bus stops so that women could be safe at night.

I have to end my tribute with a shout out to on of my favorite artists, Marilyn Church. Check out The Art of Justice, an Eyewitness View of Thirty Infamous Trials. She writes, “sometimes a good drawing can tell more than a photograph-.” I want to draw that well.

There are countless women I admire from cultures that stimulate a desire to learn.  Diversity has been my passion since childhood.


Coming up: A tribute to Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s beloved wife. I’ll be doing an interview with her grandson, Arun. You can find my first interview with him here.


Journal prompt: 1) write about a woman who inspires you. Pick out a few adjectives to describe her. 2) If you are a woman, write a tribute to yourself. What are the accomplishments that make you most proud?

Discussion: how do you view the role of women in society? Are you traditional or do you relate to feminists? Do you think gender matters when it comes to leadership and power?








Posted in women trailblazers, womens history month, writers, Writing for healing

Women’s History Month- Sharing Wisdom, Strength and Beauty



It’s Women’s History Month here in the US and it’s taken me this long to sit down with a writing prompt. During these times of intense political rants and divisions, it makes sense to remember and honor the wit and wisdom of women. I’m constantly wondering what’s going to happen next on the local, national, and international scene. Why all the craziness? What for? You’ve heard the phrase, “God is coming and boy is she pissed.” That’s the way I feel lately. Maybe we could pretend it’s Christmas season and be of good cheer and talk about peace and love–then act on it.

I’d like to share some quotes with you to honor women.

  ” A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it’s finished; no matter how brave its warriors or how strong their weapons.” Cheyenne proverb

                                                             many baskets

                  “We women are going to bring change.” – Malala Yousafzai

Aunt-CharlieneWcal                                        My husband’s aunt Charlene-wonderful storyteller

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is very short and what we have to do what must be done in the now.” – Audre Lorde

” No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson

cheyenne with her blue fan copy

                                               Cheyenne Elizabeth, cystic fibrosis warrioress

“There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving.” Phylicia Rashad

” The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably the thing that makes you lonely.” – Lorraine Hansberry

“If you judge people you have no time to love them.” -Mother Teresa

“I have not contended for Democrat, Republican, Protestant or Baptist for an agent. I have worked for freedom, I have laboured to give my race a voice in the affairs of the nation.” -Sarah Winnemucca

“Ignorance is fear. Nothing terrifies a person except ignorance.” – Nawal El Saadawi

” I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger-to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn’t wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.”-Immaculee Ilibagiza


Grandmother Rita from the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers

“Since childhood, I’ve had a passion for solitude.”- Nawal El Saadawi

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

” A word after a word after a word is power. ” – Margaret Atwood

1920s flapper copy


Journal prompt: write about your favorite quote by a woman.  Add artwork or collage to your journal entry.

Peace, everybody!

copyright © 2016 by Susan E Rowland


Posted in womens history month, Writing for healing

Last Day of WHM aka I Wish I Wrote Comedy

Did you see Comedy Central with Justin Bieber apologizing and being roasted by Kevin Hart along with Shaquille O’Neal, Snoop Dog, and Martha Stewart? Then, Helen Mirren on Jimmy Fallon was funnier still. I wish I could write comedy. But  I don’t write comedy so here goes.

Before Women’s History Month draws to a close, I wanted to talk about some books I’ve had on my shelves for years. Each one is an anthology-great for restless and eager readers who like to scan. All writers have an insatiable longing to reach out to others. For some, the reason for writing has been a way to deal with the marvels of life, the mundane, and the sheer pain of existence.



“If I didn’t have a sense of humor I would have cracked up a long time ago.” -Shirley Chisolm.

I decided to list some of my collection in random order. I chose excerpts that spoke to me.

Here we go:

Lives of Our Own, Secrets of Salty Old Women, by Carolyn Bird

“Whenever they come, the changes caused by age alone are minor annoyances that take a woman by surprise.”

Sisters of the Earth, Women’s Prose and Poetry about Nature Edited and with a Preface by Lorraine Anderson

“Several days and nights have passed and it is again just after twilight. Up here on the mountain, I can look down over the country. There’s a lake down below me; in the far distance are the Black Hills, and I can see the lights of Rapid City. ” – Brooke Medicine Eagle

500 Great Books by Women, a Reader’s Guide. Erica Bauermeister, Jesse Larsen, and Holly Smith

“Adversity is the mountain we never planned to climb, the illness we have to overcome, the poverty that shrinks our stomachs and chafes our minds; a society, an army, a person that threatens our lives.” P. 287

Written by Herself, Autobiographies of American Women an Anthology. Jill Ker Conway, editor

“The girls discussed it at night and I prayed for help.” -Dorothy Reed Mendenhall

Women at Ground Zero, Stories of Courage and Compassion edited by Susan Hagen and Mary Caruba

“‘Ella’s interview was considerably different from the rest. She guarded her emotions carefully and told us that she was reluctant to share her feelings too deeply.

” I haven’t really let myself feel it yet,” she said about the tragedy. “I keep myself busy.’” Lieutenant Ella McNair, Fire Department of New York, Engine 283, Brownsville, Brooklyn

women from ground zero


By a Woman’s Hand, a Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women, second edition. Edited by Jean Swanson and Dean James. Preface by Nancy Pickard

“Haymon, S.T. Haymon’s first mystery novel has perhaps one of the most distinctive and curious titles in contemporary mystery fiction. Death and the Pregnant Virgin (St. Martin’s Press, 1980), besides introducing policeman Benjamin Jurnet, Norwich-born and bred, to modern detective fiction, signals the author’s taste for Baroque.” P. 107

I Dream a World, Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, Photographs and interviews by Brian Lanker, edited by Barbara Summers with foreword by Maya Angelou.

“My mother always told me to be overqualified for everything.” -Mary Frances Berry

“My mother read poetry to me before I could read.”- Margaret Walker Alexander

Fifty Celebrate Fifty, Fifty Extraordinary Women Talk about Facing, Turning, and Being Fifty, from the editors of More Magazine, foreword by Susan Sarandon

“I didn’t think about turning 50, because every second, every minute of every day I’m here is a godsend.” – Beverly Mosley

fifty over fifty



Journal prompt: make a list of some of the favorite books on you shelves.  Have you ever donated or sold books only to go back and buy them again? I have.

Happy Spring!


Posted in inspirational, journal prompts, poetry, womens history month

Defy the Imbeciles

sue and teri 2011 for blog copy

Time for a post, time for a post.

It’s Women’s History Month…no joke


the most recent fight is about looking up a woman’s dress.

What a mess

that in this year, 2014

is this what we have to glean?

The emphasis should be on curing disease, stopping repression

while mentoring more,  encouraging education.

Please teach our young women in the world,

to do the brilliant, to be decisive, and to unfurl

the power of her birthright to be more than “just a girl.”

We must encourage them to be smart, to accomplish and to dare

to defy

all those imbeciles out there.


Journal prompt: Write about women’s issues. Do you feel we have made progress in the year 2014? What are your thoughts about personal privacy?

© Copyright 2014 by Susan E. Rowland

Photo: Poet/author Sue Rowland and Terri Jones, humanitarian