Linking Back: Women’s Lives and Choices

I am going to try out having a regular weekly post where I share interesting books, blogs and other media that I have come across during the week. A common theme for the week has been women’s lives, and choices.

I have been attempting to read two library books, but not making much progress. Its usually a bad sign when I have two novels on the go at the same time. One book which has proven to be a challenge is the Pulitzer Prize winning ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison. Its set after the American Civil War and concerns the impact of slavery on one particular woman. There is an air of menace throughout the book, as it gradually reveals the horrors experienced as her family try to escape the clutches of slavery. Its a well written and involving story, but I can’t distance myself from what I am reading, and I find this book creates a heavy and painful mood that is difficult to shift. I switch between wanting to continue and do honour to the story, and not wanting to experience the pain, even in the reading. Progress seems to have stopped as have wanted to stay positive for some other projects I have been working on.

Too light by comparison is ‘Plantation’ by Di Morrissey. This is romantic fiction set in Sarawak in Malaysia and Australia. It concerns Australian sisters who become involved in the life of the Plantation and its owner. The history is interesting, but its simple and accessible language lacks the interest of Toni Morrisons almost poetic words. Holiday style reading for when you want some novelty, but not too much challenge. Progress seems to have stopped on this one too.

I enjoyed a guest post on the Miss Minimalist blog’s Real Life Minimalists section from Bheng who lives in the Phillipines. Bheng tells of her ongoing project to reduce the volume of crafting supplies and craftwork that had collected while she was dreaming of opening a craft shop. I am in Australia and its great to hear from bloggers in this south eastern part of the world.

One of the blogs I enjoy reading on creating a simpler life is Slow Your Home by Nicole Avery. This week Nicole shared her personal journey to simplicity and the reasons behind it in 10 Life-Affirming Reasons to Embrace Simplicity. In this post Nicole conveys the experience of overwhelm faced by a young Mum with too much on her plate and tells how embracing a simpler life enabled her to be happier and healthier. What I appreciate about Nicole’s writing is that she is not just focussed on decluttering “stuff”. She draws out the emotional and relationship benefits from taking a simpler approach to all aspects of life.

For a chuckle check out Confessions of a Failed Retro Housewife  by Janine Fitzpatrick at Shambolic Living. She is responding to recent criticism of educated intelligent women giving up their high powered jobs to stay at home and mind the kids. I agree with Janine’s final observations that the feminist battle was intended to give women more choices, but didn’t solve the problem of conflicting demands of children and career. From what I can see many women and men are re-examining whether trying to run a family with two parents working full-time is a liberating experience for anyone, and looking for alternative models.

A good use of TV time this week has been the BBC TV drama Call the Midwife. This story, set in London’s East End during the 1950s, is narrated by an older woman recalling her life as a midwife. This weeks story centred on a woman with eight children who was devastated to learn that she was expecting a ninth. A story like this makes you appreciate how access to modern healthcare and contraception, where they are available, have revolutionalised women’s lives.

I am looking forward to starting Tammy Strobel’s course Writing in the Digital Age this week, and participating in the Facebook group with other students. Tammy is an author with a popular blog called Rowdy Kittens.

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