spoiler alert!

A colleague brought this article by Sarah Sentilles to my attention.  Although its topic is writing about religion, the argument applies to all women writers.

The final paragraph of the article contains some very good – one might even call it crucial – advice for women writers.  The advice pertains to all writers, to all scientists, to scholars of all ilk, but contains lessons that women in particular desperately need.

So, here’s the spoiler:

I have three suggestions for writers who are women: First, stop caring what other people think about what you write. Shut the negative voices out, the voices that try to silence you and shame you and tell you that what you have to say is “feminine tosh.” (If this is hard for you, remember that the reviewer forKirkus Reviews called Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love “unsuccessful.” Ha!) Emily Rapp is my role model for this practice. She writes from a fearless place—and her words are electric. They set fire to the page. “I definitely feel like my task now is to be a truth teller, and I just don’t really care what people think about me anymore,” Rapp said. “That element of being a woman has kind of disappeared. The only way I am going to survive this is by being an authentic person, so I better get out of my own way and say what I have to say, and if people don’t like it, I don’t care. This is a gift Ronan has given me, and it is the biggest revelation of my adult life.” Second, join with other authors to work for structural, feminist, liberating change—in the literary world, in religious communities, in academia, in the world. And third, keep writing. In the words of Hélène Cixous: “Write, let no one hold you back, let nothing stop you: not man; not the imbecilic capitalist machinery, in which publishing houses are the crafty, obsequious relayers of imperatives handed down by an economy that works against us and off our backs; and not yourself.”14 Write like your life depends on it. Write like everything is at stake.


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