Years ago, I ordered a plethora of books from The Feminist Press. When I received them in the mail, I excitedly added them to my to-be-read bookshelf, thinking I would breeze through them in a few months. Since then, that one bookshelf has expanded to two, and my Feminist Press books have been buried under an assortment of other titles – mostly fiction. I discovered that I really have to be in the mood to read non-fiction, and I must have the emotional energy to read about feminist theory. Even though many texts are inspiring, it’s still framed in the fact that sexism and other phobias/-isms exist.
Last week, I was given the opportunity to teach an online class about global women’s studies. I knew I was qualified, and knew I was well-read and knowledgeable about the subject, so I applied. They accepted my syllabus and course proposal, and if they accept my first lesson, I officially have the job. Since I’ve learned this news, I have been trying to read more feminist theory and even books about writing, since I’d have to write my own lessons. And woot, it just so happens I have a book from The Feminist Press titled Word: On Being a [Woman] Writer! Two birds, one stone.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read this anthology, especially since two of my favorite authors are in it – bell hooks and Sandra Cisneros. A lot of it was hard to read, as to be expected – like the silencing of women writers through censorship and fear of ostracization, imprisonment, or death, and the importance that writing has for women who need an outlet to release the pain they experience, specifically from sexism and/or sexual assault. I really appreciated the diversity of voices in this book, and even discovered some authors whose writing I’d like to check out. Only two pieces fell flat for me – I’m not a fan of dry academic writing, or prose that is too poetic and dream-like. I’d recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves a writer or a marginalized voice. Also, if you enjoy anthologies by/about women, check out Women on War; it’s also published by The Feminist Press – it’s a tough read, but important.
Most of the books I read are by women and/or people of color – I like reading about things I can relate to on some level, and stories by marginalized people is where I find that space. Unfortunately, I have not read many books by disabled women – I even have a hard time finding any such works. One time, I ordered a book titled Venus on Wheels, thinking it was written about beauty and disability, and written by someone who is actually disabled. Instead, it was by some able-bodied individual who met a woman who was disabled, found them to be “fascinating” and “peculiar”, and wrote a book about them. I never finished the novel, and I have no intentions to.
I know there is a void that needs to be filled by disabled women writers. After reading Julia Alvarez’s Finding Miracles, something was stirred in me. I always relate to her writing, but this book made me want to explore my own ethnicity, my own heritage, and write about it. Not just write it in a journal and save it for myself, but to create something that will be published – fiction influenced by my life. I could help fill that void. Since this epiphany, I have been preparing myself by reading a lot, writing more (I’m even taking a class on writing), and taking in my surroundings like a sponge. I don’t know when I’ll actually start writing it, but I hope it’s soon. My ultimate dream-come-true would be having my book published by The Feminist Press. I’m making that my goal.