Books that Shine Bright!

How can one book cover 13.5 billion years of history? Ask Yuval Noah Harari, who combines physics, biology, culture, economics, and other disciplines in his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Harari uses easy language to ensure laymen “get” these heavy topics. And as he explains one of the 3 great revolutions of humankind, the Agricultural Revolution, he translates the “iron clad rule that luxuries become necessities” into 21st century examples. Many people expound on bits and pieces of history, but this book enlarges the picture…for all to see. I was honored to write a Book Review for Laura Carroll’s website, where she highlights nonfiction books that help us “live true to oneself, others, and the world.”

Another book you may appreciate is Ursula Le Guin’s No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. Sadly, the title couldn’t be more appropriate—Le Guin died 33 days after the release of this book; she was 88. Her essays are funny, deep, and thought-provoking. Le Guin spent her life as a writer, and the world is richer for her efforts. This is another book included on Laura Carroll’s website, and again, I was honored to write a Book Review for it. Even though Le Guin is known for her fiction and poetry, her nonfiction is on-point. Born in 1929, she lived through and saw a lot.  I discovered her heroic writing mere days after she penned her last words, and I'm very glad I did. I think you too will appreciate reading about "what matters." 

How do you define success?

Robert Louis Stevenson and Ralph Waldo Emerson and the New York Stock Exchange all define “success” differently. I’ve been asked to write about my answer from the perspective of the writer that I have become. That last statement is part of my answer—I now refer to myself as a “Writer.” It took decades for that aspect of who I am to bubble to the surface. Even as a person who wielded the pen in powerful ways throughout my adult years (e.g., a well-worded letter about bad customer service led to free brunch for four at a fancy restaurant, another letter led to a free night at a resort…you get the picture), even as I put words in the mouths of others by writing speeches and letters I never signed, it took a magical spark to push me toward where I’m at today. What began seven years ago as a fervent desire to match words to my thoughts, to say what I wanted to say to the person I wanted to say it to, led to…a book. When my fingers started slamming into my laptop keys, little did I know a New York City agent would be interested in the text that flowed from my fingertips. Nor did I envision that my little book would garner an international award. I was lucky. I received support and the courage to move forward. And here I am, years after the first pounding out of my ponderings, and I have a second book in the works. A very different book than the first, with words that are just as necessary to share. But here’s the thing—and there’s no getting around it—I do not feel like a success. Partly because...

NY Critic's Pick Director recommends The Female Assumption

Maxine Trump is a powerhouse, who does the kind of meaningful work that resonates within her soul, whose creative spark comes from her heart. I was honored when she asked me to sign one of my books (The Female Assumption) that she intended to give to her mum (her mum is in the UK). I wrote this book to open the door to conversations that often don't get started. Maxine listed 10 books on her website that she recommends for gifts (for yourself or someone else), and she included mine. Again, I'm honored and humbled. These books speak to various experiences from women who may have wanted, or may not have wanted children. It's the "hot topic" of the day, but it doesn't have to be. We can accept that each of us need and want different things. And for those who wanted the motherhood journey and didn't find it, you're not alone. Join your sisters; they are...

The Importance of Hope

Humans are born with a natural tendency to hope. As children, we hope for ice cream or a puppy or one more story at bedtime. As teens, we hope for opportunities for jobs, freedom, education, love. As we grow, we experience loss. And hope ebbs a bit.  The more losses, the deeper the losses, and it can become hard for hope to work its magic--to lift our...

What does it mean to be nonjudgmental?

Our ideas about right and wrong lead us to a path that feels authentic to our values. But what happens when our ideals are challenged? If someone doesn’t believe as we do? None of us were born to judge; this is a learned response.  And one that we can work toward unlearning. Following are a few steps to help:  ....

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

You wake up each morning as a new person.  Yesterday's "you" is no more.  This has exciting connotations.  We can continue to change, evolve, and grow throughout our lives.  However, at times, we feel stuck, as though our feet are in mud.  Then the mud dries, it hardens, and weighs down our movement.  And we trudge through our days as though we have no say in the matter.

Today, imagine what you could do if you weren't...tired, afraid, stuck.  There are many visions that go unnourished because...

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New Interview: Award-Winning Canadian Website: FemmeSansEnfant

Catherine-Emmanuelle Delisle honored my book, The Female Assumption, with an interview on her award-winning website. Based near Montreal, most of her interviews are in French; this one is in English. She endeavors to, "Rally childless women by life circumstance or choice." There are many women who need understanding on this topic. When a women expects motherhood but doesn't find it, such as Catherine-Emmanuelle, it is hard when those close to her use words that assume...

Who's Minding the Earth while We're Geocaching?

Taking a walk can connect you to the Earth if you’re mindful of your surroundings.  There are invisible (unreal) things to pursue while walking in the woods, such as geocache and Pokemon.  There’s also a cache of experiences available to those whose eyes turn to the splendor of the natural world.  On a recent walk, my cell phone chirped with a new text.  A goldfinch called out for my attention as well.  The goldfinch won.  As I silenced my phone, I noticed a turtle sunning itself in a pond.  Walking past wildflowers, I had a Remembrance of Things Past moment.  I was plunged back to my youth; a time when...

From Lonely Hearts Ads to On-Line Dating Sites

My widowed grandfather wrote a Lonely Hearts newspaper ad in the 1950s that helped him meet his 2nd wife. One of my good friends met her husband of 15 years through a dating service. New ways to meet people continue to crop up in the form of on-line dating services; some cater to bicycling aficionadosStar Trek fans, even...interestingly...salad lovers. That's right, you can find your Salad Soulmate!  I was recently contacted by the creator of a new dating website called YesChildfree.  Meeting people who are not interested in having kids is a niche market, and a dating site like this puts the topic on the table from the start.  I was allowed a peek at the site and their membership is worldwide. Since I know 2 people who met...

My Mom, Women's History Month, Advancing Social Justice

If you want firsthand knowledge about what it was like to live before the 2nd Women’s Movement, ask a woman who lived through it.  I asked my mom. During childhood, we get bits and pieces of our parents’ stories, and the significance of the details increase as we age; perhaps because we imagine what they were like as we reach certain thresholds of adult life.  Drastic changes in our lives are like demarcation lines.  On one side of the line is “before,” and on the other side is “after.”  Perhaps “before” for you is before you landed your great first job, or before your heart was broken the first time.  Perhaps “after” for you is the accomplishment of a life goal, or after the loss of a loved one.  The “befores” and “afters” are moments in time that we remember, forever.  “Before” for my mom was the moment she was told she couldn’t work in her job anymore because she was pregnant.  The company said...

Please, Watch Your Assumptions

The practice of holding assumptions extends to many areas of our lives. Someone hurts us and we assume they don't care. Someone gets in our way on the roadway and we assume they're careless. Please, be cautious of your assumptions, because "that person" could be suffering in ways you cannot see. Perhaps they are the main caretaker for a chronically-ill loved one. Perhaps they're in fear of losing their job or the love from ....

Wrapping up 2015--Global Media Award, Inaugural Women's Summit & More

2015 kicked off with me in Washington DC in January to accept a Global Media Award for my first book, The Female Assumption, from the Population Institute, because of my message of equality and education for females. The Female Assumption has been featured in Psychology Today blog, Boston Women’s Health Collective Our Bodies Ourselves Blog, Huffington Post, and made the blog world tour with interviews by Michelle McGrath, Sydney, Australia, Unclassified Woman podcast , Lesley Pyne’s blog  based in the United Kingdom, and...

Inaugural International Summit

I had the honor of participating in the first summit of its kind, designed to bring women without kids together, whether by circumstance or choice.  Karen Malone Wright, Founder of TheNotMom website, seeks to unite women.  Full stop.  Her site’s disclaimer that “some of our best friends are moms,” makes it clear that respectful dialogue is expected.  And that’s what happened last month, when women without kids came from all over the U.S., from Iceland, the U.K., Canada, and China for a 2-day summit to discuss issues common to...

Melanie interviewed by Michelle McGrath, Sydney, Australia

I was honored to be interviewed by Michelle Marie McGrath, who hosts the Unclassified Woman podcast out of Sydney, Australia.  Her mission is to give voice to women without children, for whatever reason, and promote the view that women shouldn't be judged according to whether they are able or want to have children. She departed from her normal interviews to include me because of my award-winning book, which amplifies....

1st-Ever International "NotMom Summit"

Karen Malone Wright created a resource for women without children, a website called, TheNotMom.com, which supports women without children, by chance or by choice.  Karen and her team organized the FIRST-EVER Summit of its kind to be held Oct. 9-10, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio, with experts from the US and UK.  Topics of discussion will include Body & Spirit, Legacy, and Relationships.  A few sample program titles will be:  "Expecting Acceptance, Post-Choice or After Grief," ...

The Importance of Our Stories

When we tell our stories, we share in a way that is different from giving advice.  When we share our experiences, we offer others the opportunity to view what’s inside us, the vulnerable parts, the parts we keep hidden because we want to protect ourselves from judgment.  We think our layers of protection keep us safe—rather, it is by sharing our stories that we shatter the assumptions that others hold about us.  Telling our stories is also a process of self-reflection.  The way in which we describe our experiences says...

Viewing Ourselves/Each Other--Past, Present, Future

How we view our past is important. Do we hold onto expectations that didn’t pan out, causing us pain?  In the present, do we have people to turn to for support? People who will lend an ear when we need it?  Some people amass tons of friends, but all you really need is a few caring people who “get” you.  As we look to the future, do we see the brightness that dawns with each new day?  Do we respect the integrity of the person we’ve become (or are becoming), no matter if it fits with what others assume about us?  As long as we try to be true to...

Join in Honoring Women's History Month

I'm more active on my Author's Facebook than here on The Blog, so I wanted to let you know that I'm posting once per day about women during Women's History Month. When an entire month is set aside to recognize the contributions of a group, this signifies that this group has a history of being marginalized. History reflects just how maligned females have been when they sought something different than what society assumed they wanted, the roles they...

Women's History Month & a Word about Legacy

March is Women's History Month; I'm honored to speak at Oak Lawn Library on March 16 (click my FB Link below to view details). All of us leave a lasting legacy, sometimes we don't realize the lives we touch. I was honored to be interviewed recently by Lisa Haisha for her Legacy Series; Lisa is blazing trails as a Women's Advocate, Life Coach, and her Whispers foundation. If you'd like to know what I have in common with Angelina Jolie and Kathy Bates, it would be...