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Cindy L. Freeman Blog – Women Falling Down, 11-12-2018

Cindy Freeman

My husband, Carl, and I enjoy watching old movies, even as far back as the silent film era. It’s interesting to observe the correlation between films and the culture that exists in America when the films are produced.

Last week I returned from an errand to find Carl watching the 1929 version of The Mysterious Island, a mostly silent sci-fi movie based on a Jules Verne’s novel. It featured Lionel Barrymore and female actress, Jacqueline Gadsden. “Watch this,” Carl said. “It’s a chase scene, so, of course the woman will fall down.” I’m not much of a sci-fi buff, but he and I have often shared a laugh about this predictable phenomenon: women falling down in movies. Sure enough, Jacqueline Gadsden’s character took a tumble and had to be helped to her feet by the strong, capable men in her company. By the way, she was not wearing high-heeled shoes. Rather she was dressed in the same space suit the men wore.

So, what’s really going on here? Since its beginning, the film industry has been dominated by men and has reflected a male-dominated society. The woman-falling-down syndrome is but one subtle example of female suppression in a society that considered wives to be the property of their husbands and women, in general, too weak to take care of themselves, too unintelligent to succeed in business or vote in elections, and constantly in need of rescuing. Men fall down in movies, too, but it never seems to be about demeaning them.

I’m not talking about the hilarious slapstick of comedic geniuses like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and more recently, Melissa McCarthy, and Sandra Bullock. Rather than feeding into gender inequality, these brave women have broken through it with their athletic pratfalls. I’m referring to sci-fi, Western, horror, mystery, romance or any other dramatic genre in film and TV. It happens again and again. Women swoon and fall, often twisting an ankle and needing to be carried to safety by the strong, macho leading man. I grew up watching movies like this, and so did millions of women of my generation.

When I started writing at the age of sixty, I had experienced my fill of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and bullying by men who assumed they were entitled to control women because of their supposed innate superiority. I decided to write about strong women.

In my novel, Unrevealed, Alison is a twenty-seven-year-old president of an international conglomerate. My novel, The Dark Room, features Edith, a widow who owns a café and seeks to empower her employee, Stella, a victim of domestic violence. Abigail, the protagonist of my newest novel, I Want to Go Home, is only seventeen when she runs away with her younger brothers to protect them.

My female protagonists are strong, independent, and resilient. Does that make them masculine? No. Does it make them man-bashers? No. Each one ends up in a relationship with a good man who respects her as an equal. Each one exhibits a healthy dose of vulnerability and tenderness. But just as those qualities in men don’t make them weak or ineffectual, the same qualities in women don’t require them to fall down and wait to be rescued by a man.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available from amazon.com or hightidepublications.com

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Summer Leaves the Hills

Sharon Canfield Dorsey

Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, I always looked forward to fall. The summertime garden and canning chores were finally done and there was more time to read and play. As days cooled, Mom pulled out the big soup pot and created savory vegetable soup and spicy chili, along with corn bread or corn pone for our evening meals. It also meant it was time to agonize over new school clothing choices from the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalogues. There was “jumping up and down” excitement when the huge box arrived, full of dresses and shirts and pants. I always looked forward to going back to school. It was my happy place – my safe place. Even today, when I feel that first frosty nip in the air, my heart beats a little faster at the memories of autumn arriving in the hills.

 

 

SUMMER LEAVES THE HILLS

 

Summer ripens into fall in the West Virginia hills.

 

The last of the garden harvest is done.

Cellars overflow with bulging burlap bags

of potatoes, apples, nuts; rainbow- hued jars

of vegetables and fruits line wooden shelves.

 

Air grows crisp and pungent with the smell

of burning leaves; southbound geese cry goodbye.

The scarlet scent of autumn signals briefer days,

longer, cooler nights under eider down quilts.

 

Pale sun scatters frosted light on bare ground,

where lately yellow poppies spread gold filigree

on the hillsides. Green time is gone.

Wild roses and fragrant sage are dead.

 

Frost nips the dawn.

Forest beasts seek homes, their heartbeats still.

Human beasts rest,

as autumn marches across the summer hills.

 

 

Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; two children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black Shiny Thing; and Revolt of the Teacups; and a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poetry is also included in an anthology, Captured Moments.  WATCH FOR A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK IN NOVEMBER, 2018.

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Cindy L. Freeman Blog – Why Fall Back?

Cindy Freeman

If I had a choice, I’d vote to abolish the time change. It’s not just the bother of re-setting all the clocks that annoys me. It disturbs my equilibrium and imposes a couple weeks of feeling blah before my body and brain adjust.

Now that I’m retired, the adjustment is slightly less upsetting, but when I taught children all day, every day, I observed how intensely “falling back” affected them. Every fall they became out-of-sorts, had trouble sleeping at night, according to their parents, and concentrating during the day. They complained of hunger an hour before mealtimes or weren’t interested in eating when mealtimes rolled around. It always amazed me how much an hour’s difference one way or the other unsettled them, until I recognized the same symptoms in myself.

I daresay Englishman William Willett wasn’t thinking about human circadian rhythms when he recommended Daylight Saving Time. Good ol’ Will certainly failed to consider its effects on children. His purpose was to move the clocks forward so more people could enjoy summer’s sunshine. Because of him, we change our clocks in the summer months to move an hour of sunlight from morning to evening. Okay, that sounds like a good idea, but if it’s such a good idea why do we change back to standard time in the fall?

Last evening, my husband and I had finished dinner and were watching TV when we both started yawning. “I’m so sleepy,” he remarked. “It must be time to go to bed.”

“I can hardly keep my eyes open,” I complained. I checked my phone and it was 8:00 pm. What good is a bonus hour if you can’t stay awake to enjoy it?

I discovered numerous online articles offering useless suggestions about how to adjust to the time change. One expert recommended not using the extra hour to sleep in. Really? Like that’s even an option for parents. Children who normally wake up at 6:00 am will now wake up at 5:00 am. Parents, teachers, and school-aged children will be ready for a nap before lunchtime. The same expert warned against giving in to the urge to nap. One recommended taking a ninety-minute afternoon siesta. Ha!

Another writer suggested refreshing your bedroom with a new mattress, pillows, and sheets to encourage rest and relaxation. Right! Every October we’re all going to storm Bed, Bath and Beyond and spend hundreds of dollars to spruce up our bedrooms.

The worst suggestion was to avoid caffeine. What? My body is already in a state of circadian pandemonium and you want me to avoid caffeine? Be serious.

Despite public outcry in 1966, Congress officially made the time change a law. According to Remy Melina who writes for the online magazine Live Science, “Hawaii and Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Reservation), still choose not to partake in the convention, as do some U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.” In my opinion, that’s one of the best arguments yet for moving to Hawaii. Don’t they also grow coffee beans there?

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories, a novella, Diary in the Attic, and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com

 

 

 

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Joyce Carr Stedelbauer – Girls Night Out

Joyce Carr Stedelbauer

Last weekend six girls “with grandmother faces”, as one author so accurately described us, met in the leader’s spacious home for a 24 hour rest, renewal, and review of where we are in our life journey.  We had not all met before but each one had been invited by one of the participants.
We believe in sharing our friends.  Each one had very different experiences, some tragic, devastating, humiliating, in all different degrees, plus wonderful, fulfilling, happy and satisfying years.  The perspective of over 50 is much different and should be wiser than our first decades.

We were invited for 4 o’clock on Friday.  A fire was glowing in the fireplace of the cozy corner room with big windows framing the marsh, forest and creek.  We began with peach Bellenies.  Our hostess was skilled at asking good questions and quickly we could profile where we had similarities and differences.  4 knew the stinging defeat of divorce, 1 had to live with the loneliness of widowhood, 2 had dealt with cancer, 1 the unforgettable lifelong sickness and death of a child, 2 had close experience with addictions.  All of us were active caregivers.  5 of us were living now within happy, successful marriages.  Each woman has made significant contributions in many fields of endeavor.  All are busily involved in the community as well beyond their “retirement”

Blessings over delicious soup and salad served by our hostess at her fascinating candlelit dining room table lead us into more lively conversation.  Scattered art objects and treasures stimulated
informative conversation.  Later in the gathering room our mentor, widely experienced in women’s retreats of all sizes generated a serious reflection in each one of us.  And we were given
an assignment to take to bed with us in preparation for tomorrows sessions.  Each lady had her own bedroom beautifully decorated with more treasures from the leader’s travels and books to keep us awake all night.  But we slept like Queens.

Saturday until 4 in the afternoon continued in the same lively vein.  And each one had the opportunity to share something of our currant projects.  Three of these friends have agreed to endorse my forthcoming book to be published by HIGH TIDE PUBLICATIONS.

THE ANGELS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, as told from the Angel’s prospective with unique, charming illustrations drawn by the Publisher JEANNE JOHANSEN is sure to delight every child.  These colorful books are designed for elementary children complete with interactive questions like the AWESOME ALPHABET ANIMALS PARTY will be available in time for your Christmas gift list.

JOYCE CARR STEDELBAUER also has four books of meditations on Biblical people that make excellent Christmas gifts.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE STAR?

HAVE YOU MET EVE?

WHERE ARE YOU ADAM?

WHO ROLLED THE STONE?

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – The Other Ten Commandments

Sharon Canfield Dorsey
  1. Thou shall not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.
  2. Thou shall not be fearful, for most of the things we fear never come to pass.
  3. Thou shall not cross bridges before you come to them, for no one has yet succeeded in accomplishing this.
  4. Thou shall face each problem as it comes. You can only handle one at a time anyway.
  5. Thou shall not take problems to bed with you, for they make very poor bedfellows.
  6. Thou shall not borrow other people’s problems. They can better care for them.
  7. Thou shall not try to relive yesterday, for, good or ill, it is gone forever.
  8. Thou shall be a good listener, for only when you listen, do you hear ideas different from your own and grow in knowledge and acceptance.
  9. Thou shall not become “bogged down” by frustration, for 90% of it is rooted in self-pity and will only interfere with positive action.
  10. Thou shall count thy blessings, never overlooking the small ones, for a lot of small blessings add up to a big one.

 

BONUS COMMANDMENT…Thou shall love unconditionally.

Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains, two children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; and Revolt of the Teacups; a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poetry is also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. WATCH FOR A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK IN NOVEMBER, 2018.