Solstice 2020: taking the show on the road!

Host an online holiday gathering with a local-mystery author

Happy Holidays to all!

In this dark and quiet time near the Winter Solstice, who wouldn’t enjoy the bright company of friends for an hour – even if online? I offer to you the opportunity to Zoom-host a local-mystery author in your circle of friends or book group.

That’s right: you, me, your friends, (and a glass of wine or tea) all gathered online for a women’s circle or book group. Cozy!! Fun!!

No problem if you have not read the books, I have a mini power-point that will familiarize everyone with the main themes. After the presentation you can all ask me questions about research, writing, publishing, the books, or my mission & other projects.

Here is the official blurb I sent to the papers. You can cut and paste it into an email invite to your friends. I would very much enjoy visiting with you, via Zoom, in the next few months 🙂

——————————————

Local author and art-activist, RM Allen, is now available to speak to your Zoom book group or social club about her trilogy of historical-fiction mysteries. Her quick and fun mysteries are set in familiar locations throughout downtown Exeter, NH. They bring to life some Black citizens of our past, when Exeter was home to the highest percentage of Blacks in the State.

>>“Incident at Exeter Tavern” features Black Revolutionary War soldier, Jude Hall and his family.

>>“Incident at Ioka” features Black Abolitionist poet James M. Whitfield.

>>“Incident at Exeter Depot” set in Suffragette-era, features Black entrepreneur, John Garrison Cutler, and Rebecca Walker and her family. (spring 2021)

The author has spent many hours at the Exeter Historical Society researching these unsung people. She has also dug up some strong women from our past to lead the stories such as: Tabitha Tenney, Betsy Clifford, and Dr. Alice Chesley.

The fictional sleuth is Maryvonne, a modern-day artist with French flair and an ability to peer into the past.  We follow Maryvonne around Exeter as she sets up her easel, attends art shows, book talks, festivals, and speaks with people who may seem quite familiar to you. All the things we used to do in person before the pandemic!

The Exeter Newsletter has written two pieces on RM Allen’s work, and how it relates to her activism to help shine a light on our true history. The author would be happy to be invited to your online group to give a small presentation, and answer your questions.

Both Water Street Bookstore and Amazon/Kindle carry the books, but it is not a requirement to have read the books. She has pledged 100% of the book profits, which totals $1000 so far, to benefit a tangible Black Heritage project in downtown Exeter, NH.

To extend an invitation to the author, email her at: RmAllenNH@gmail.com

Rightfully Hers: Happy 100th to the Suffs!

This August marks the 100th anniversary of the “Women’s Vote” win that was an epic 72-year struggle, spanning two generations of women. Elizabeth Cady-Stanton kicked it off by writing the “Declaration of Sentiments” in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY, before her daughter Harriot Stanton-Blatch was even born. In 1902 the mom died (at 86 years old) and the daughter took the torch and traveled around the country speaking for Women’s Suffrage. Harriot spoke in Exeter, NH in 1902, as a matter of fact, when the women’s voting issue was going to be on the 1903 NH State ballot (it failed).  The fight went on for almost another 20 years. Harriot was 64 when the 19th Amendment/right for women to vote was ratified by the 36th state, and was finally adopted.

Did you know that there are 29 statues and monuments in NYC’s Central Park? Guess how many are in honor of real women? (Alice in Wonderland does not count.) The answer is ZERO. Until later this month, that is. A giant bronze Suffragette memorial will be installed featuring Cady-Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth. Yep, three ladies sitting around a tea-table, getting stuff done. Many of you recognize the classic women’s circle motif.

This bronze gladdens my heart almost in the same way that a surprise re-naming of a building on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy (a prep school in my town) did. There I was in the audience, listening to the usual opening day assembly, when the principal sprung that announcement upon us at the end. He said that the founder, John Phillips, had married a widow, Elizabeth, with some money. (And of course, in those times all the woman’s money became lost to her and was the property of her new husband , boo-hiss). The principal then said it was only fair that her name be written back into the founding history, so it was to be writ large across the top of a central building. There had been nary a mention of her since the 1700’s. I found tears running down my face at the surprise announcement. I looked around me and saw the same reaction in many other women in the audience.

I am trying to write some women back into history too. My third book in the Exeter trilogy will be set in the Suffragette era, when Harriot comes to town to speak. I have looked in all the usual places to try to find names of the Exeter Suffs. I can only find one, Kate Davis, and very small mention at that. Mon Dieu!!

So…. the game is afoot, the hunt is on! What a thrill!  I hope to dig up an entire gaggle of Suffs, and make them into a “Golden Girls”-style group for book #3. A women’s circle, sitting in Exeter at a tea-table, getting stuff done. Wish me luck in the dusty archives!

Happy 100th to the visionaries from yesteryear, and THANK YOU!!

RM Allen, neo-Suff, August 2020

PS In the meantime, book #2 “Incident at Ioka” featuring Abolitionist-era Exeter is now out and in the stores, or online at https://www.amazon.com/Incident-Ioka-Maryvonne-Mini-Mystery/dp/0988374439  I hope you will buy it and support my projects. Thanks 😊

FYI: Here is a family wedding from 1929 in upstate NY, to put you in the mood. I wonder if any of these relations were Suffs? I love the fashions… men in their Princeton outfits, women like flowers wafting on the garden breeze. I like looking at the shoes too…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsNTr5xZn88

Summer 2020: Justice and Liberty …for all

It is summer solstice, the lazy days should be stretching before us, but instead all the world seems in retrograde.

For a long time there have been people working on issues of equality. (That is a vast understatement.) But finally a great many people have joined them and are putting their own shoulders to the locked door as well. This past month, the door has finally been ripped off its hinges, and all that was hidden is now bursting forth in a spurt of chaos. It is both terrifying and beautiful.

July 4th, Independence Day, is almost upon us, and it looks like the day of freedom may finally become more true. Take for example the story of Exeter, NH Revolutionary War soldier Jude Hall, whom I profile in my local mystery “Incident at Exeter Tavern.”

undefinedJude fought for eight years, from Bunker Hill to Ticonderoga and more. Yay for the black patriot! He “earned” his freedom from slavery. Isn’t “earned” an interesting choice of words in the land of the free?  

Jude was repaid by having three of his grown sons kidnapped into Southern slavery. One was kidnapped by an Exeter resident while his mother, Rhoda, fought him off in their home on Drinkwater Road. The teen victim sailed on Capt. Isaac Stone’s ship Wallace out of Newburyport and was sold in Virginia. There was no accountability. Neither is there account of this in the local papers, but the story is recorded twenty years later in Garrison’s Liberator. After Jude died, Rhoda left town. Wouldn’t you?

This story so angered me that it served as the catalyst for action. What action? Write a report about the historic community and sit down with 100 people in this town and ask them to act upon any one of the bulleted suggestions at the end. I found that the majority of the people were unaware of the history.  

So, I then wrote a book about it, hoping to reach a different audience than history buffs. But that one slim book was not enough to tell even a fraction of the story of the historic black community in Exeter, so it has become a trilogy. Volume #2 will be launched in July. (Vol. 3/Suffragettes date is TBD).

“Incident at Ioka” looks at abolitionist-era Exeter and its black community as the Civil War approaches. I write these stories “light” on purpose, so you can just taste a sliver of the bitter flavor, but you know it is there. Scholars can fill you in on the more nefarious aspects.

But even that trilogy only tells a fraction of the “Black Exeter” story, and still has a relatively small reach. So, as a form of redress, the profits from these three slim books will be donated towards a physical commemoration of the historic black community that once thrived near Swasey Parkway.

A proposal has been drafted (which will be presented to the town officials in July) to form a simple pocket-park in the names of Jude & Rhoda Hall down by the river. I am hoping to get NH State designation to further the reach. You can see the proposal at this link.

Hall pocket park proposal

It seems the time is ripe for local citizens to put our shoulders into it in Exeter, and let the cleansing light splay across our hidden history.

PS. This blog post is written to inspire you. I know many of my followers live elsewhere… what can you do in your town? (August update: Hello to people from China! I see many of you are downloading my report. I wonder why?? Can someone write and tell me how you heard of it? GreenXNH@yahoo.com)

PSS: Here is the small report with the bulleted list of suggestions at the end:

PSSS: See me say all this in a graveside video for the 2020 American Independence Festival !!

You Must Be The One To Write It

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it. ~ Toni Morrison

“Toni Morrison – The Pieces I Am”, a 2019 documentary, was offered as a selection on a recent flight I took aboard American Airlines. I had heard about this film because a woman from my hometown, Sandra Guzman, was integral in making it. She looked for films on Toni, and finding none, decided to make one. And now the writer Toni is gone, but her physical presence has been forever captured in this excellent film.

I wanted to read a book about Jude Hall, black Revolutionary War soldier of Exeter, NH, and his wife Rhoda. But I could not find one. So, although I am not the most experienced writer, nevertheless I researched and wrote one: “Incident at Exeter Tavern.”

I am not a scholar, but an activist hoping to inspire local scholars and experienced writers. I found about Jude and the historic black community about two years ago and have been promoting awareness of it ever since on social media with a small PowerPoint of facts.

Inspired by Bryan Stephenson, I began a “Community Remembrance Project”, writing a small lineage report and setting a goal of sitting with 100 local people to share it with… and ask for help. I am up to about 75. If you read it, then it will be 76 🙂 Thanks!

Again, I am not a scholar or experienced writer, but I do hope you read my small mystery book, “Incident at Exeter Tavern”, and pass it on to others. I would appreciate it.

Or maybe write your own.

~~~~~~~~~~~ small report below~~~~~~~~~

2020 Overhaul: New Book, New Site

Hello friends!

It is 2020 and time for an overhaul, on many levels. I am sure you can feel this in your own lives. As for me, I put my newest book up online last week and then decided to overhaul my website. Many days later, I am now ready to present you with a new website that shows a more holistic view of my various endeavors: www.RM-Allen.com

This new site replaces the old NHGoddess.com and streamlines my sprawling array of websites, Facebook pages, Twitters. etc. It gets kinda crazy after a while, don’t you feel that too? So I had to downsize. Simplicity is one of my mottos, after all 🙂

Dedicated to Rhoda Hall,
Jude’s wife.

Now (drumroll) on to the new book, “Incident at Exeter Tavern”, which is the first in a trilogy of mini-mysteries all set in Exeter, NH. The books are historical-fiction in nature and will highlight some of the hidden histories of Exeter, all in the name of telling a more inclusive public history.

In the first book, the contributions of the local black soldiers in the Revolutionary War are dug up and dusted off. Strong women abound in my books, so expect a heavy dose of feminism and fun too. And maybe a topic or two that only a women would dare put in print. On the serious side, the three books will start to ask the question: “What would redress look like in Exeter?”

The second in the series is in the research phase now and will be set in Exeter’s Abolitionist era. But for now, please take a look at the first book -in paperback or Kindle. You can get it online right now – yes!

Or you can wait until my official launch at Water Street Bookstore in a month or so. I will also be speaking for a few minutes in the “Race Matters” 3-part series being held at the Exeter Historical Society in Jan/Feb/March. (My gig is on Feb. 24th.) And then look for me at the annual ExeterLitFest on April 4th, 2020.

Here is a little widget that lets you peek into the book. I really hope you like it. Much love, and thanks for your support! ~ RM Allen

amplify HER voice

amplify HER voice

by RM Allen, Feb 27, 2019

amplify her voice

I recently learned of the global initiative to edit Wikipedia specifically to include the contributions of women and femmes, so I signed up to participate. One needs only to open a Wikipedia account, read the guidelines on referencing and such, and do a few practice bits. Then you are ready to amplify the fading voices of yesterday’s women by adding HERstory into HIStory as it appears online today. So, I have been adding in the names of women and minorities into the current incomplete HIStory of my NH town.

Then I wanted to add a brand-new entry for an author from my town who wrote six books in the 1960s and 70s. But that listing was denied by the moderators, reason listed as both she and her books were not notable enough. This made me wonder what it is to be considered “notable” and who decrees on the value of any published book.

To wit: I recently the book The Truths We Hold by presidential candidate Kamala Harris and I loved it. Later, I read a review about the book by a reviewer from NPR – who did not love it – reason being that she felt it was not really a normal book, but a political platform piece. But that is exactly why I thought it was great!

It is my conjecture that Kamala is participating in the creation of a new genre of book, and one that is sorely needed. Her book is a combination memoir, auto-biography, and political platform. Coming away from this bio-plat book you feel you know not only her resume, but her entire value system. I feel this is important information to have when I am casting my vote on election day. She amplified her own voice by setting this bio-plat book out there and in doing so SHE set the tone, not her challengers or the media.

I believe that greed and sustainability are situated at opposite ends of a spectrum, and Kamala has proven that she sits far closer to the sustainability end and roots out and prosecutes those who do their shady deals at the greed end. Kamala is a woman of values who has been working in a man’s world since she began her career. This strong woman has evidently learned how to move right through the BS and get things done, while still being likable. For example, by writing this bio-plat for the public in spite of knowing that a book of this nature blurs some fixed genre lines in the world of the literati.

I am not quite sure of the genre of the small books that I write either, nor do I care. What is important to me is that my voice amplifies the voices and thoughts of many other women I know on the matters of feminine spirituality and sustainability.

Through the “sacred art of inspiration” I hope my goddess guidebook series will encourage women to contribute more publicly. Deeds not words my friend, and small deeds count as well! Through the reading of this blog post, perhaps you dear reader will be inspired to “amplify her voice” by editing the Wikipedia entry for your town. Or perhaps to make it your business to; add notable women into school curriculums, create art or film or stories on them, or speak in public about them. Maybe one or two of you will even run for office yourself – and become a “notable” while you serve others!

Namaste 😊

amplify her voice

Who Writes Herstory?

Who writes history?

It is time to re-examine traditional narratives and do some inclusive re-writes.

For example, I would have bet money that my very “white” NH town had always been so. But I fell down a rabbit hole while looking for a rabbit, and found also that my town had the highest percentage of free blacks in the entire state directly after the Revolutionary War (4.7%). It is unclear why. The NH blacks who fought in the war earned their freedom, pensions and then settled in my town buying homes, opening businesses and starting families. I was astonished to learn this! The black community they established was erased within 100 years, both from the actual town and also in the memory of the citizens.

My town of Exeter was the Revolutionary capital of NH then and home to various military officers and their funding. Perhaps they made promises to the black soldiers? Perhaps those promises are why blacks made up 4.7% of the citizenry in 1790? It is unclear. Why is it unclear? Because those writing the town’s grand, white and male, history back then did not include it. Or perhaps it was purposely excluded? I don’t know. But what I do know it that it is time to re-examine and redress – by including.

My town is all the poorer for not letting that community flourish. I can only imagine the interesting contributions those ladies and gentlemen would have made here. In the four or so generations that the community existed (mainly near the west bank of the Squamscott River) there were many blacks that influenced the culture of this town. For example, in the following small report I give you the exploits and achievements of one family as they began their uphill climb from slavery.

15-jmw-w-book
James Monroe Whitfield, poet

Down in that rabbit hole I met James Monroe Whitfield, a black abolitionist poet who was born in 1822 on Whitfield’s Lane, later renamed to Elliot Street. His 1853 book America and other poems was held in the Library of Congress, but curiously, was not in any of our libraries. His name was virtually unknown in our town. But I invite you now to read my small report james monroe whitfield family lineage  and then join me in saying: “Welcome home James”!

During my research I noticed that both people of color and women were glaringly missing from the history of my town, as published on Wikipedia. So I learned how to submit to Wikipedia -thus writing in a bit of herstory and theirstory back into history.

On January 25 and February 15 the “Where The Future Came From” symposium encourages people to join them in an Art & Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon to make history more inclusive. Why don’t you give it a try too?

Dark n’ Dreary 2018

Dark n’ Dreary in 2018

by RM Allen

Hill. Ford. Hopefully there will never be another name added to this list.

On September 27th I attended a “Solidarity Speak Out” on City Hall Plaza in Boston to show support for the courage of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. That same day she was to testify about her teen-aged trauma in front of the entire country, and a row of old white guys in suits. A great many other women have similar stories of trauma. About one hundred women gathered in Boston in front of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s offices to speak their own stories aloud in front of the crowd and the tv news cameras. As I watched, woman after woman walked to the front and speak about what happened when they were five years old, or at their high school, or at Welcome to College night, or with their father-in-law, the nice guy next door – it just went on and on. I was repulsed.

boston speak out sept 27 2018 blasey ford

For some, this was the very first time they had spoken their truth aloud. After each story the crowd said “We believe you.” Some speakers cried, some were pissed, some dejected. Some had been successful in legally prosecuting their perp. Others had never told a soul. Why? Because they thought they wouldn’t be believed. One woman, after telling her story said she never told the police. Then she swept her hand in front of herself and with her head bowed she said “who would believe that anyone would want this body”? It broke my heart.

speak out boston sept 27 2018 blasey ford

Silence. The biggest thing I came away with was that the silence was what has allowed this perverted behavior to continue for centuries. Silence and victim blaming. Did the five-year old girl have it coming? Did the woman who was made by her husband to sleep with her father-in-law again and again bring that upon herself? Did Dr. Ford want to be jumped and nearly suffocated by two drunken frat boys on the way to the bathroom?

The earnestness and bravery of Dr. Ford was historic. I think she will make a difference in the long run. But she did not make a difference that week: her alleged perp was quickly installed in the highest office in the land, even after his own bizarre show of instability and belligerence. The vote was rushed and the old white guys in suits won. My prophecy is this: just like when you end up with a shoddy contractor who does a rush-job on your house and hides it from you, the truth will out eventually. And it will cost heavily.

But in the meantime, the whole sordid week left me depleted and traumatized. The world went all dark and dreary for weeks. At some later point, I realized that it felt like someone had died and I was grieving. Often, I had wondered what it must have felt like to try to live a normal life during the Vietnam War era. This dark month had given me a tiny glimpse of that. Just laboring on in your work-a-day life, full of sorrow and rage. I was not fit to be out in public. Eventually I had to hide from the news and sit with my grief and just heal. My poor husband, what a saint.

So here we are, five days from the mid-term elections. I am petrified. Please tell me that the majority feel that these inglorious past two years have been a huge mistake. Exploding excesses of testosterone. I can’t even look at the polls. I feel a little sick, and a lot snarky. My poor husband, what a saint.

I have been biding my time and persisting the best I can, but my heart is so heavy. Sigh. Please dear goddess, clear the dark and dreary clouds and show us your lovely face. Bring back Love.

speak out blasey ford sept 27 2018 boston

“The Grab” a #MeToo pop-up play

no groping signI wrote this 5-minute play because I couldnt’ find one. Feel free to use it. It is maximum impact and minimal fuss: all actors wear black and hold scripts onstage.

Props needed:

  • text book
  • briefcase
  • shrink-wrapped small plate of brownies
  • diary and pencil
  • large gloves on sticks, (like fireplace tongs)
  • 3 monkey grinder vests, or similar

 

THE GRAB, by RM ALLEN  2018

Contact at: ExeterNhArts.com

ACT [1]

A SINGLE CHAIR ON LEFT, LARGE CURTAIN IN CENTER, AND A BENCH ON STAGE RIGHT

(Monkeys in vests are seated in a row on the bench)

MONKEYS: (In unison)

1982!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left holding school books, talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

WOMAN

 

Yes, that class was interesting, Mr. Smith. By the way, I am glad you liked my English essay…

(Before she can finish, large hands being manipulated by the puppeteer emerge from behind the curtain and start groping her- just as suddenly, disappear back behind the curtain. Woman freezes, mortified, and looks down in shame before running silently off the stage.  Monkeys have seen this)

MONKEY #1

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over eyes before sitting back down)

 

I did not see that

MONKEY #2

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over ears before sitting back down)

 

I did not hear that

MONKEY #3

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over mouth before sitting back down)

 

I will not speak about that

 

(All the monkeys are seated on the bench.  They speak in unison)

MONKEYS

1992!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left, holding briefcase, talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

 

…I really enjoyed that seminar, David.  By the way, how many widgets should we order…

(Before she can finish, large hands being manipulated b y the puppeteer emerge from behind the curtain and start groping her- just as suddenly, disappear back behind the curtain. Woman freezes, mortified, and looks down in shame before running silently off the stage.  Monkeys have seen this)

MONKEY #1

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over eyes before sitting back down)

 

I did not see that

MONKEY #2

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over ears before sitting back down)

 

I did not hear that

MONKEY #3

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over mouth before sitting back down)

 

I will not speak about that

 

(All the monkeys are seated on the bench.  They speak in unison)

 

2012!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left, holding paper plate of plastic-wrapped brownies talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

WOMAN

…What a great BBQ, I am bringing some brownies home for my daughter. Goodbye Lynne, bye Liz, bye Mark…

(Before she can finish, large hands being manipulated by the puppeteer emerge from behind the curtain and start groping her- just as suddenly, disappear back behind the curtain. Woman freezes, mortified, and looks down in shame … before slowly going over to sit in chair. Monkeys have seen this)

MONKEY #1

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over eyes before sitting back down)

 

I did not see that

MONKEY #2

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over ears before sitting back down)

 

I did not hear that

MONKEY #3

(Stands up, speaks, and claps hands over mouth before sitting back down)

 

I will not speak about that

 

(Woman sitting on the chair, picks up a diary. Opens diary and writes…)

WOMAN

 

“Dear Diary, Yesterday it happened again!!!! Why does this demeaning groping persist?? That new boyfriend of Liz’s is a real creep. Such a jerk!

This crap has been happening to me my whole adult life, usually more discreetly, but this time it was right out in the open. Those people are all my good friends, yet no one stuck up for me.

I am SO mad. Even my date was SILENT! Ugh. He just said the next day “oh, I saw it but I thought you had something going with him”. WHAT????

Why does this happen to me?

 

(She stops writing)

WOMAN

 

Hmm, yes why? ……And why do I go silent? Why don’t I defend myself?

 

(she thinks for a minute)

Have I bought into the old-school “Good girls don’t make waves” culture? (pause)

Have I bought into the fear-based “he’ll make my life miserable, so I’ll just be silent & avoid him” culture? (pause)

Have I bought into the victim-blaming “She must have brought it on herself” culture? (pause)

Hmm…now THAT makes me mad. Madder than I was before, but in a different way. I have done nothing wrong. I am the victim here…

(thinks some more)

 

Well, now that I really think about how I used to be silent, I am FURIOUS …..at MYSELF! This will NOT happen again. I swear it!  I have found my voice and will school myself on what to do next time. YES! I will be soooo ready for the next perp.”

 

(WOMAN stands up fiercely and walks off stage)

(Monkeys are seated in a row on the bench)

MONKEYS: (In unison)

2017!

 

(Woman walks onstage from the left, talking to someone, then pauses in front of curtain)

WOMAN

 

Yes, my darling husband, just a minute, let me say goodbye to our hosts Mr & Mrs Jones — thank you so much for the lovely meal…

(Foam hands emerge from behind the curtain again and start to grope her.  Woman pushes hands away and yells…NO)

WOMAN

“NO!”

 

(MONKEYS have witnessed this, turn to look at the woman.)

 

WOMAN

 

Ha!  I swore that would never let that happen again, and it WILL NOT. I will persist, but I can’t do it alone.

(addresses audience)

Me, your mothers and sisters and daughters, and everyone – we need YOUR help too. Don’t enable. Do NOT be a silent bystander anymore.

MONKEY #1

(Stands up and speaks)

I SAW that!

(Puts hands up to eyes like binoculars)

MONKEY #2

(Stands up and speaks)

I HEARD that!

(Cups hands over ears)

MONKEY #3

(Stands up and speaks)

 

I WILL speak up about that.

(steps toward woman/puppeteer and says)

“That is NOT cool, dude, don’t do it again!”

ALL

Don’t enable. Speak up, call it out…

 

(then all raising hands)

 

ALL

“PERSIST!”

***

monkeys

Running with the Wolves in 2017

Running with the Wolves in 2017
By RM Allen


Election: November, 2016:
It was so dark, so why couldn’t I sleep? It was simply too dark to sleep. The darkness had dredged up my past rage about men who grope, men who demean, men who lie. Thankfully I now enjoy and adore wonderful and caring men who inspire me daily. I want to avoid knee-jerk-reaction to the past rage suddenly returned, but am confused as to how to thoughtfully proceed. Suddenly it strikes me to search for wisdom inside one of my favorite books “Women Who Run with the Wolves” (by C. Pinkola-Estes). And there it is, a chapter on rage and forgiveness. The Japanese story of The Crescent Bear, followed by dissection and explanation, is like a magical balm. As I read it from a new perspective, truth illuminates and disinfects the moldering corners of my post-election mind. There is work to do.

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Solstice: December 21, 2016: The darkest days pass and the light begins to return now. As Pinkola-Estes writes, rage is good and serves a purpose. Consuming rage burns all to ash, but appropriate rage lights a transformative fire and directs your path to “right action.” These days there is a collective rage directing a lot of right actions. Almost four million women are connecting through crowd-source storytelling on Pantsuit Nation. Their stories enrage, sadden, give hope, inspire; The flight attendant calling out the unwanted touch, the feminist dismayed, the caring man on the subway, the female soldier in Iraq, the black mother with tiny son on her breast, the middle-schooler with her Malala report, the singer who lives near the old KKK house and her soulful version of Lennon’s “Imagine”, the nasty woman scientist, the newlywed lesbians, the wild woman and her pre-teen daughter in the hockey game bleachers. Today I read in The Guardian that the ACLU website had crashed from activity and that “Planned Parenthood has received more than 300,000 donations in the six weeks since the election, 40 times its normal rate. Around half the donors were millennials and 70% had never given to the family planning organization before.” Rage is being directed into right action. This is good.

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New Year: January 2017: The light grows stronger. Three reasons for hope: (1.) Michelle Obama’s recent “exit” interview with Oprah was a model of how to be simultaneously strong and gracious at this time. (2.) Carefully in the mushroom cloud of fake-news, I am researching and watching the young Ivanka, as she seems to have a bit of the she-wolf in her. Can it be? There is some cause for hope, but I am unsure. Let us see what her reaction is to The Women’s March on January 21st. Which brings me to (3.) Hundreds of thousands of women, families, and church groups will travel with their personal wolf-packs to either the US capital or their own state capital on January 21 to creatively express their insistence on women’s and human rights.

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My husband will join me, as well as many friends and family as we gather at the Boston Women’s March, and in the years ahead, to continue our work to create a more gracious world for future generations. With a hopeful heart, I will carry with me an ultrasound photo of my unborn grandson. My personal wolf-pack will be there to “make our voice heard” …will yours?

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