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Gwen Tuinman

NOVELIST

Women of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House”

Among my favourite girlhood books was the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Late 1800s pioneer life captivated me. Kathryn Adam, a scholar in midwestern women’s history and literature, regards Wilder’s female characters as historical resources that reveal “role expectations and feelings of western women”.

In her essay, Laura, Ma, Mary, Carrie, and Grace: Western Women as Portrayed by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Adam says that Wilder shows us “women engaged in the rigors of homesteading, women building community and culture on the frontier, women working to preserve the family in the face of bitter adversity (…) in a series of vividly realized frontier landscapes.”

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Writing Through Tough Days

A dear friend presented me with a copy of The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. This morning, I read a passage in which Cameron talks about using emotion as fuel for writing. I know just what she means.

Every day can’t be a great writing day. We’re only human and easily derailed. A song triggers the memory of a traumatic event and upsetting images flood our minds. Muscle tension from overworking makes our heads ache. Someone we love suffers hard times and our mind repeatedly veers towards worry like a shopping cart with a wonky wheel. The harder we try to put these thoughts from our minds, the deeper they entrench themselves. Why fight it when we can harness those emotion in a productive way?

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On Confidence and Little Victories

“If you don’t understand how valuable you are, you will always accept what is given to you.” These are the words of Celina Caesar-Chavannes from her book “Can You Hear Me Now?”. The sky opened up when first I read them. Her next thought aims straight at us. “We (meaning women in particular) are often humble people who find quantifying our skills and experience—our worth–daunting.”

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