It’s a great day to be a woman and a writer. Today is International Women’s Day 2005. It is the 94th annual celebration of the power of women to create change.
Today I honor the women who have changed me with their words. I thank the women who have listened to mine.
My mother taught me to love words. She was my first librarian. Right before my young eyes she nourished page after page of strange black print into colorful people and irresistible adventures.
My sisters and brothers taught me the power of words. “We’ll take turns opening our Christmas presents. We’ll go oldest to youngest”, my older siblings used to say. “First, last, bigger, smaller, more, less, mine, yours... I’m telling Mom.” The power of words.
The authors of my childhood – Louisa May Alcott, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Louise Fitzhugh, Esther Hautzig, Laura Ingalls Wilder – made me want to write.
My teachers – Marty Colburn, Charlotte Randall, Jeannie Giorgioni and Alma Read – made me want to write well.
I am an evolution of all the women who have touched my life with their words. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2005 I want to express special gratitude to:
Emily Dickinson for startling me with the beauty of structure and economy.
Maya Angelou for teaching me to ripen.
Clara Barton, Anne Frank, Sally Hemmings, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Sacagawea, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Emma Willard for compelling the world.
Mariane Pearl for reminding me to embrace life. “By killing Danny, terrorists took my life as well but could not lay claim to my spirit.” Mariane Pearl, April 2002 (Mariane’s husband, journalist Daniel Pearl, was brutally murdered by terrorists in February 2002).
Jane Denton for shaping my earliest impressions of hope. Jane’s husband, Admiral Jeremiah Denton, was a POW and leader of American resistance in the Communist Vietnamese prison camps from 1965-1973. During that time Jane raised their seven children, mobilized our Virginia Beach community, and never, ever gave up.
Mother Teresa for convincing me of the utter fortitude of grace.
Glennda Dove for teaching me that making music requires more than reading notes.
My Ganny for her willing struggle to write to me after her stroke.
Thanks to all of you for making me a better woman and a better writer.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Copyright © 2005 by Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.