Women’s Voices . . .

Terry Tempest Williams, a writer and naturalist, was raised as a Morman. She has  come out with a memoir, based on her mother’s journals, called When Women Were Birds.

A Mormon woman is expected to do two things: bear children and keep a journal. On her deathbed, Williams’ mother bequeathed her journals to her writer daughter, but made her promise not to look at them until she was gone. When Williams was finally ready to read the journals, she found every cloth bound book, shelf upon shelf of them, page after page–blank.

In the memoir she tries to make sense of her mother’s silence, and to explore what it means to have a voice—as a woman.

My mother’s Journals tell

me nothing.

My mother’s Journals tell

me everything.

In spare and lyrical language, Williams shows how even our silence—sometimes especially our silence—contains multitudes.

“It’s not the lips of a prince that will save us,” she writes, “but our own lips speaking.”

2 responses »

  1. Where does this image come from? Do you know who it is in the picture?

  2. I don’t remember where the image came from and I don’t know who is in the drawing. I chose it because it looked like a woman (perhaps an unfulfilled woman) writing and dreaming of what might have been.


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