The 51%

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Tuesday 8th March 2022 is International Women’s Day.

Here are my picks of 5 TV shows – 5 books – 5 films – 5 pieces of women’s history (should that be herstory?) and 5 ongoing events that celebrate the achievements of women, amplify their voices and call out inequalities on the basis of sex.

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5 Recent TV shows that smash the Bechdel Test

Call The Midwife

The Handmaid’s Tale

Orange is The New Black

Better Things

The Nevers

Broad City

My Top 5 Books by Women (these change every week depending on my mood)

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

5 Films written or directed by a woman or have a predominantly female cast. (I must say that the way some of these trailers were cut, does soften and ‘prettify’ the content of the film!)

Did Gillian Anderson’s role in The X Files encourage more girls to study STEM? Read The Scully Effect

How cycling enabled women’s freedom in more ways than one. Read here.

Why was women’s football banned in the UK, despite attendances of 53,000? Read here.

Katharine Johnson, the mathematics and computer operator for NASA, pioneering calculations for space travel. Read here.

Women’s History Month

Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

Current events….

On This Day She……. (putting women back into history, one day at a time)

Caroline Criado Perez – Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Do you know which country has the highest representation of women in Government? The answer may surprise you. Read here.

Anonymous was a woman

The legacy of RBG

Finally, we take it for granted that we have access to sanitary towels and toilets. But what if we didn’t? (No, not the Urinary Leash) but an Oscar-winning short film, called ‘Period. End of Sentence’. Period poverty is a real thing, holding back millions of girls and women from achieving anywhere close to their full potential.

132. Made to a Secret Family Recipe.

Eva was an only child until she was 32. She was their “wonderful gift” and “happy surprise”. Dad had the mumps when he was a teenager, but they don’t talk about things like that in their family.
She overheard her Great Aunt and her Nanna whispering once about “test tubes” and “it” being “unnatural”. They stopped talking when they saw her and her Nanna fiddled around in her handbag for a boiled sweet.

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV from Pexels

Eva first saw (some of) her siblings on one of those daytime TV chat shows.

‘Fertility Doctor played God and admitted using his own sperm to father dozens of children.’ 

There were 14 of them in the studio. Eva looked into her own eyes. Did that woman hate her nose as much as she hated hers? Another one had a smaller perkier nose and a softer chin. Eva now knew what she would look like if she was pretty. There was a more voluptuous, gorgeous version. An athlete. An aged druggie. A police officer. That one had the same kink in the same place in her hair. How many of them ground their teeth at night and got reflux from cucumber? They were all of the people she could have been. How many more were out there somewhere in the world?

Who could she call if she was affected by anything in that programme? 

Maybe her Mum and Dad already knew and were keeping it from her. Maybe they didn’t know. What good would it do to tell them? No, it wasn’t true. Her Dad was her real Dad. She know what she would do. Pretend she didn’t know and had never seen the programme. Follow the family tradition and say nothing. They don’t talk about things like that in their family.

One of my favourite films (about clones) is ‘Never Let Me Go’ based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

2020 Won. 2021 Too.

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It’s that time again, where people humblebrag their annual round robin of their writing achievements. This was my year of Zoom creative writing classes and I would never have been able to take so many lessons if they were ‘in person’ or I was not working from home. The pandemic has totally changed how I work, my interactions with others and my social life. I wrote a blog post about it, which you can read here.

This is a list (in no order or rank) of my personal writing highlights from 2021 and links to my words that were published elsewhere. I may not have been out of the house very much but my words have reached the far corners of the world. I have noted where each publisher is based, in brackets.

(If you are reading this in an email as a subscriber to my blog, then it is better viewed in a browser.)

Apple TV asked me if they could use my tweet about the Billie Eilish documentary. (USA)

In February, I recorded my story, ‘Minted’ for Micro, the podcast for short but powerful writing. (New Orleans, USA.) To try and win them over, I recorded a little intro, which they used as well! I am in very good company. There are some big names in the short fiction world who have contributed to this podcast. (George Saunders reading out ‘Sticks’ for one!)

Click here to listen.

One Day I’ll Hold Your Hand in Mine

I was part of an online Community poetry project, hosted by Curve Theatre (Leicester, UK) where we each contributed our thoughts about our experiences of lockdown into ‘The People’s Poem’. The collaborative poem can be seen in the final video below (the filming of which was my first social interaction with people in real life outside of my own home for over a year). Only the first stanza of my poem was used, but our entire poems were on display at Curve Theatre throughout the summer. A revised version of my poem, called ‘One Day I’ll Hold your Hand’ was published by Liquid Amber Press in an anthology. (Australia). You can purchase the book here.

My sci-fi flash fiction, ‘The Aspiration Project on Colony IV’ was published by Ab Terra in Issue 4 of their magazine. You can read it here. (USA)

2021 started well with an acceptance onto a professional development writer’s course, called ‘A Brief Pause’ run by Dahlia Books (Leicester UK). Read more here. The course culminated in the publication of a short story anthology in September called ‘Small Good Things’. You can buy it here.

My short story contribution, ‘The Women Who Swapped Their Baby For Salad’ was inspired by a twitter conversation earlier on in the year. Story ideas really do come from anywhere!

I’ve written more poems this year than short stories and a handful have gone onto have lives elsewhere. My eco poem ‘How We Used To Live’ was published by Pens of the Earth (Portsmouth UK). You can read it here.

I recorded another eco poem, ‘Tales from The Cashmere Hotel’ for the Art and Energy Collective (Plymouth, UK), and it was part of a community collaborative art ‘Moths to a Flame’ installation at Glasgow Botanic Gardens to coincide with COP 26. The poem will be included in a book, due out shortly. The installation won The Sustainability First People’s Art Prize 2021.

These are strange times we are living in.

Happy wintering, wherever you are reading this in the world. More tea, twinkly lights, peace, quiet and no surprises. Please.