Lori Henriksen

author of The Winter Loon


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Goldie Awards

 

A few days ago I attended the the Golden Crown Literary Society Conference held in 110 degrees, Las Vegas. Whew! I didn’t step outside for three days.

Every year this amazing group of lesbian fiction writers get together to  learn from each other. I attended great classes and panel discussions with the best take away being the support, rather than competition, these women feel for each other. In that vein, I offer my congratulations to the winning authors in the Debut and Historical categories.

Even though a finalist in both those categories, The Winter Loon didn’t take home a Goldie award, but I still feel like a winner and am honored to be in the company of these fine writers.

In the Debut category the Goldie awards went to:

 

 

 

 

 

And the winner in the Historical category is:

 

 

You can check out all the rest of the 2018 winners here:

https://www.goldencrown.org/page/2018Winners

and all the finalists here:

https://www.goldencrown.org/page/2018Finalists

Thanks for stopping by.


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Dishtowels, Dandelions, and Deception

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On my home page, I say that I believe in synchronicity. For something to be synchronistic and not just coincidence, unrelated events are more than just mere chance. Here’s something that happened last week after I decided to jump back into blogging and set up an Instagram account.

Many years ago I had a dishtowel that I remembered said, “One man’s flower is another man’s weed,” attributed to Tennyson. Fast forward to my launch on Instagram. Not long ago, I learned that dandelions are the first source of nourishment for bees in the spring. Every year in the past I’ve grumbled about the dandelions taking over the grass. For the last week, the bright yellow flowers I’ve always thought of as a weed, have been in full bloom. I took a photo and decided to make my first instagram post about bees and dandelions.

I wanted to say: “To mow or not to mow . . . ” and then add the quote from my long-lost dishtowel. A little voice warned me to be accurate—it was a long time ago and maybe it wasn’t Tennyson. A quick Google search: Tennyson—One Man’s Weed led me to his lovely poem the Flower. My memory kicked in, it was the first stanza on the towel I remembered, not the quote I wanted to use.

Once upon a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed
Up there came a flower
The people said a weed.

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Back to Google and who said the quote I remembered about weeds. I had several choices and for no particular reason, chose Susan Wittig Albert who said, “One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.” She is the award-winning author of many books, including Loving Eleanor, a book I read as part of my research while writing The Winter Loon. I mentioned the book and it’s importance to history in a blog on April 5, 2016. You can read it here.

I don’t think it is mere chance that the memory of my old dishtowel led me to my first post on Instagram that led me to Susan Wittig Albert that led me to my old blog post called Deception and the insight that it gives to Ruth’s character as she embarks on her journey of self-discovery in The Winter Loon.

Synchronicity, the seed that grew into this post.

I’d love to hear about synchronicity in your life. It can be something simple like this post all the way to something life changing.

Thanks for stopping by.

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FaceBook Launch Party

I’m taking part in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association launch party tomorrow, Tuesday, November 14. My slot is:

11:30 am PST, 2:30 pm EST or 7:30 pm UK

Come early, stay late. There are 9 authors taking part

Use the link below to join the party:

https://www.facebook.com/events/529819520685317/

Check out all the authors here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/529819520685317/permalink/532420773758525/

Nov 14 Party Invitationhttps://www.facebook.com/events/529819520685317/permalink/532420773758525/


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PRIDE MONTH

200In 1970 Pride was a political movement to voice demands for LGBT equal rights and protections. As Pride is now celebrated worldwide, itis important toremember that June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred the end of June 1969 in Manhattan. The month of June is a time to celebrate and honor people from the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time to reflect and continue to fight against discrimination that still occurs and threatens the hard-earned right to marry, to live and work where one choses and shop without the risk of prejudice.

It is pure serendipity that my book The Winter Loon debuts during Pride Month. I missed several self-imposed deadlines for publication and finally in mid-June this year my book is on Amazon available for purchase.

THE WINTER LOON is inspired by my mother, who died when I was nine and who had divulged very little information about her life, refusing even to answer any questions about my biological father. Estranged from her family, she moved across the country from the Midwest to California, ending up in a remote area of the Mojave Desert far from the nearest town. From my earliest memories, the two of us lived as a family with her woman companion until shortly before her death. Some of the things she left behind were a few photos, a newspaper clipping of her as a rodeo competitor, and her master’s degree certificate from the 1930s.

When I started writing, my purpose of embarking on a healing journey gradually transformed into this novel about a young woman who struggles to define herself in a world where she does not seem to fit. As I envisioned how my mother’s life might have been if she was able to live her authentic truth, I realized how much, and how little, has changed for the LGBTQ+ community. It is my hope that this story about the healing power of love will positively influence anyone who reads it.

 


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Yearning

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Yearning ~ Longing, craving, hunger, thirst, ache

Maya Angelou experienced and later wrote about oppression of black American women as seen through her child eyes in the 1930s and her own later experience as a woman struggling to survive and raise her child. Through her books and poetry she sheds light on the abuse and brutality of racism. She writes of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and the yearning to be free. She writes about how segregation made people feel and how freedom is taken for granted.

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Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

~Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou wrote too many books to list here. Check out her top 10 works at:

http://www.blackenterprise.com/lifestyle/top-10-works-of-maya-angelou/

Maya Angelou died May 28, 2014 at the age of 86. Her wisdom lives on:

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Inspiring Women

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Inspiring ~ Encouraging, Heartening, Stimulating, Influential

Today I’m listing a few of the outstanding women of the 1930s. It was a time of hardship, but also a time when women made strides toward changing their place in the world. They are listed in no particular order or importance and many more could be added to this list.

Amelia Earhart ~ 1932 is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Jane Addams ~ 1931 is the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor in Chicago.

Karen Horney ~ 1939 published New Ways in Psychoanalysis, challenging Freudian conceptions of female psychology.

Margaret Mitchell ~ 1936 published Gone With the Wind and gave us Scarlett O’Hara one of the first complex female protagonists written from the perspective of a woman. Scarlett O’Hara dramatizes gender roles and expectations for women, and along with the rest of the characters in the book, continues to intrigue readers today.

Marian Andersen ~ 1932 was denied the right to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. because of her race. Instead she sang for 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial and went on to be the first black singer at the Metropolitan Opera.

Pearl S. Buck ~ 1935 won the Pulitzer Prize for The Good Earth and in 1938 became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. She published over seventy books before her death in 1975.

Dorothea Lange ~ documented the hardships of The Great Depression with her camera. She captured the suffering and injustice of the era along with the dignity of the folks she photographed. She took one of the most famous photos of the era.

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Photo: Dorothea Lange

Mary McLeod Bethune ~ 1935 along with other prominent black women leaders formed the National Council of Negro Women with the philosophy, “We are seeking to make togetherness more effective.”

Frances Perkins ~ 1933 appointed Secretary of Labor by FDR, becoming the first woman Cabinet member.

Hattie Wyatt Caraway ~ 1932 the first woman elected to the U. S. Senate.

 

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If you have anyone to add to the list, please let me know. As always, thanks for stopping by.


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Gertrude Stein

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Gertrude Stein ~ an icon of the 1930s

Gertrude Stein and her life partner, Alice B. Toklas, met and lived abroad. They toured the U.S. for 191 days during 1934 and 1935, while Ms. Stein gave a series of lectures. Out west the two were accepted as a couple. The Chicago Press referred to Alice as the wife or mate who protected Gertrude.

During her lectures, limited to only five hundred people, Gertrude Stein sat alone on the bare stage next to a table with a white cloth and a glass of water. She exuded a commanding presence. To some, her lectures sounded baffling. How could something that seemed so lacking of ideas be considered literary? But if one listened carefully to the rhythm of her speech, she could delight an audience as an innovative artist explaining English literature, using the relationship of one word to the next as her medium.

“Twenty-five years rolls around so quickly, but one hundred years do not roll around at all. They end, the century ends. What makes narrative difficult is a century begins and ends, but no part of it begins, and no part ends.” A Stein mind twister for sure.

According to the San Jose Mercury News in 2011, Wanda Corn, author of Seeing Gertrude Stein finds the focus on Gertrude Stein’s long-term domestic partnership with lover Alice B. Toklas timely, in light of the gay marriage issue today. “Here was a couple who really personified a long, monogamous relationship,” Corn says.

For more go to: www.gayheroes.com/gertrude.htm

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Gertrude Stein

Thanks for stopping by.

 


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Deception

 

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Deception ~ Deceitful, misleading, specious

This topic chose me. I randomly opened Volume 1 of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary to the D section and ran my finger down the page, opened my eyes and my finger had landed on Deception. I wasn’t happy with the negative impression I have of the word: underhanded, fraud, monkey business. I’ve been carrying this word around with me for a few days, wondering how it fits my theme.

In the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus I came across a challenge of how to describe a person who is said to be deceptively strong? I would describe Ruth, the main character in The Winter Loon as deceptively strong.

Ruth handles and rides horses like a pro. She competes in relay races, one of the most dangerous rodeo events of the era. After a few months on the rodeo circuit, she dresses as a cowboy and joins a steer wrestling team as a hazer. A hazer rides alongside an eight hundred plus pound steer to keep it running in a straight line for the bulldogger who in a few seconds wrestles the steer to the ground. It takes a lot of skill and guts, especially for a woman in a man’s world.

But Ruth has a softer, weaker side. She has trouble being assertive. Raised to believe she should marry and be cared for by her husband, Ruth conforms to her gender role. When she leaves home for the rodeo, she is a follower who must learn to stand up for herself. She let’s Mac, her cowboy sponsor who fronts the money push her around even though she earns high prize dollars. The underbelly of Ruth’s strength is her passivity.

There’s also a deceptively positive aspect to deception. It has a self-protective side for women in keeping their relationship hidden. The white lies about being spinsters, saying they live together to save money during the Great Depression were deceptive. The fact that the truth could result in persecution, losing everyone and everything dear, physical harm and even death, made deception advantageous. But it also took a toll on a person’s freedom to be authentic and relaxed with co-workers, with family and casual friends. The underbelly of living a self-protective life through deception is fear.

Eleanor Roosevelt was probably the best-known woman of the Thirties who lived a duplicitous life because of the woman she loved. I don’t use duplicitous in a pejorative way. She lived a secret life to protect herself and her husband and to keep from shocking her adoring public.

It wasn’t totally secret. In The Winter Loon Ruth and Gisela laugh over “lesbians in the White House” when Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas have tea with Mrs. Roosevelt. According to the book, Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert, FDR took action to cover up Lorena Hickok’s relationship with his wife.

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It’s a great read about not only about the relationship between Lorena and Eleanor, but also about strong, professional women of the 1930s.

Thanks for stopping by.


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Thoughts While Walking the Dog

Meet Blue my companion walker, a Border Collie/Whippet in one bundle of energy. Always ready for a frisbee toss.

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Word of the day ~ Humble. We walk every day among the Ponderosa Pines, Madrones and Douglas Firs, magnificent in their stature. Silent. Breathing in Co2. Breathing out the fresh, clean air that only exists in a forest. We walk the paths of Native people who inhabited this land when the tress were young, strong and healthy. Legend has it that the Native women were the keepers of the forest, clearing dead wood, maintaining trails along the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains all the way to Mt. Shasta. It’s on our walks that I do my best thinking, so I’m calling my new blog Thoughts While Walking the Dog.

Last night I finished reading GOD HELP THE CHILD, Toni Morrison’s latest novel.Her powerful words stun me, humble me. Someone please make this beautiful, visual novel into a film. The face of the Oscars will never be the same again.