storytelling, Women's History Month

Celebrating Women’s History in Your Own Family

Top: Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jovita Idar, Maya Angelou
Middle: Gerda Lerner, Gloria Steinem, Winona La Duke, Lillian Hellman
Bottom: Betty Soskin, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Marjory Stoneman Douglas ​

This month, you’ll read several magazine covers, blogs, and social media posts highlighting WHM. The purpose is to increase awareness and recognize the achievements of women in all areas of life.

But Women’s History Month isn’t just about famous women.

We can all play a role in celebrating women’s history by making it personal.

What might we discover from the stories of our own mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers?

What did they experience or participate in? What stories do they have to tell?

My mother loves to tell stories. Just a couple of questions can lead her to talk about her experiences during WWII or her mother’s story of fleeing the Mexican Revolution. Yesterday she told me about standing up to a hiring foreman who wouldn’t comply with union rules. She was afraid to do so, but losing out on a job was more frightening than speaking up.

Imagine what your great-grandmother, grandmother, older aunts, or friends can share.

By learning about their lives and the challenges they faced, we can better understand our lives and the opportunities we have today.

We can share these stories with our children, helping them understand their own family history and their ancestors’ legacy. By recognizing the strength and accomplishments of women in our own families and other backgrounds, we can help build higher self-esteem among girls and greater respect among boys and men.

Sometime this month, sit down and share your own stories, your mother’s stories, or her mother’s stories. Their stories can reveal a wealth of information about the experiences of women throughout history.

By exploring these stories, we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges women have faced, their sacrifices, and their progress. Plus, this is an opportunity to pull out photo albums and those boxes of pics in the closet or attic and tell the story behind the picture.

Let your family hear about their adversities, their values, and the triumphs of women who are important to them every day, not just one month out of the year. 

Each time a girl opens a book and reads womanless history, she learns she is worth less.

Myra Pollack Sadker

Tell me a story in the comments.

Authors, Inspiration, Shelly Lowenkopf, storytelling, Toni Lopopolo, Writing, Writing classes, writing tips

Some Things You Should Know about Story (Six, to Be Precise)

The Storyteller-Michael Shaheen, Flickr
The Storyteller-Michael Shaheen, Flickr


Writers want to write the best possible stories they can. Often, like me, writers have the best of intentions but fall short on delivery.

There is an art to storytelling, in the written form, and we writers flock to find out just what makes up this art.

One of the best teachers I’ve come across is Shelly Lowenkopf, a USC professor, who has a Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a consultant and author.

I’d like to share a recent post he wrote on his agent’s blog

Toni Lopopolo Literary Management

By Shelly Lowenkopf

(1) Whose story is it?

A dramatic work has only one central character. There may be secondary characters of equal importance to the overall narrative, but in the vast majority of literary accomplishments from Dracula to Candide, Tootsie to RichardIII,Madame Bovary to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, there is only one central character. This character’s motive—what he/she wants in terms of a goal or objective–drives the story. This is the engine, the seminal force of the action. Action is the operant word in story, fluid and unrelenting, not to be confused with activity, which is often casual and directionless. The central character’s determination to follow what is often an obsessive course propels the action. This energy connects us to the central character. This dominant skein in a story commands our attention.

This imperative may also be subtle. Take Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet;

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