Thursday, 28 August 2014
Preparing for Grandparenthood
On Tuesday's post about not having borne children and therefore having an old age without grandchildren, Karen Swift mentioned this in her comment:
”My first grandchild will arrive in November...I have been thinking a lot about exactly what kind of grandmother I want to be. Did any of you think about that ahead of time? I don't think I want to leave it up to my instincts!”
What an interesting question. Enough so that it was rolling around in my head when I woke way too early Wednesday morning (2:30AM) unable to go back to sleep. It has never occurred to me before that one might plan grandparenthood.
As I tried to wonder what kind of grandmother I might have become, the first image that popped into my head was Auntie Mame.
Or, maybe, something like my great Aunt Edith who was the closest thing I had to a grandmother.
She was 15 years old when she left home to join a traveling dance troupe, became a successful business woman, dressed oh-so elegantly, took me to fancy restaurants – just the two of us – listened when I talked and made me feel like I could grow up to be anything I wanted.
Then I realized she had some crucial experience I lacked: although she never married, she raised my father, her nephew, from the time he was 10 years old.
I suspect to be any good at grandparenting, one needs to have had some reasonably close knowledge of what kids are like and my experience is, essentially, zero.
So today, I am leaving Karen Swift's question up to you, dear readers, who are grandparents (that means men too). Soon-to-be parents make all kinds of preparations for the birth of their babies. Does grandparenthood need planning too?
Did you think about what style you'd take on? Or did you just follow your instincts? Did your children lay down any rules for you?
Our world has changed so much in the past two, three, four decades; does that make relating to young children today different from when you were raising your own? If so, how?
Let us know along with anything else that comes to mind that you think would help out Karen Swift.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marcy Belson: Dear Dairy
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
A Book Deal For You
I discovered the English writer, Julian Barnes, in 1984 with the publication that year of Flaubert's Parrot, and I haven't stopped reading him since.
In the past decade, Barnes seems to have become almost as consumed with growing old, old age in general and contemplation of death as I am and he has been writing about them in powerful ways so beyond my attempts that I may as well be living on a lesser planet. I recommend them all:
The Lemon Table - short stories about growing old (2004)
Nothing to be Frightened Of - essays about his ancestors, real and imagined, and their contemplation of death (2008)
The Sense of an Ending - novel of a middle-aged man forced to confront his past (2011 – Man Booker Prize)
Pulse - another brilliant short-story collection some of which touch on age and grief (2011)
Last week, I re-read Barnes' 2013 memoir of the grief he has lived following the death of wife of 30 years, literary agent Pat Kavanaugh. You wouldn't think the first two sections of Levels of Life – on 19th century ballooning and on Sarah Bernhardt – would have anything to do with that. You would be wrong.
The book is unforgettable - stunning achievement, beautiful, intense, heartbreaking, eloquent, profound and shattering.
I am telling you this today because as I returned the paperback to the shelf, I discovered a hardback edition. Huh? Blame it on old age memory, I guess. Apparently I bought the soft cover without checking my unread books pile.
So one of you wins today. As we have done in the past, let me know if you are interested in owning Julian Barnes' Levels of Life.
You can do that in the comments below by typing, Yes, I want the book. Or, Count me in. Or, Me, me, me. Or however else you want to indicate your interest.
The winner will be chosen in a random drawing and I'll mail off the book to you. The deadline for comments is 12:01AM Pacific Daylight Time on Friday 29 August I'll announce the winner in this space on Monday 1 September.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Clifford Rothband: You Can't Stop a Laugh
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Being Old Without Children
In February 2011, I posted a story about being old and childless titled, Having No Children – Regrets? It was popular. There were many more of comments than other days with a lot of thoughtful discussion.
But I had forgotten it until last week when a reader named Kelly left this comment on the post:
”I turn 50 in 45 days and find myself unmarried, no kids and my career in shambles. I needed this article today.
“Usually spend less than an 4 hours a year on facebook, but just spent two hours looking for pictures to put on a personal project. It was difficult to see all my family members with their kids and grandkids - milestones, trips, homes, my life became empty in a matter of minutes.
“Until I read this. I am forever grateful.”
(By the way, there are more comments – or, sometimes, private emails to me - than you would think from people, usually not regulars, who appreciate the insights in the conversations here. A large part of that is you, TGB readers, who contribute so much useful information so take a bow.)
Throughout my life I have often said that aside from putting a gun to one's head, there are hardly any decisions that are irrevocable. But not having children is one of them – for women, after a certain age, there is no going back.
Kelly's comment last week reminded me that childlessness, chosen or through circumstance, can be an issue in old age and that it's worth repeating this post. Time Goes By has gained many new readers since 2011, and I'm eager to hear from you. If you recall this post from 2011, maybe you have more to say.
Here is the original post with a few minor tweaks but no substantive changes.
Many elderbloggers post photos of their grandchildren, tell cute stories about them and about the the joys (or, sometimes, heartaches) of grandparenthood.
I can't do that. I didn't have children, a choice I renewed through the years.
When I graduated from high school in 1958, many of the women (girls, really) in my class married right away – some within a week or so in weddings they had planned throughout our senior year. Two or three were already pregnant and the rest couldn't wait to become mothers, as was generally expected of us in those days.
Although few women attended college in mid-20th century America and marrying at 17 or 18 was common, going from the confines of school and home to what I considered the equally confining boundaries of suburban domestication was not for me.
I wanted to live on my own, explore the world around me, meet new people, travel to faraway places, go dancing, drink wine and talk politics all night. I wanted to find out what kind of person I would become and I knew in my bones I would never get to do those things if I was keeping house and changing diapers. I'll do that later, I told myself, much later.
That is not to disparage those who chose the marriage path so young; it just didn't sing to me and I knew I was nowhere near grownup enough yet to raise babies.
Six or seven years later, I did marry – one of the larger mistakes of my life. It was apparent before a year had passed that we were not going to make it and although I hung on and hoped for six years, I made sure there were no children.
Bad marriage but good choice about kids because at age 31, I found myself with no husband, no home and no job.
That righted itself and for the next several years, I created a terrific career, dated some extraordinarily interesting and accomplished men and did not marry any of them.
The late 1970s arrived and many of my friends had married, moved off to married-people land, had babies and we had little in common anymore. I cannot express how deeply I did not (and still do not) care about the relative merits of Pampers and Huggies or of various brands of baby carriages - conversations I struggled to politely endure when visiting those friends. It's probably a genetic failing if not a moral one.
But I was fast approaching 40, a good cutoff date for pregnancy, and it seemed time to seriously consider motherhood before it was too late. So I spent the next year or so weighing the question.
It was clear, I reasoned, that I was not a woman who bubbled over with maternal longing. On the other hand, I am thoroughly responsible and if a baby or two were thrust my way, I'd throw myself into it – Pampers, soccer games (ugh) and all – because, well, how can you not. There is no other choice than to do the best you can to successfully guide a kid from the cradle to adulthood.
I had been on my own for more than 20 years by the time I was doing all this thinking and journaling and wondering about children. I was curious about that kind of life, about the feeling parents described of overwhelming love for their newborns that was different from other kinds of love.
And I had certainly been awed watching friends' children go from babbling to full sentences within a short space of time. The thrill, if the child is your own, must be amazing.
Another consideration was that there was no potential husband on the horizon. Would I be willing, was motherhood important enough to me, to bear a child and raise him/her on my own? And if so, should I? Was it a good or right thing to do, to choose half a home for a kid from the getgo and not from later circumstance, divorce or death?
That part was easy for me – no. I could not imagine holding down a full time job, the odd hours mine demanded, the travel, weekend work, deadlines, etc. while juggling the needs of a child without a father. And I did not want the disappointment of coming home to a caregiver who told me the kid took his/her first step that day or spoke a first word while I was gone. It would break my heart.
(Just so you know, I'm aware there is much more to motherhood than those two milestones, but it was on my mind then.)
Of course, I also could not avoid the question of whether I would be sorry, regretful when I was old, that I did not have children. There was no way to know.
So I decided that if, in the next couple of years, a man I wanted to marry appeared in my life and he wanted a child, I would do that. But not on my own.
Time passed, the man did not materialize and here I am more than 30 years later, never a mother and therefore not a grandmother.
Do I have regrets now? Only in the sense of missing an experience so common to most of humankind. I am equally curious about having married young and spent 50 or more years with the same person – how different from my life and what an astonishing connection that would be to have lived intimately with one person for so long.
But I also wish I knew what it is like to walk on the moon or be able to sing like Kathleen Battle or dance with Fred Astaire. I would like to have worked in the White House, to know it from the inside. Or Congress.
I wish I had asked my mother and father a whole lot more questions than I did. And I wish so much that I were smarter than I am and could understand many things about which I fall short of “getting.”
Some of these are impossible, others are choices and none are regrettable. Nor is not having children/grandchildren and I suspect that turned out just right for me. But then, how would I know?
I'm pretty sure grandparents could tell me how much I am missing but I don't feel a hole in my life. Overall, it's turned out pretty well. I'm comfortable with my life, and I wonder if other childless elders have regrets about that. Or not.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Comparisons: Yesterday and Today
Monday, 25 August 2014
Shakespeare's Old Age
I am the first to admit that my knowledge of Shakespeare is spotty and even that may be overstating it.
Something like a hundred years ago, I read all 37 plays along with some learned commentary and have re-read or seen some of them performed since then but I am hardly conversant.
Nevertheless, even I know Shakespeare took a dim view of old people, right? His assessment is familiar to most of us with the “All the world's a stage” monologue from As You Like It that includes the bard's seven ages of man, the last two being:
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
This aligns well with a few other age references in the plays or, anyway, that's what I thought until I read an essay by University of Massachusetts Amherst psychology professor, Susan Krauss Whitbourne last week.
Before I go further I must note that as so many otherwise educated people do, she gets life expectancy in Shakespeare's time wrong stating,
”Shakespeare lived to the age of 52 (he died on his birthday), which at that time was over 20 years past the life expectancy of 30.”
Actually, people in Shakespeare's time commonly lived well past his age of death.
As we have discussed here before, 30 would be life expectancy at birth in a time when it is estimated that around 30 percent of children did not live to adulthood. In fact, Shakespeare's father and mother lived to be 70 and 68 respectively, his sister Joan lived to 77, as did his daughter Judith.
Okay, I'll get off that hobby horse of mine now and move on to the more interesting part of Professor Whitbourne's essay in which she acknowledges that although many people, like me, assume Shakespeare's gloomy attitude toward age is common throughout his works,
”In fact, not all of the lines from Shakespeare that have stayed with us are as negative, including praise of an 'aging' Cleopatra: 'Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety,' and the truly old servant Adam in As You Like It, who proclaims 'Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty.'
“In The Merchant of Venice, we hear from Gratiano, 'With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.'
“Although tragic in the context of the play, on its own this line from the last act of Macbeth suggests that Shakespeare may have come to regard aging as more than just a phase of life to be mocked or feared: 'And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends...'”
So Shakespeare's judgment of old age was more nuanced and not nearly as negative as it is thought to be.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Vicki E. Jones: The Turtle That Looked Toward the East
Sunday, 24 August 2014
ELDER MUSIC: U.S. States, Alabama to Georgia
This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
I thought of doing songs about the states from my home country but as there are only six of them, that wouldn't make much of a column.Then I wondered if there was a country than had more and besides, had a bunch of songs written about them as well.
After much searching (okay, you know I'm flapping my tongue here, or my fingers to be exact), I came up with the various states of the United States (perhaps the name of the country might have given me a clue).
There sure are enough of them, and enough songs too, although a few were rather difficult and half a dozen others had an embarrassment of riches. I mostly tried to avoid the obvious tunes.
So, in alphabetical order, here they are.
There was quite a selection of songs for the state but my prejudice in favor of Tom swayed my judgment. His song is Alabama Bound, one of his early ones from his days as a young folkie.
Instead I give you MARIAN CALL, one of the most interesting young singer/songwriters going around at the moment.
She sings about trying to fit in her adopted state with the song I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl.
MARK LINDSAY came to prominence as the singer and sax player for the rock group Paul Revere and the Raiders.
That group had a revolving cast of band members with only Paul and Mark as constant fixtures.
It's really a song about a woman not the state, but that's close enough for this column.
That wasn't because he was from there – he's Louisiana born and bred. I guess he just liked the sound of the name.
The chosen track is Up in Arkansas which he plays and sings in his trademark style.
That's because there are so many songs about it. Once I spotted JOHN STEWART in my search results I didn't bother looking any further.
Whenever I visit San Francisco, which is not often enough as far as I'm concerned, I feel quite at home. So, like John, I think I have California Bloodlines in my heart.
His song is one that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I think is particularly amusing. We've made jokes along the lines of the song for decades now. It's called The Coast of Colorado.
They need no introduction from me. The song is just called Connecticut.
And with that introduction, people with long musical memories will know about what I speak, particularly when I mention PERRY COMO.
Actually, I could have used Delaware's song for half the other states. You'll understand when you play it, you who don't know the song (and I can't imagine there'd be many of you). The song is just called Delaware.
I decided against including Jimmy and instead went for someone who has probably written even more. That person is BERTIE HIGGINS.
Bertie had a hit with the song Key Largo which was about the film as well as the place. The one today is simply called Florida. It has a big dramatic, over the top beginning. Just ignore that bit.
If I haven't chosen your favorite, and that's quite on the cards, that's the reason.
In the end I settled on LEVON HELM to perform that state's tune.
Levon was the drummer and one of the singers for The Band. That's really all that needs to be said. His song is Watermelon Time in Georgia.
More states in two weeks' time.
Saturday, 23 August 2014
INTERESTING STUFF – 23 August 2014
NEW FRIEND WITH 1956 THUNDERBIRD
One of the best things about having this blog is the interesting people I get to meet. Let me tell you a little story.
A few weeks ago I got an email from a TGB reader named Donna Jensen who will soon be 80, lives in a town near mine and, she wrote, owns a 1956 Thunderbird convertible named Ava. Could we have a photo in the car together?
Don't ask, she said, it's just a bucket list thing.
1956 Thunderbird convertible??? Named Ava??? Are you kidding? I'll be there in a New York minute. Finally, on Tuesday, we met at a local Starbucks, took a ride in her fantastic car, had a wonderful chat about life and the Villages movement and stuff and here's the photo:
I am thrilled to have this photo of us in such a fantastic, beautiful car, and so pleased to have made a new friend.
Wait, this is not enough. For a car as gorgeous as this, you need to see the whole thing:
OH MY GOD
That's all I'm going to say – that and pay close attention. It happens fast. (Thank you to Jim Stone)
BABY SHAPED PEARS
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I showed you how some Chinese retailers are dressing up peaches in panties? Now the Chinese are growing pears in the shape of babies. Look at this:
You can see more photos and find out how it's done at the designboom website.
DEAD AT NOON
That's the time of day an 85-year-old woman chose for her suicide last week rather than live through the indignity of advancing Alzheimer's disease. As the Vancouver Sun reported:
”On Monday morning shortly before noon, Gillian Bennett dragged a foam mattress from her home on Bowen Island to one of her favourite spots on the grass, facing a craggy rock cliff, the place she had chosen to die.”
This is a photograph of Ms. Bennett with her cat Cosmo last year.
Bennett...chose to take her own life with a draught of good whiskey, a dose of Nembutal mixed with water and her husband of 60 years by her side,” the Sun story continues.
“'I held her hand,' said Jonathan, a retired philosophy professor. His voice is reflective, resonant, measured. “'I agreed with her choice.'”
Read more here where you can also see a video about Gillian Bennett and more photos of her and her family. There is a website, Goodbye & Good Luck!, which Gillian wrote about her decision. (Hat tip to Cile who blogs at cilesfineline)
PAUL RYAN AND FRANK UNDERWOOD
Millions of us are fans of the Netflix series, House of Cards which stars Kevin Spacey as the treacherous member of Congress, Frank Underwood.
Particularly given the current mediocre level of congressional behavior, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan let his sanctimony show last week when he said that House of Cards “disgusts” him. As Truthdig reported:
”According to Politico, Ryan said, 'I watched the first couple of episodes until [Frank Underwood] cheated on his wife with that reporter. It turned my stomach so much that I just couldn’t watch it anymore.'
“Really? You made it through canicide, but infidelity is too much to bear?”
For the rest of us who delight in Spacey's cathartic portrayal of Congressional chicanery and evil, here is a collection of clips from the series to help hold us until next year when season three opens. Watch Underwood as he breaks the fourth wall to tell us what he really thinks. Enjoy.
WHAT $100 IS WORTH IN EACH STATE
Here's a nice little map that shows the buying power or, actually, the relative value of $100 among the various 50 states.
That's way too small to read - here's a larger version. In my state, Oregon, I gain $1.21. Go see where your state stands.
JOHN OLIVER ON POLICE MILITARIZATON
With the 24/7 coverage of Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, we have gotten a good look at what the militarization of a police force looks like. It ain't pretty and John Oliver had a go at the phenomenon on his HBO show last Sunday.
THE THREE YEAR OLD AND WORLD WAR II VETERAN
A beautiful, bittersweet little story about unexpected best friends and that life doesn't always turn out the way you want it to.
MUD BATH TIME WITH AN ADORABLE BABY ELEPHANT
Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.
You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.
Friday, 22 August 2014
Elders Reading for Pleasure II
It wasn't planned, but apparently this has become book week at Time Goes By. Yesterday, we featured the poetry of Dorothy Trogdon and Wednesday's report on a list of 100 best novels chosen by two male journalists led to requests in the comments for a list written by a woman.
As serendipity would have it, on that very day one of my regular newsletter subscriptions supplied such a list compiled by University of California professor Sandra M. Gilbert.
Probably because academics can't help themselves, Ms. Gilbert carries on at excessive length about the definition of the word best, on the question of ranking writers and on second-guessing herself even before she presents her list.
In Gilbert's defense, the entire exercise of creating her list is in response to yet another recent 100 best American novels list from an architect, David Handlin, whose disquisition on the definitions of the individual words of his title, 100 Best American Novels, is mind-numbing – or maybe that's just me.
Personally, I don't think these lists are worth arguing much about - there are so many good books in the world but "good" in this context can't be anything but subjective. I enjoy perusing the lists and I usually am reminded of a few I mean to get around to reading.
Today's list differs from Wednesday's in at least three ways: there are many more titles from the mid- and late-19th century, more titles by women writers and none are ranked in order of merit. Personal opinion: there are more on this list that are not deserving.)
So here is Sandra M. Gilbert's list. You can read her entire article here.
Oh, wait, one more thing. On Wednesday, Peter Tibbles pointed out that the 100 list was actually only 99. As if to makeup for that omission, Gilbert's list comes in at 101.
- Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple (1791)
- Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok (1824)
- Susan Warner, The Wide, Wide World (1850)
- Fanny Fern (Sara Willis Parton), Ruth Hall (1855)
- Harriet E. Wilson, Our Nig (1859)
- Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills (1861)
- Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
- Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, The Morgesons (1862)
- Louisa May Alcott, Work (1873)
- Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, The Story of Avis (1877)
- William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance (1882)
- Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor (1884)
- E.D.E.N. Southworth, The Hidden Hand (1888)
- L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
- Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)
- Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)
- Gertrude Stein, Three Lives (1909)
- Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911)
- Mary Austin, A Woman of Genius (1912)
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)
- Edith Wharton, Summer (1917)
- E. E. Cummings, The Enormous Room (1922)
- Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)
- William Carlos Williams, The Great American Novel (1923)
- Willa Cather, The Professor’s House (1925)
- Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy (1925)
- Ellen Glasgow, Barren Ground (1925)
- Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925)
- Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans (1925)
- Anzia Yezierska, Bread Givers (1925)
- Edna Ferber, Show Boat (1926)
- Nella Larsen, Quicksand (1928)
- Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel (1929)
- Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (1930)
- Ellen Glasgow, The Sheltered Life (1932)
- Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)
- Henry Roth, Call It Sleep (1934)
- Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind (1936)
- Pietro di Donato, Christ in Concrete (1939)
- Katherine Anne Porter, Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939)
- Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies (1943)
- William Saroyan, The Human Comedy (1943)
- Joel Townsley Rogers, The Red Right Hand (1945)
- Anne Petry, The Street (1946)
- Jean Stafford, The Mountain Lion (1947)
- Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948)
- Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951)
- J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
- Conrad Aiken, Ushant (1952)
- E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
- Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha (1953)
- Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution (1954)
- Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
- James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956)
- Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
- Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959)
- Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus (1959)
- H.D., Bid Me to Live (1960)
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
- Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
- Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle (1961)
- Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools (1962)
- Mary McCarthy, The Group (1963)
- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)
- Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
- May Sarton, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965)
- Richard Fariña, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1966)
- Bernard Malamud, The Fixer (1966)
- Samuel R. Delany, The Einstein Intersection (1967)
- N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1968)
- Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
- Joyce Carol Oates, them (1969)
- Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970)
- Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo (1972)
- Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter (1972)
- Tony Hillerman, Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)
- Erica Jong, Fear of Flying (1973)
- Toni Morrison, Sula (1973)
- Diane Johnson, The Shadow Knows (1974)
- Alison Lurie, The War Between the Tates (1974)
- E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime (1975)
- Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1975)
- Bharati Mukherjee, Wife (1975)
- Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)
- Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)
- Meridel Le Sueur, The Girl (1978)
- Helen Barolini, Umbertina (1979)
- Octavia E. Butler, Kindred (1979)
- Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters (1980)
- Tina de Rosa, Paper Fish (1980)
- Joyce Carol Oates, A Bloodsmoor Romance (1982)
- Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
- Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)
- Edmund White, A Boy’s Own Story (1982)
- Paula Gunn Allen, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows (1983)
- Cynthia Ozick, The Cannibal Galaxy (1983)
- Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1984)
- Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine (1984)
- Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John (1985)
- Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Crossing the Bridge